Happy Anniversary to me, happy anniversary to me…

December 7, 2007

We didn’t mean to get married on Pearl Harbor day. We tried to schedule our wedding and reception for Saturday, December 8, 1990 — but we couldn’t coordinate all the various locations, so we moved the wedding to Friday night. I was so lucky because I am probably one of the few people who had the wedding of which I had truly dreamed — Christmas time, green velvet bridesmaids’ dresses, holly in my wedding bouquet…several people that day asked me if I had been drugged because I was soooo very calm, and for those of you who know me, perhaps that isn’t my natural state. But I was calm. I was certain. And I was oh so very very happy.

In seventeen years, Tim and I have had many happy moments, of course — the birth (and for that matter just the getting pregnant) of our kids, fun vacations, silly moments when we’ve known exactly what the other was thinking and couldn’t look at each other for fear of laughing inappropriately (Richard ringing any bells, Tim?)…and of course, we’ve had crappy times too, times when we’ve sinned terribly against one another, times when we’ve faced the illness and death of those we love, times when life’s daily challenges seem to sap away everything we have for each other.

It’s impossible, in one blog post, to describe a marriage or to adequately encapsulate seventeen years of growing and changing. And what I’m about to say may sound negative, but I really don’t mean it to be read that way.

It’s simply this: seventeen years ago, so much of my life’s goal was wrapped around the concept that I needed to be happy. And I feared unhappiness so greatly that even in my best moments, I would sometimes worry over the infestation of tiny unhappy thoughts that would break through the bubble I tried to create around myself. If I found myself feeling good, I also found myself anxious about when that good feeling would end.

And here’s what I’ve realized: perfect happiness in this life is damn near impossible to achieve. Because for every wonderful moment, there really are correspondingly difficult ones. And what I’ve further realized is my choice in the matter. I can either embrace and relish the happiness life sometimes affords, or I can live in a fearful state of searching and even trying to create some level of “happiness.” Because here’s the thing, the God-thing if you will — happiness happens, as circumstances wax and wane. But contentment, maybe even joy, well, those may be ours for the asking. In 1 Timothy 6, Paul is discussing our love of money and how it brings no great happiness. And then, here’s the really cool nugget: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

So if we can grow to be more like Jesus, and if we can choose contentment — the reward is great gain. Seventeen years later I’m too old (and too weary) to believe that I’ll ever find lasting happiness per se. Life is too hard, too full of suffering. Over these last years, some friends have died far too young, people I love have gotten sicker than I could have imagined, and I certainly no longer believe that one person — Tim — can create all happiness for me. But don’t take all that to mean that I don’t experience happiness. In fact, in many ways, I’m the happiest, most centered that I have ever been. Or maybe I shouldn’t say “happy” — maybe I should say content. Okay. Cool, if you will.

I no longer fear what lurks around the corner of a happy feeling; in fact, I know all too well that there really are monsters on the block. But God is greater than it all. God can give me contentment and yes, joy, in circumstances, regardless of the quality of those circumstances. Happy anniversary indeed.

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2 Responses to “Happy Anniversary to me, happy anniversary to me…”

  1. Andrew Anderson said

    Happy Anniversary.
    Someday Amanda and I will have 17… but until then we’ll have… well… less than 17.
    This really isn’t a good comment. I apologize. I’m tired and should be removed from the computer now. I’ll call my wife. She’ll help.

  2. Julie said

    Happy Belated Anniversary to both of you!! I too thought your wedding was perfect and am so happy I was part of it…and I also LOVED my green velvet dress, which is unusual for a bridesmaid dress:) Love to both of you!

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