My youngest daughter isn’t sure it’s fair. She thinks that twenty-five years of happiness is reward enough.
But darn it, twenty-five years of happiness is stinking hard work! Yes, it is most certainly a gift in and of itself, but big ol’ dollops of grace, some serious
stubbornness determination, gobs of love sometimes pulled out of nowhere, and best friends deciding to make every effort to remain head-over-heels in love are things worth celebrating.
And did we.
The two of us ventured off to our 49th state last week (yup, only one more to go!), and had the time of our lives. One of my best girlfriends says it’s okay for me to show pictures because it’s inspiring for other folks to see not only is it possible to stay together, but it is possible to thrive together.
This was our first time with an entire week, just the two of us, since our honeymoon. We were young parents once, and quite happy to wait until *someday when our kids were grown* to begin our travel together. We invested all we had into them and into my husband’s career (he had such a hard time taking time off when he worked for other people due to his intense desire to be the best employee he could be), but now the time is here and right and ours.
Thanks to the advice of some dear friends who found Eden on the island of Kauai, we got tips and pointers for the best beaches, and soaked it all up for seven perfect days. We’d wake up early, my sweet man would go get coffee for me, and we’d head out for the day — tasting all the local foods, exploring the tropics by water, land, and air. He made my dreams come true with a helicopter ride deep into the canyons of the island, and we flew with the doors off and the wind in our hair, and as the little girl sang in my headset about how dreams really do come true somewhere over the rainbow, I wept. As a little girl and a young mom, I would have never dreamed that I would ever be so lavished upon. I beheld the breathtaking creation from my flying glass bubble and worshiped a God Who would do this just for me. All at once, I felt so small, yet so significant that I should find myself in this moment.
We motored around in a little catamaran for half a day, backing into sea caves, and jumping into the cobalt blue waters.
Christian got a full view of a breaching whale — quite a miracle two months after their season. We got massively sunburned and then brown as acorns. We laughed and best-friended and read novels and spent days at the turquoise beaches, swimming and snorkeling alongside majestic sea turtles.
We went to a coffee plantation. We ate fruits we didn’t even know the name of from the farmer’s markets. We often found ourselves with pineapple juice running down our chins and arms. We picked and ate bananas fresh from the tree, and took about a gazillion pictures of tropical flowers. We ate pig from a pit at a luau and more than our fair share of shave ice. We marveled at the shaking hips of dark-haired Hawaiian beauties dancing the hula.
We desperately missed skinny-arm hugs from our grandbabies, and loved being missed by, and missing, our now-old children. :o)
We came home with our bags too heavy with shells, and bamboo t-shirts, and sarongs, and maracas, and hula skirts, and flowery leis for our sweet family and all reunited with laughter and pictures and much joy.
We experienced so many full-circle moments. God has such a way of weaving a tapestry of legacy and love and intertwining all of the threads in a life with color and beauty amidst the threads of pain and trials. Some perspective from a few thousand miles away on a mountainous island and thirty-thousand feet up in the clouds really helps you see some purpose in each of the pieces of the puzzle that make up this lifetime.
We have struggled, we have crawled sometimes, but we have survived. Like the little sea turtles that make up the 10% that survive from their hatched egg-self to their ancient-eyed, full-grown self, we are proud of ourselves for not getting distracted by the other starry lights that distract from the goal, and purposefully scrambling toward the water with all we’ve had in us and with the most thankful of hearts.
To my love who has lived up to more potential than anyone on this earth had imagined as a husband to me for this quarter of a century, I am grateful for the love with which you lavish me. I’m thankful for the tough times that grew us, the good times that cemented us, and the fact that somehow, we still haven’t run out of interesting words for each other. For the times your heart beat with mine, the times it beat for mine, and the times it beat against mine, I thank you.
To our Daddy Who wrote our love story, I am, as always, in awe. What an amazing Author You are.
To those who read these words, I pray nothing more than that you first find your True Love. The One Who both created your heart and its longings, and holds your tears in a bottle. If your heart is searching for its mate, be sure your Daddy knows and has the absolute best in store for you. I can attest, that dreams really do come true.