Twenty years. It truly doesn't seem possible that I just wrote that. I don't feel nearly old enough to remember anything that happened 20 years ago. But indeed, I remember so vividly, details of two decades prior to today.
Tomorrow, will be twenty years since I met my beloved. As we celebrated 15 years of marriage in 2012, tomorrow January 13 marks yet another milestone..... The very day I set eyes on my future spouse.
And there were no words.
No, nothing said for the very first time I met him, as it was on a High School retreat, where he assisted and was silenced by his duty. I remember so clearly, a dinner on this retreat, where he paced back and forth with a gallon of milk, and without words, offered his beverage to those sitting during dinner.
And his eyes met mine. And as he lifted the jug of milk, raised his eyebrows as his way to ask and offer, I remember clearly his smile, his apron uniform, and his gentle nature that was quiet, his demeanour and an infectious peace he brought with him.
It was the weekend, that I not only met my future husband, and my heart was sent sailing, but I met someone else who would have a profound impact on my life, on my soul. I met God. I met the life, passion and love of Jesus Christ. I remember this weekend, being so overwhelmed learning of God's love for me, that my emotions took over. And over the course of this weekend, I found a community of people who were unafraid.
That was unreal. People unafraid to be who they were, and accepted others just as they were. It was surreal. They were people who would pray out loud. They never hesitated to hug someone who was suffering, they were eager to live and love the three days passion of our Lord with all the rawness required for a deep spiritual relationship with Christ.
I look back now, at the genius of God who first introduced himself to me, the very same weekend that he would show me the love of my life. A silent server, whom I only saw at meals, ever patient and peaceful. It was as if God wanted to present who He was, and then point to the one who could continue in the education, one who could show me by his own life, how to live after this life-changing weekend away.
What would life be like to return home now that I have met and experienced the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in a deeply personal, emotional and powerful way. God knew what I would need after encountering Him. My life was turned upside down in a thousand different ways, having opened my eyes to a future with Him.
He knew I would need someone gentle and kind, convicted in his beliefs and patient enough to answer my thousands of questions about our Faith. So many questions resulting in the ultimate answer that some things are a matter of Faith, believing without proof, trusting when it seems unwise to do so....letting God handle something I assumed was too big for anyone to deal with.
And something real cemented in my heart...yes as my faith life grew, so did my love for the man God introduced to me. Again and again, I found myself poking and prodding, playing devil's advocate in order to trap or trick in order to challenge my new found faith. And my beloved, true to his nature, kept loving me, patiently guiding and ushering me baby step by baby step into finding the truth for myself.
And as a mother these many years, now I can see the real genius in loving someone and patiently waiting for them to see the truth through the gentle guiding and patient explanations when things seem so bleak. Some matters of Faith are hard to explain, especially when tragedy happens with no real way of understanding the why of such a thing.
Twenty years. So long to have known a person...and yet not long enough. So long to have met and recognized God in my life, ....and yet not long enough.
Just the other day, my beloved worked his magic to make me chuckle through some terrible sickness I was succumbing to and I laughed hard...even as my head pounded and rattled with pain. And then he leaned down close to my face, and with his head tilted to one side, asked me, "Do you think any other married couples have as much fun as we do?"
"Gosh I hope so!" I answered, "Or else marriages in this country are doomed!"
Twenty years of this man bringing joy and laughter to my life....even in the most bleakest moments, the most painful ones, the most joyful ones, God had a plan for him and me in this life. He brought me Himself, and my beloved in one supernatural motion of His divine love.
It's mind boggling to think about.
It's one of those things I take on Faith. And it's one of those things that have little explanation other than the belief that He hopes to see us happy in this life. I believe that. He wants us happy, and searching Him out, at 18 years of age on a high school retreat was an opportunity for Him to act. I was open. And that's all He needed then, it's all He ever needs to move in our lives, and bring about a kind of true happiness.
It's not about deserving God's love. He does it regardless if I deem it deserved or not. He has already decided it. We are worthy because he He says so, He deemed it so. But He requires our free and willing 'yes' to open the door....to allow Him in. And He knows us. He knows at times there will be great suffering in our lives, great pain and tragedy. He also knows we need joy and fun, laughter and excitement to fully embrace all the joy this life can bring.
Indeed twenty years isn't long enough, but it's been a great ride in the peaks and valleys of this life....with the man God hand picked for me, January 13th 1993, a day forever marked in the depths of my heart and soul.
And I am grateful for today.
And will be tomorrow if God so deems it fit for me to keep enjoying the life and love He has planned.