A Day of Reflection . . .
Forty four years ago today, I married the love of my life. He was my closest friend, my lover, my soul mate and my partner in every sense of the word. We had a six year "semi courtship," more off that on, partly because nearly three years of that time he was in Munich, Germany and I was stateside. We often laughed, remembering that I wrote him while he was there because I considered it my duty as an American citizen. When we did make a decision to marry we had no doubt but that it was God's plan, executed in God's time. Both of us were headstrong and it took some doing for us to learn to live together. Years passed, our love grew and neither of us could even imagine life with anyone else.
Two particular things helped to strengthen an already strong marriage. About twenty years ago I was introduced to a booklet by Ben Johnson entitled, An Adventure in Prayer. It was written to help people learn to pray more specifically and offered suggestions to guide your prayer life for thirty days. One of the suggestions was to remember the vows you have taken and recommit them to God. To the vows he suggested, I added baptismal and marriage vows. I began to meditate/pray about what I promised before God and to Tom on the day we married. I was particularly struck by the promises to love and honor him. Of course, I loved him, but how could I love him more? I asked God to put more love in my heart for Tom. What did it truly mean to honor my husband and how did that manifest itself? My eyes were opened to things I did and said that were not loving, nor honoring and I prayed for God to change me.
The second thing that made a difference, even after twenty plus years was a conversation I had with my son. He reminded me of words said to him and Elizabeth by Joe Rightmyer, the pastor who married them. (Joe is our friend who officiated at Tom's graveside and memorial services.) He encouraged them to cherish one another. That prompted me to ponder the word "cherish" and to think about how that works in a relationship. Often I would tell Tom, "I love you more today than yesterday and less than I will tomorrow." As I reflect on our life together, I know that remains true.
Today could have been a really sad day, but every time I felt myself getting sad, I would think of Meredith and her telling me that Paw Paw is in my heart. How right she is! I can no longer reach out and touch him. I realize, with great reluctance, a word I use often to describe other women, now describes me too. I am a widow. I had to get past today and with the help of my children I did. Tommy went with me to Corinth. Tonight he, Liz and I went out to eat and Marty called when I got home. They warmed my heart, made me laugh and cry. We talked about memories and we looked ahead. Tomorrow is a new day.