Why didn't I post last night? Because I was angry that nobody commented on the musical script.
No, that's not true. Actually, I didn't post because yesterday was Kim and I's sixth anniversary, and I was busy. A couple friends of ours came by to watch the boys so we could have our first night out since we went to the ballet about a month after Isaac was born. (If you're wondering exactly how long ago that was, the answer is way too freaking long) All things considered, we had a pretty low-key date, but then sometimes you don't feel like having a huge fancy expensive event. Sometimes you just want a good burger and a movie. We went to Pappas Burger (suggested slogan: We're Pretty Much Better Than Most Of Those Other Burger Places) and then to see Harry Potter 7.2, which somehow managed to be both pretty good and mildly disappointing at the same time.
Afterwards, I thought about sitting down to write some touching ruminations over the past six years of marriage. The longer I worked to put any such sentiment into words, however, the more convinced I became that it was more or less a lost cause. Marriage isn't really something that can be understood through mere words. Really, none of the most important things in life are. You can't understand the sense of triumph of a person who recovers from near-total paralysis feels the first time they walk across a room unless you've been somewhere similar. You can't truly empathize with the homeless unless you've spent an extended period not knowing where you'd next lay down your head. You're never prepared for the first time you hold your own child. No one else can understand the bond you share with the friend that scripture says "sticks closer than a brother." And so on and so forth.
Thus, six years of marriage. Why bother to try to tell how hard it's been, how great it's been, how fun, how frustrating? Those of you who have been there already know. Those of you haven't don't know yet. I look forward to the day you do, however. That doesn't mean you can't share in our joy. Far from it! Celebration and sorrow are meant to be contagious. Just because I haven't walked the path of your pain, that doesn't mean I won't hurt for you. Likewise, the fact that I have no adequate frame of reference for your joy, I fully intend to party like it's...well, okay, I won't go there for once. But you get the idea.
On the other hand, I could be really wrong here. It may just be that I'm not gifted enough with words to express my thoughts and emotions on such an event. (In other words: COP-OUT!) However, I've read enough passages--in scripture, in books, in plays, in CD lyric sleeves--that only really made sense to me after I had a particular life experience to think there's likely a principle at play here.
I recently attended my big sister's wedding. Toward the end of the day, I told her I didn't think I'd ever been happier than I was that day. She said, "Um, except maybe for your own wedding day?" I shook my head and said, "I was too young." That was the best I could explain it that night. Given some more time for reflection, I think I know what I was getting at. My wedding day was easily the happiest day of my life. Up to that point. But really, as prepared as we were, and as much prayer and thought and counseling as we had put into our three-plus-year relationship, I didn't really know what I was getting. I said the vows whole-heartedly, not realizing they'd become more profound and meaningful every time I'd hear them the rest of my life. I think I've come to prefer the "traditional" vows because they're often a more realistic depiction of what your life is going to be than the original vows couples usually write for one another. (Don't get me wrong, I love it when the bride and groom write vows for each other. It's always a great moment and a real tears-of-happiness moment in any wedding, but I hope they at least look over the "old school" vows at some point in the process) You know, the old "for rich or poor, in good times or bad, in sickness and health." Because bad times and sickness are coming sooner than you expect, and they're probably not going to be your faults, and they sure as heck won't be fair, and they're going to come out of nowhere, but there they'll be. So that's why the older vows are so general. It's hard to vow to be a good spouse through months of bed rest, through the cashing in of the vacation spare change jar to pay a bill, through two a.m. runs to the ER with one of the boys, through emotionally abusive bosses, through hurricanes, and any number of other difficulties which will blind-side you at some point or other over just the next few years! So you just say "in good times and bad" and "in sickness and in health" and "for richer or poor," and that pretty much covers everything. :-)
But yes, back to my sister's wedding. I know I've mentioned here my theory that your capacity for...well, anything really...increases as your life unfolds, provided you are living a healthy emotional life. As you learn to love unselfishly, your capacity to love increases, and as that happens, so does your ability to share joy, and as that increases so too does your capacity for pain, etc. I think I worded this better last time. If not, I'll keep working on it until it makes sense. Anyway, my wedding day was the happiest I'd ever been in my life. But my marriage, my friendships, my children, my capacity at the church, these things have enhance my ability to feel the whole range of emotions. And on my sister's wedding day, seeing her so happy, standing at the event I'd been praying for for years, and feeling so convinced that the union is indeed blessed by the Almighty, plus having an inkling of the many unexpected ways God is going to turn their lives upside down and the unexpected joys they will share...I was really overwhelmed with happiness. I was probably happier than I was even at my own wedding, possibly even happier than the day my boys were born, because my marriage and my boys have helped make me a man who can be happier.
Geez, does that make any sense now that it's out of my head? I think this post has ended up being far longer and more convoluted than my initial attempts to adequately describe the joys of six years of marital bliss.
Okay, I'll just close with this. Really, this is the only important part of this blog anyway:
First, thanks and praise to God, who gives all good gifts, for not only giving me the gift of my wife but for giving us the strength and endurance to hang on to it through life's violent attempts to wrench it away from us.
Second, thanks to all of our friends and family members who have encouraged us, supported us, and prayed for us over the nearly ten years we've known one another (as well as the nearly twenty years we didn't know each other). You've cooked for us, taken care of kids for us, helped us out when we didn't have the money to make it, and provided much-needed light in times of darkness. I wish I could express exactly how much I love and appreciate each of you. (Great, now I have to write a post about how I can't write a post to tell you how much I love and appreciate each of you)
Third...actually, I think that covers just about anybody who will read this. Except, of course, for the lovely lady who changed my life by laughing at a lame joke on a bus on the road to Arkansas in the fall of 2001. I love you. Though hopefully you don't have to read a lame blog to know that.