Friday, March 6, 2009

They "stood firm a little"

Today (March 6th) would have been the 57th anniversary of my mama and daddy's wedding day. Since beginning this "diary" back in January, I've been drawn to old letters and pictures.

In my hallway upstairs, I have a picture of my mama and daddy when they were dating. In it, they're standing in front of a dark, 50s-model car, with wide-set headlights and a grill that makes it look like it drove straight out of a Disney movie.

In this black-and-white picture, mama is dressed in a white blouse, light-colored skirt and black, peek-a-boo-toe (very high) heels with thin little straps around her thin little ankles. My daddy is dressed in a white, short sleeved shirt and snazzy, pleated pants with a trim black belt--looking very "James Dean-ish."

What I noticed recently about this particular photo is the road they're standing on. It's dirt...with rocks scattered around...full of ruts...not a perfect road by anyone's standards...especially for two young, beautiful people who look so fresh, so dressed and ready for life.

This little silver-framed photo has actually become a picture of marriage to me...heck, a picture of life itself.

We start out young, beautiful (at least to our Daddy), fresh, dressed, ready for life. Then, we stumble over a few rocks. But (usually) no big deal. Eventually, we get up and dust ourselves off--just a little more (perhaps a lot more) cautious this time.

And...then...we meet our "other." And, in our passionate, till-death-do-us-part-altered state, we just know the road is gonna be rockless...smooth sailing...or, at the very least, there will now be someone to move the rocks out of our way.

But, truth be told, once it wears off (usually very quickly), this "other" only doubles the number of rocks and ruts. Their rocks and ruts and their reactions to them somehow become ours. ( be fair...ours become theirs.)

And right there is where the crisis comes: "What are we gonna do about all these rocks and ruts?"

These days, when I pick up this picture to dust underneath it, I find myself wondering, "Would it have made a difference if they had known the road they were in for?"

I don't think it would have. The handsome young man in that picture loved that curly-dark-haired girl. Not perfectly. Sometimes, not even well. But, he loved her. He did the best he knew to do with the rocks and ruts he encountered.

And she loved him. Not perfectly. Sometimes, not even well. But, she loved him. She did the best she knew to do with the rocks and ruts she encountered.

When the crisis came and they each had to ask, "What are we gonna do about all these rocks and ruts?" They decided to just keep dealing with rut at a time...together.

They may not have done it perfectly. I'm sure they would admit to stumbling and falling. Wishing they'd never said some things they said, or done some things they "done." And, at times, I'm sure each of them wanted to just go off and find a new road, one less rocky, one less filled with those bone-jarring ruts.

But...they didn't. They stayed. They "stood firm a little"... for better or for worse... in sickness and in health... until death did them part. There is something very sacred about that right there.

And I believe they would each tell you that, on the road...together...they did indeed find moments of joy that made all the rocks and ruts worth it.

It's bigger than we thought.
It's taller than it ought to be,
This pile of rubble and ruins.
The neighbors must talk.
It's the worst on the block,
Just branches and boards
where walls once stood.
Did it seem to you like the storm just knew
We weren't quite finished with the roof
when it started?
So we build. We build.
We clear away what was
and make room for what will be.
If you hold the nails, I'll take the hammer.
I'll hold it still, if you'll climb the ladder.
If you will, then I will, build.
On any given day,
we could simply walk away,
And let someone else hold the pieces.
The lie that we tell
says its better somewhere else,
As if love flies south when it freezes.
What I'm trying to say in some clumsy way
Is that it's you and only you,...
Not just for now, not just for today,
But it's you and only you for always.
("We Build" by Nichole Nordeman)

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