apparently twenty years isn’t very long.
when i was young a month seemed never ending and a year felt so vast that it couldn’t be conceived.
but tomorrow joshua and i will have been married for twenty years. somehow it doesn’t feel like very much time has passed at all.
i remember those days leading up to the wedding. the planning and generosity of my parents for the big day. buying the dress secondhand with karen in columbus. missing the point that marriage isn’t about the wedding entirely because who can understand marriage when they begin?
we were so young twenty years ago.
the morning of my wedding day i woke up with a start realizing that the marriage license had been thrown out at the rehearsal dinner. my dad and i drove up to the restaurant and yes, it was gone. we found ourselves at city hall as soon as it opened getting another copy, laughing at our incompetence.
incompetent is a great word to describe myself at the beginning of marriage.
i was barely graduated from college, barely out of years of addiction as a teenager, barely beginning to face the sexual abuse in my childhood. joshua and i like to say that we married strangers and really, if we’d first met when i walked down the aisle, it wouldn’t have been much different.
but i did have one thing going for me.
i had jesus.
eleanor asked me the other day how you keep the vows that you make when you marry someone. i told her you don’t. you break the vows over and over again. but god keeps his vow to you. he remains with you. god is actually great at keeping covenants, able to help you forgive, to say you’re sorry. god is able to help you fall back in love when all you want to do is leave.
that’s why its good to pray when you get married, because listen friends – you’re going to need help.
i had jesus – and josh.
i had josh.
joshua neds-fox is a faithful man.
he has loved me these twenty years. he has faced his lack and his own set of matching baggage he brought into the marriage. he said ‘i do’ with conviction – so much so that after our ceremony even those who had doubted our union were convinced.
we flew away to st. lucia the very next morning.
it was so much we didn’t deserve. or maybe we did. but it was more than our young lives had been given before. we arrived on the tarmac disorientated and exhausted. we’d left michigan in february to land in 80 degree weather in the caribbean. the jeep that carried us to our hotel careened down the wrong side of the road as we swerved every so often to avoid a cow.
so far marriage was unlike anything either of us had seen.
and we liked it.
unbeknownst to us carnival was happening and every local told us we had to go. the party of the year, the celebration to end all celebrations.
again we were shown new and marvelous things.
we were alone now. it was just the two of us. we would be eating breakfast just us now. alone together on the island of marriage, we were going to do this. we had no choice. we’d said the vows yesterday and the result was to be transported to a different world entirely.
we went to carnival. we drank rum. we danced on the street. we celebrated.
tomorrow, exactly twenty years later, we’re doing it again.
we’re packing our bags and leaving the kids behind. we’re heading to st. croix and we’re not going as strangers this time. goodbye michigan winter, we’ll see you in nine days.
when we were on our honeymoon we tried to figure out how we could stay on the island forever, but alas the time came to an end and we flew home. we returned to detroit snow and we hammered out marriage for the next twenty years.
mazzy arrived and then abraham and finally, eleanor.
we learned to love and people learned to love us. we have loved each other.
it really is like they say – over in a blink.
so tomorrow we’re leaving on a jet plane for our twentymoon. maybe we’ll find there is another new world for us to discover.
at this point it seems likely.