Today is our wedding anniversary.
I should have gone through photos of the last eight years and prepared a retrospective slide show of how our love has grown and changed over the years. (It has done both of those things).
I should have gotten my act together to procured the world's most meaningful card, and elaborate gift. (I did one of those things.)
I should have at least looked up past years' posts so I could link to a time when my brain functioned a bit better. (Um...check the archives...)
There are a lot of things I should have done. There are a lot of things I should still do. But the truth is right now...we're in the weeds. Not in an "I don't love you" kind of way. More in an "I love you so much but I can't seem to find time when we're both awake and not holding a fussy child, to show you that love" kind of way. So our celebration this year won't look like the past years. No big trip. No fancy dinner out. Let's be honest...I might not even get to shower today (oooh, the romance!) All of the "shoulds" may not convert into "dids". Because right now were surviving. Not necessarily thriving. But we're still plugging away at this forever thing, for better or for worse.
The traditional gift for eight years is bronze, and I think it's appropriate. It's a material made up of two different metals, blended together, with traces of other elements mixed in. (Thanks Wikipedia!) it may not have the prestige of a gold medal, or the blinding shine of silver. But it's strong. And long lasting. And beautiful. People dip keepsakes in bronze when they want to preserve them forever. Statues are cast in bronze for a rich look.
Our marriage isn't perfect. We are not the best of the best every day. Our love doesn't always gleam with pristine shine. It's a blend of the two of us, with traces of our environment and circumstances mixed in. And sometimes it's dirty. Or a little dull. But thank you Jesus, our love is also strong. And enduring. And pretty dang beautiful.
We've worked hard for this bronze medal love, and there is no one in the world that I would rather run the rest of the race with. There will be years we celebrate our anniversary by strolling the white sand beaches of Fiji (right Dustin?!?) and there will be years when we celebrate by taking shifts shushing the kids back to sleep while muddling through a fantasy football draft (big plans tonight!). There will be years when we knock each others socks off with elaborate fanfare (right Dustin?!?) and there will be years when we look at each other with empty hands but full hearts and say, "All I have is me. Big, messy, imperfect me. But I give it all to you." Some years are full of fruit. And some years are full of labor. But they are all so very, very full of love.
Happy eight years Dustin Bowden. I pray you'll keep me around for another eighty. I love your big, messy, imperfect self, and thank God everyday that you continue to show up to love me every day.