Today I’ve been married to David for 22 years.  Of course my mind goes back to the big highlights of our life together, and I feel blessed that there are so many. But I am also taking time to think of the hard times. Everyone has them.  There are those hardships that are within the relationship like misunderstandings and emotional immaturity.  Then there are those difficult things that come from without…like sickness, fatigue, work pressures and parenting. I’m thinking today of the many hours of talking through those things, praying for wisdom and even crying together.

What if we were in a beautiful garden that represented life? Would we see some color, some barren places? When I picture the highlights of life, we would be running, running with all the energy of the world through the garden. I can see David and me, hand in hand running with no cares and full of exuberant feelings and emotional highs. Life is great. But we can’t always run.  There are the times when we are forced to walk or even crawl through the garden, just hoping to make it a little further, hoping our partner  is still by our side.  I can see that it’s in these times when I realize what the garden represents and how the flowers are grown.  I see the ground and the reality of what it takes to even have a garden. It’s not fun down there. But it’s at that level that I can see each individual flower in all its beauty.  The truth that each giving, selfless, loving act that David has ever done becomes a flower shakes me…because there are so many. At this point I’m privileged to see them up close and I am crying. They are so vibrant and beautiful in color, so delicate and yet at the same time hearty and strong, like him. I can’t help but reach out and touch the velvety petals and I’m truly changed in that moment.

While I appreciate the high places so much, the truth is I can’t help but notice that it’s in the low places that David has given me these great gifts of himself…true sacrificial, loyal love that is the most stunning flower I’ve ever seen. I guess that’s the nature of this life.  Sometimes it slows me down long enough to see where I am and what I have. Stresses come. They always do. Finances, fear, babies to care for, insecurities, fatigue, teenagers, sickness, worry, doubt…these things by nature wear me/us down, push me to my limits…but they also provide an opportunity to see…to truly love and be loved…to truly give and also receive…to grow a rose.  Thank you David, for being with me, knowing me, and in all my failures choosing to grow a rose for me.  I love all the “roses” you’ve given.  These are the roses that matter most to me.  Happy 22nd Anniversary!