July continues to unfold in these parts, and I am eating it up. This week we’ll toast seven years of marriage. This is no benchmark year in particular. In terms of Hallmark gift suggestions, it’s pretty dull (wool/copper): Sweaters and pennies. Maybe that’s telling. *After all, there is some basis for these suggestions, right?
It could be telling of the days that are cozy and warm, comfortable and beckoning to be re-visited; the late nights up with feverish kids; or cold, short days that include sleds and thermostat wars. Maybe the copper represents pennies saved for home repair, car fixes or vacations taken—maybe for the cups to deliver a good, stiff drink.
There’s probably more wisdom to be gleaned from the weekend’s readings about the sower, the seed, trees planted near running water, our spirits within us, and all things that bear fruit in various seasons. This is especially true as I think about the things that have borne fruit in our marriage (or haven’t) over the past seven years.
This time has included moves, career changes, babies, loss, discernment and thousands of little things that didn’t seem significant at the time, and then turned out to be bits of providence we’d later notice.
“In his pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to tests of his persistence and courage. So he could not be hasty, nor impatient. If he pushed forward impulsively, he would fail to see the signs and omens left by God along his path.”
–Paulo Cohelo, The Alchemist
Like the day we got married, the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed just as it has each year on our anniversary since then; or the time we went to an Epiphany party and came home with a job offer; when being in chaplaincy training allowed you to be home with our firstborn in the first months after I had gone back to work; when we purchased a house and it came, furnished; when we spoke openly about loss and it allowed others to do the same with us; when we got signed up as teachers instead of a mentor couple at our church’s ministry fair and it forced us to teach together and dig into our own vows.
True, we have not purchased a Christmas tree farm as once discussed, or traveled to Ireland (yet), completed any particular Scripture course like we’d brainstormed, or started a yak ranch. I am no longer a doula and you had to sell your beloved truck. But we are beekeepers, parents, friends and fruitful in ways we hadn’t predicted and can’t yet imagine.
So bring on the Moscow Mule, the ugly sweater and year eight because there is honey in the backyard, kiddos we wouldn’t trade, and grace abounding in the fruit underfoot that we didn’t know had been planted.