Tuesday, 30 April 2013
The small miracle of the first year
A year ago today, my life changed forever.
It started on Valentine's Day, when I received my first email from the man who was to become my husband. Both of us had been actively searching for a long time, and both had almost given up. Both had made mistakes, and both had an "Oh wow!" moment when we realised God had answered our prayers.
We knew almost immediately that we would marry, but the news of Hunter's immanent heart surgery put things into fast forward. Sort of. From the diagnosis and pronouncement of the need for "emergency" surgery, we waited six weeks for a date. We wanted to be married before the surgery, but a complicating fact was that I had to be out of town for five days in April for a course I was taking. As the date of my flight neared, I desperately prayed for the God who had brought us together to work out the details. If I didn't go, I would lose a year's worth of work.
The call came the day before I was to leave. Surgery was in seven days--the day after I returned. After several minutes of panic and a few phone calls, it was arranged that we would be married at my friend's house the day before surgery. I left and my three wonderful bridesmaids took over everything.
On the Sunday night, I returned home. Monday I went to work. On Monday night, April 30, 2012, Hunter and I were married in a lovely ceremony among seventeen family and friends.
The next day, he had a quadruple bypass.
It's been a year of changes and adjustments, just like any first year of marriage.
He's learned that his clothes disappear every day, and eventually return clean. ("What's the adjustment in that?" you may say. But for a guy who lived alone for a long time, it was disconcerting at first to go looking for the pants he wore yesterday which were "perfectly clean" and find them gone.) He's learned that sometimes I cry. (Tears make him panic.) He's learned to give me notice about a change in plans. (Refer back to "tears" sentence.)
I've learned to check all pockets before taking clothes for laundry. I washed his wallet twice. (And my cell phone. Sigh.) I've learned that poker night with his friends (no money involved, just guys having fun) is a great thing. I've learned that if every I am in trouble of any kind, he's right there for me.
In many ways, it's been like any other first year of marriage, but there are differences. We are older, and through many painful experiences, we have learned things.
We have learned not to sweat the small stuff. Issues considered hugely important and causing many serious discussions and even fights in our twenties are laughed off now. Not that we never have "discussions", but it's got to matter. Age has helped us set priorities.
We have learned to take nothing for granted. To be thankful for every day we have together. To treat every day as a gift.
We have learned to have fun. Actually, I am learning and Hunter is teaching me. He's always been good at this and I never have, but I am learning to set aside fears and try things. Life is short, and full of experiences. The choice is mine whether I hide from them or embrace them. I choose to embrace.
We have learned to be flexible. The nature of his work means that I'm never sure when he will be home or what a day will bring. That would have driven me nuts at one point in my life, but I have learned to have plan A, B, C and D in my mind, and if none of them work, we will go to E. It's okay. Take a deep breathe.
More than anything, we have learned to thank God. Again and again. We have know the searing pain of lonliness, and God heard our prayer and gave us each other.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17