This Valentine's Day, I'm reflecting on my relationship with my husband. The anniversary of our first date is tomorrow. This year marks eighteen(!) years since he asked me out for coffee and I arrived to pick him up. Since he was still fifteen, I had to drive.
I've shared some of the writing I did while we were on our honeymoon here in the past. Here's another one. Ten and a half years ago now.
"We do not remember days, we remember moments."
The other night Anton and I watched "Meet Joe Black," a movie I had seen before and he had not, and this time I found it strangely moving. I was struck by the portrayal of relationships, father and daughter, lovers, husband and wife. A great quote..."True love is when you know the worst there is to know about each other and it's OK. You love each other anyway."
After the movie we grabbed a sleeping bag and drove out to Blue Mesa Reservoir to look at the stars. The reservoir is huge, and in the dark, parked on the sand, we could not see the edge and it was almost like the ocean. No end. Someone had left the last embers of their bonfire glowing in the fire pit on the shore. The air smelled of smoke and fishy water. Anton made a nest for me in the bed of his truck and started the "honeymoon mix" Lauren gave us as a wedding present. I'm not sure whether she knew it or not, one might say she couldn't have known, but I believe it was created expressly for this moment. This moment in the truck Anton proposed to me in, on the empty beach with the smoke and the millions upon millions of stars.
The sky was perfectly clear--clear in the way that only the Colorado sky can be, in the mountains, with no lights to compete with the brilliance of the stars and the moon. They reign alone.
"Did you see that!?" Anton exclaimed. A shooting star. I had missed it. But another, and another, and yet another were to follow and we watched, afraid to breathe, afraid to move, as though we could make them stop. Two tiny humans--specks of sand.
Anton went for a walk along the beach; I lay in my cocoon, soaking in the music, the smells, the cold air on my face--trying to memorize it. I was filled with joy, but a profound sense of sadness as well, and longing. I was aware of my love for my husband. Strong and raw and aching in me. The movie had stirred a lot of memories in me, and I remembered the time in my life when Anton and I had been apart--the pain and the humiliation of a broken heart. It changed me, and changed my love for him. I am thankful for that time, thankful for the life it brought to our story, and I know it made me a better actress, sister, and friend, and some day will make me a better mother and counselor as well. But while teaching me that God would protect me through any loss, it made me afraid to suffer loss again. I thought of my sisters, Janna and Danette, and hurt for them, missed them, and was afraid for what lay in store, terrified that I cannot protect them, wishing I knew how to let go. And I wanted to weep, even as another shooting star took my breath away.
These were my thoughts as Anton returned, breathless and happy from his walk. I made room for him in the sleeping bag and his leather jacket was cold against my sweatshirt and his nose ice against my cheek. "Can you believe," his breath warm on my ear, "these are the same stars that Abraham and Isaac and Adam and Eve and Jesus looked up at? They're still here. It's unbelievable to me." Unbelievable to me as well. Somehow his conversation led us to heaven, and in my romantic frame of mind I said, "I don't want to think about heaven right now, because I know that when we're there, I can't be your wife and that makes me sad."
"You can be my friend."
My eyes and nose itched with tears. I don't want to be your friend.
Ever since I first understood the concept of marriage, and then of heaven, I have been sad that we cannot be married when we die. The sadness and frustration only grew stronger when I met someone I wanted to be married to forever. I see myself as a child, bargaining with God, If only I could still be married then I... Maybe marriage is my idolatry.
Time stood still in silence. The CD had run its course and no one moved to start it again. Anton's arms were safe and strong around me and he loved me in my melancholy--in my broken joy. He loved me and let me be, until I was too tired and too cold to enjoy the sky anymore. We drove home, singing quietly together with Iz, "What a wonderful world."
Thank you for reading, and Happy Valentine's Day.