My earliest memory of Marc Walters happened somewhere around the 3rd grade. He and I sat next to one another in Mrs. Coleman’s class where, on this particular day, she gave a lesson in cursive writing. Standing over our shoulders, she critiqued our efforts. After looking at the either too big or too little loops that shaped my p’s, b’s, or q’s, she pointed to Marc’s paper as an example of how alphabets could look, of how alphabets could be.
Taking a long, slow look at the paper next to mine, I recall laying aside my elementary pride and, reluctantly, agreeing with her. Though I can’t remember what the words were on the page, I remember that they were written incredibly well, with a care and embellishment beyond our 7 or 8 years. I remember that the boy sitting beside me created something beautiful.
Thirty-five years later, there are still times when I look at the things Marc does, the words Marc says, the life Marc lives and marvel at how incredibly well he does them . . . with a care and embellishment that continues to impress this heart of mine and that still seem beyond our 43 years.
Tomorrow, God willing, January 3rd, 2012, marks our 25th wedding anniversary. Needless to say, I’ve been reflective of our lives together, an invitation made even sweeter because of the time we recently got to share with our family and friends over Christmas. Together, he and I beheld our now adult sons, grown, beautiful and loving. We dove, further . . . deeper, into our new and complete love for our daughter-in-love. We nurtured those friendships that have been meaningful to us collectively and individually, and that have encouraged us in our journeys. We embraced mothers and grandmothers, thankful at our good fortune.
It’s been a full life. I’ve been a lucky girl.
Lest I paint an incomplete picture, the past 25 years haven’t been all wine and roses. We have drunk deep from the cup of vinegar. We have, through clinched teeth, clutched fistfuls of thorns, our very own crucifixions. I can say with an absolute confidence that, while no one has loved me like Marc Walters, no one has hurt me like he has either. He can absolutely say the same. Valleys . . . we’ve walked through our share, either led there by a decision he’s made, or one that I’ve chosen. Spurning the sunshine for lesser, darker paths, we’ve stumbled blindly into the woods and fallen by the way side. But, for reasons too numerous and nebulous or maybe even too sacred to name, we’ve somehow found our way out and up, to today . . . this eve of our anniversary.
It must have been some magical concoction of prayer, resilient innocence, ancient community, wells of grace, Divine sovereignty, surprising selflessness, and the power of choice, administered through open mouths and open hearts, in varying measurements, at various times. Whatever the reason for our standing, I’m glad we still stand, closer, perhaps, than at any other time. We stand.
This past year for us has been unlike any other. For the first time in our married lives together, it is only Marc and I, alone. Twenty-five years ago, with a spitty-mouthed Ryan on my hip, we took our wedding pictures. And then, five years later, came our beloved Cole. And, then came and went time, memories, and living, sometimes so fast that I hardly saw any of it, that I hardly held any of it in my hands. Time passed, slow, fast, clumsily, liquidly, so full of dinners, laundry, football games, skinned knees, and various hair colors and dress sizes. Time. Passed. Passes. Passing.
At 42, I’ve probably less time before me than I do behind, and I want to spend it with intention, in a way that I couldn’t understand or appreciate at 24, when the reverse was true. For me, that means many, many things, not the least of which is pausing, frequently, to take long, slow looks at the man still sitting beside me and the beauty he continues to create. Not in the words he’s written upon a page, but in the love he’s inscribed upon my heart.
Peace and Blessings,