Wednesday, March 6, 2013

They stood firm a little....

Today (March 6th), they would have been married 60 years. My mama and daddy. 
This is one of my favorite pictures of them. So young, fresh, in love. In it, mama is looking uncharacteristically shy and is dressed in a white blouse, light-colored skirt and black, peek-a-boo high heels with thin little straps around her thin little ankles. My daddy seems to be the one in charge of the moment, dressed in a crisp, short sleeved shirt and snazzy, pleated pants with a trim belt--looking very "James Deanish."

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

This photo has become a picture of marriage to me...heck, a picture of life itself. We start out young, fresh, dressed and seemingly ready for life. Then, we stumble over a few rocks, get caught in a few ruts. But, usually, nothing too serious. And, eventually, we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off--perhaps just a bit more cautious before setting off on our next journey.

Then, we meet our "other." And, in our passionate, 'til-death-do-us-part-altered state, we just know the road is gonna be less rocky...less rut-filled. Or, at the very least, we believe we now have someone to move the rocks out of our way.

But, truth be told, once the honeymoon wears off (usually quickly), this "other" only doubles the number of rocks and ruts. Their own 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. That handsome young man loved that curly-haired girl. Not perfectly. Sometimes, not even well. But, he loved her. He did the best he could 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 could with the rocks and ruts she encountered.

When the crises came and they each asked, "What are we gonna do?" They decided to just keep dealing with it rut at a time...together.

They did not do it perfectly. Some days, they did not even do it well. Before they had ever met, life had already seen to it that they were each a bit  "broken." War had taken its toll on daddy; and, at the tender age of 12, my mama's mother had died, leaving her with an alcoholic father and 5-year-old and 3-year-old brothers to help raise.

I'm sure they would admit to stumbling and falling...wishing they had never spoken certain words, or taken certain actions. And, I'm sure each of them had many moments when they each 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 and for worse... in sickness and in health... until death did them part. There is something sacred about that right there. And I believe they would tell you that, on that road...together...they even found moments of joy.

Last year, when mama was recovering from surgery, she experienced what the Celts described as "thin places," when this world and the next seem to be closer than we ever imagine. During one of these thin moments, my brother got to listen in on a conversation mama was having with daddy, where she told him, "Honey, let's go sit over there by that shade tree and sit down and rest awhile." 

One day, mama. One day....


  1. My grandmother always says that she and my Pawpaw never went to bed angry--- she Loved and ADORED him. She was lost when he was gone.... Amongst all of those rocks & ruts-- that's where True Love & Beauty can be found. And Strength. Love you much, Nicole

    1. Yes, adored is how I'd describe the way she'd look at him when he made her chuckle. Truth, love, beauty and strength among the rocks--love that! Love you too!

  2. Lost my husband a little over a year ago. The Lord knows we traveled down some rough roads. But the last 2 years were amazing as my husband had found a relationship with Christ. Those roads were worth the end result. He is walking on streets of gold now. Thanks for sharing such wonderful stories.

    1. Lisa, what a beautiful (and temporary) "ending" to your story together! Thanks for sharing.