We went out for supper tonight, celebrating our anniversary, which is tomorrow. After briefly considering steak (Jon) or cedar-planked tilapia (Nancy), we went for the hamburger (Nancy, mushroom -swiss) and the roast beef sandwich (roast beef ciabata, with cajun horseradish sauce).
That’s us. We’re pretty good at being basic, being conservative, being sensible. (Okay, I’m frequently pretty far from sensible, being traditional. But that’s just because traditional is pretty insensible. But that’s another post).
There are times that we feel bad about not being more extravagant. After all, isn’t there a cultural oughtness about extravagance? We’re supposed to celebrate silver anniversaries large. Nancy and I? We’re going to a high school production of Beauty and the Beast (where our daughter will be a wolf, a napkin, a pregnant lady, and a flower vase.). And then we’ll be glad when our son gets home from a five day trip to Florida. In June we’re thinking about taking the kids to Texas, to see where we spent our first couple years.
1. There is no ideal romantic celebration, other than being exactly you.
2. Life is a collection of days, 24 years and 364 worth so far. One particular celebration, one extravagant meal, one over-the-top gift – those are probably fine. I’m thinking, however, that for us, for me, the celebration of each day is pretty huge. And given the choice of one or the other…I’ll take the 24 and 365.
3. I am in almost no way complacent about how much of a gift this time has been, an outpouring of grace from God and of love from Nancy. I say almost because there are moments, hours in fact, where I might not even consciously think about my gratitude. I am, I confess, human and normal. And that is part of the gift, that it comes not in response to my deserving. That’s why it’s a gift.
4. We still, after all this time, are peculiarly lacking in many close friends. This is in large part because we started as friends and have kept developing that element of our relationship. And the reality of friendship is that it is often comfortable more than extravagant.
5. The moments of sheer delight, of laughter, of awareness of the wonder of years, have nothing to do with events. They have to do with paying attention. And that costs nothing at all. Except your own agenda.
Tomorrow we start another year together, just as we did today, just as we have done for the past 24 and 364. It will be another day of figuring out what it means to be completely committed. And getting to do that together.
But don’t worry about congratulating us. We’re just doing what we do. Instead, make sure that you look at one other person, one loved one, one person who matters…or who could. Be a friend. Rather than living what ought to be caring, listen for what is caring. Think relationship more than event.
And Nancy? Happy anniversary.