I perch atop a ladder, filling flaws in the brick wall that we are painting with drywall mud, listening to the praise music emanating from Linda's computer, and I am content. I watch my husband grab the wood filler, repairing the cracks around the windows he installed, and I am deeply thankful.
He's not been so well of late. His heart has been acting up, beating irregularly, irratically, thumping hard in his chest, skipping beats. He's on a monitor for two weeks, and it keeps going off, signalling that it's full, and it's time to call in the results.
I think about the past thirty-five years with this man. Where has the time gone? How could it possibly be that we are now in our middle age, tottering towards the end of this earthly existence?
Rick's heart problems have driven home the fact that this marriage is momentary. Oh, I don't think for a second that either of us will leave. We're comfortable now. We understand each other. We sometimes celebrate the differences between us, and sometimes they're a thorn in our flesh, but we're definitely committed to the relationship.
I've thought about marriage a lot lately. I just finished reading a new book by John Piper, This Momentary Marriage. It was a reminder that marriage is designed by God, to be a reflection of Christ and His Church.
But marriage isn't easy. Two people coming together, from different backgrounds, with dissimilar tastes and desires, don't agree on much. And somehow, they have to live together in intimate fellowship, and work together to raise a family. Somehow, they have to be an example of God's grace.
Too often we have been an example of what it's like to have a sin nature. We've ignored one another, or yelled too much. We've dismissed each other's ideas, or failed to pay attention when the other one is hurting.
Yet here we are, 35 years after saying our "I do's", still sleeping in the same bed, sharing the same space, loving the same children and grandchildren, dreaming the same dreams. This is only by God's grace.
We are grateful for the little things. Rick likes to open his top drawer to see an abundance of socks. I love it when he opens the Word and teaches us, leading in prayer for God's blessing to be poured out on his family.
I am thankful that Rick can still drive that truck, ignoring the pain in his knee, bringing home enough money to make ends meet.
He is glad that I can climb a ladder, or help pile logs, or gut a chicken.
I am pleased as punch that he drives the tractor, digging holes or filling holes, moving garbage or compost, doing things that I could not possibly do.
He is happy when I make the business calls, or do the filing, or assist with paperwork.
I am thrilled when he hands me the card and tells me to get the paint I need to finish the project we are working on.
We both are comforted when we lie in each other's arms, crying out to God on behalf of a hurting daughter, or a wayward son. We share each other's burdens, and often that is more important than sharing the blessings. We're not in it alone: we have each other.
It's the little things that matter, day in, day out. We've been at this a long time, and I am content.
If God should choose, I hope to be blogging on my 40th anniversary, then the 45th, the 50th, and so on. It won't be long, I'm sure, judging by how fast the first 35 years have flown by.
Happy 35th anniversary, my love.