They say that some things get better with time like whiskey and wooden barrels. They say that people change and grow apart. They say that good things don’t last forever.
At first, I loved you because of the way you spoke to strangers. I loved you because of the way you stood up for yourself and wouldn’t back down from your convictions. I loved the purity and innocence. I loved the way you laughed and the way you walked. I loved the way you would lose to me in chess and the English words that you would screw up on an almost daily basis. I loved your sense of adventure and the way you spoke about your family. I loved the way you looked at me. I loved so many things. I loved the idea of you. I was intoxicated.
Time will refine. Time will break down and break through, and like the wind in the Badlands or the rock slides in Zion, time will always reveal what’s underneath the surface. It’s been six years and I’ve watched you get annoyed with those strangers that you once gave your full attention and kindness to. I’ve seen you back down and you’ve let me behind the veil of the bravery that you display. I’ve seen moments where your innocence has faded and we both know you’ve laughed at the absolute worst moments and I’ve seen you trip and run into things while walking. A lot. You started beating me in chess. Your English got better and the funny mistakes don’t come as often anymore. You’ve dealt with problems in your family that you didn’t know existed and your view of it all has shifted. I’ve watched you buck the idea of adventure and desire to settle and stay put. And now, you’re probably more likely to roll your eyes toward me than to bat your eyelashes. The buzz has worn off.
I’ve had a front row seat as your idea of your almost perfect family was shattered. I sat with you on the porch in tears over hopeless situations. You sat by my side in silence as I dealt with chaos of my brother’s murder. I’ve watched you birth two children and channel your inner Viking (that was cool). I’ve watched you leave everything you knew to take risk after risk even though you were terrified to take another step. I’ve watched you change, and in your changing, the buzz that I once had has worn off.
When the buzz wears off, reality becomes visible again. The drunk man has much less awareness of his drunkenness than the sober people around him. He is unaware of his condition until he wakes up the next day. Sometimes the morning comes with a headache and sometimes it comes with a “I’m never drinking again.” Sometimes it comes with sobering regret. But somehow, with you, the buzz wore off and I found myself in a better place than I was in before getting drunk on the idea of you on the other side of the world.
The kindness that I thought I knew matured into compassion. The care that you displayed matured into passionate motherhood. The cleverness in you matured into wisdom. The fun conversations we once had have matured into conversation of dreams and God and parenting and planning and the deepest parts of who we are. The bravery that I once thought was so beautiful, matured into faith.
They say that over time, whiskey can get better as it marinates in wooden barrels. They say that over time, people can mend together or they can grow apart. I used to wonder what the difference was. They say that the buzz wears off.
I think, if I’m honest, I loved you before because of the ideas that I had about you. But the buzz wore off. I love you now, because time and pressure has revealed the depth of the promise that we made six years ago. The promise that we would build our marriage on the Rock, ready to withstand Hell and all its fury, rather than on the beach, where the first sign of high tide would cause a panic. Two become one when they are woven around that third and oh-so-necessary strand. There’s a love found there that no buzz can rival.
CS Lewis said something like, “The end result of the pursuit of pleasure is a swamp of boredom.”, but the pursuit of God, together can bring a spring of Joy that no one would ever want to leave.
Last night, we came home and we were tired. I turned some music on and we danced. Olivia wanted to dance too and we didn’t want Lukas to be left out so we scooped him and his little red cheeks up with us. We rocked in our tiny little kitchen as our RV rocked right along with us. I was buzzing again.
I’m writing this from a dirty highway RV park in California. Our son is screaming again for God knows what and our daughter is on the phone yelling, “Do you see that?!” to everything in sight while the phone camera is pointed directly at her forehead. We just travelled across the country for the last two months and we are sleep deprived. We’ve encountered broken propane lines and refrigerators and slide outs and engines and plans. We’ve argued and fought to get here. And after it all, we’ve found ourselves in a place that we don’t necessarily want to be in and in circumstances that are less than ideal. The buzz has certainly worn off and the result is that our family and our faith have been strengthened. We are six years in, and it’s only getting better.
They say that whiskey gets better with time and wooden barrels. But whiskey is to forget and numb a reality that we wish we could escape from. I think I’ll be better off without it.
Cheers to whatever life throws at us next.
Happy anniversary, I love you.
If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 1 Corinthians 3:12-13