I didn't get a chance to write a real anniversary post--I have been gallivanting across the country trying to find a place to live on the other coast. If we ever sell the house on this coast that is. But even amidst the chaos, I have been pondering the meaning of twenty-nine years of marriage. I checked the traditional anniversary gift list and there is silver for the twenty-fifth and pearl for the thirtieth (Thirty Years of Marriage is a pearl of great price, don't you agree?) But nothing for the twenty-ninth. So I made up my own.
I can't speak for all women but I think in general, we tend to keep things tucked away in our memory--every little hurt, every unhappy moment is there to retrieve at a moment's notice; to come flooding out when we are upset in the present. Andy and I joke sometimes that I can remember what he was wearing and which child was the baby for every insensitive thing he ever said or did. But in my journey to become, I have been trying to lay everything on the altar. To truly give away all my sins to know the Savior. As I study Isaiah and the parables of the Savior and read the Book of Mormon, I find my heart turned to the meaning of the Atonement in my life and ask myself if I am allowing it to really transform me.
Years ago, I wrote this in my journal: "I am understanding and even generous in forgiving the children their unkindnesses or human weakness because they are young and still learning. I can do the same with friends and acquaintances because I don't live under the same roof with them and hope that my understanding and patience will earn the same for me when I fall short. But I can't seem to do that for my own husband. Why? Why does he have to be perfect? It really isn't fair is it? Perhaps he struggles the same way with me. Expecting perfection and being frustrated. Perhaps this is why marriage is required for the highest degree in the Celestial Kingdom. Surely it is so soul-refining, so humbling that it requires much more than other human relationships. I love Andy and I know with surety that we are meant to be eternal companions. I need to keep that in mind and not stumble over human frailty. Not require more of him than I am able to give."
Well, even after that insight, the "natural (wo)man" in me kept sucker-punching me and throwing me to the ground. So I have come to this anniversary humbled by the time we have had to be apart--he is working in Connecticut and I am here trying to sell the house. While I was there over the week-end I told him: "I just want to get things wrapped up and all of us back together under one roof so we can go back to taking each other for granted." We both laughed but what I really mean is, there is so much I love about being married that can start to feel commonplace after I have had that guy around for twenty-nine years. Just one example: when looking at houses, I can completely overlook little flaws or inconveniences in any house because I know Andy will find a way to fix, remodel and reconfigure it to be just what I want. But his remodeling projects over the years have also been a source of irritation to me. I complain about something that is a blessing to me! Of course I am giving you just one example of many, I am not proud to say.
So, dear, I have decided that the symbol for the twenty-ninth anniversary is slate. As in a clean slate. You can't make it into jewelry like silver or gold. You can't make it into dishes like china and crystal. But I can give the gift of real forgiveness and cherish all of the simple, ordinary, beautiful blessings that add up to an Eternal Companionship. I have tied up the natural (wo)man in me and duct-taped her mouth. She may escape once in awhile but I've got this slate ready to hit her over the head. Happy twenty-ninth.
I like to think of this as our theme song...