Three things stood out in my thoughts this week:
- Amazement that my husband and I celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary –
- A memory from our summer road trip in which I considered being dropped off at the nearest airport because I didn’t want to ride with him anymore –
- And a sentence I read in a book yesterday which filled me with peace and hope.
When it comes to 48 years of marriage, it can’t be summed up in a couple short paragraphs. I can say it has not been an easy, romantic story… although there was some of that. I can’t say we never let the sun set on our anger… because there was some of that too.
I can say we are not quitters. We are hard workers and resilient. Sometimes we look like two bulls in one china shop, competing to make the biggest mess. Other times we walk in sync on common ground.
Speaking for myself, when I remember that I am accountable to God alone, and it’s not my job to please the entire universe, I find it easier to stay on that common ground path. Fearing what others think keeps me from what I need to do, being who I’m meant to be and it’s definitely an unwelcome third-party to a marriage.
Now, that road trip story. Because it’s a kind of microcosm of us.
We left Price, Utah early in the morning, enthusiastic, ready to roll. The red rock cliffs and geologic formations were breathtaking.
Somewhere around Farmington, New Mexico, things bogged down. For sure we were tired. Problems during the four previous days had cost us time and money. Our destination was Roswell, but I was thinking Albuquerque would be a good stopping point for the night.
Yea, well, he didn’t think so. He wanted to push on into the night. He wanted to make up time. And I began to wonder…. WHY? We’re on a road trip to see America. We had thousands of miles to go. I began to envision long slogs of driving all day, all night and not doing anything fun. I let that marinate in my very tired, unhappy mind.
I’m not proud of it, but I was getting a little whiny as we drove. As the miles passed, I googled where Albuquerque’s airport was in relation to us. Fortunately, before I seriously considered a reservation for one, he announced we’d look for a place as we got closer in.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t a good plan. As traffic picked up, we realized it was Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Everyone in the world was out for the big kick-off to summer with campers, RVs and boat trailers. They would be looking for the same spot we hoped to find.
It took a couple of fruitless stops and several phone calls, but Doug found us a place… just a “few” miles south of Albuquerque. But those few miles turned into about 50. And instead of being on Highway 285 toward Roswell, we were on I-25 headed to El Paso. When we turned off the highway at the entrance to the RV park and HORSE MOTEL (yes, horse motel), it felt like we’d sunk to a new low.
It was almost dark, so it wasn’t until morning that I realized how pretty and peaceful the area was. And that I’d actually slept well that night. The Kiva RV Park and Horse Motel, with large barn and corral, actually served a great need for folks who transport horses. Each camp site was lined with fruit trees and campers were invited to enjoy whatever was on them. The restrooms and showers were sparkly clean, our hosts were friendly and birds were twittering (non-political tweets) everywhere. It was an oasis in a big area of not much. I felt like I’d stepped into the pages of Lonesome Dove. And best of all, I didn’t have to go to El Paso. (Not that I have anything against El Paso.) Just a few miles down the road was Highway 380, which would take us straight to Roswell.
Highway 380 was great. And scenic. About halfway to Roswell, we came upon the town of Carrizozo. A tiny town of less than a thousand people, it had an amazing museum, filled with New Mexico history. I had no idea there were so many designs of barbed wire. Now I know… and whose ranch it came from. Plus, at the restaurant next door I had the best taco salad of my life.
A couple of hours later we were in Roswell. It had been a great day full of unexpected sights and interesting people. We would have missed it if we’d stuck to our original plan. Well, um, if we’d had one.
On a small-scale, that day felt like the past 48 years. Sometimes we have a great plan, sometimes not so much. Sometimes we have a big issue to face, sometimes it’s just a trip to Costco. We hit bumps in the road and toss around ideas. Sometimes good and sometimes not. But we keep moving forward. Sometimes agonizingly slow, but we’re moving. And eventually we get to where we need to go.
I’ve been reading Louie Giglio’s newest book Goliath Must Fall , in which he talks about the things that hold us back – – fear, rejection, addiction, anger and even comfort. I often hesitate because I want a clearer picture of the outcome. That’s not always bad, but too many hesitations can be paralyzing. Sometimes you must begin with what you know and trust the picture will become clear the closer you get.
Louie wrote, “Yet if you move in faith, God will always breathe life on your journey.”
I like that.
He’s been breathing life on our journey for 48 years, from stumbling through the hard stuff to finding a place to park our trailer for the night.
One day, one breath at a time.