18 years ago today I woke up alone. Even my dog, faithful companion of 11 years, was already encamped at someone else’s house and I had the misty, overcast morning entirely to myself. I took a few moments to listen to the familiar sounds of my house that I knew could never again sound quite the same. I knew there was activity already set in motion in homes and hotel rooms around the city as those near and dear to me took on their assigned tasks or chosen activities. I had a list of my own, but took the time to reflect on what was also being set in motion in the spirit. In a few more short hours I would be married.
The past 18 months had been a time of constant changes for me in almost every area; emotionally, occupationally, spiritually. Some of these steps I had (I thought) initiated myself in deciding how I wanted to live. My noble selfishness wouldn’t have taken me very far, however, and then this other person came into my life. I had a job where I could buy graphic design services. Unknown to me, a lovely woman was just getting started in her own graphic design business. Her pastor asked another member of their congregation, a man who sold high-end commercial printing, to give this young lady a list of names of prospective clients. Though I had never met this man, or even purchased printing from his company, my name was at the top of the list of ten people that he gave to the woman. Of those, I was the only person she called who agreed to meet with her. And my motive was more to pick the brain of someone starting a business since I was considering doing that myself. The rest, as they say, is history – and her story, too (which would make for some damn funny reading) – and the details of a very unlikely courtship which would take several postings to explain, but I’m not going to do that now.
That gray morning, however, I found it easy to imagine myself on a distant mountain top, standing under the interested eye of a watchful God, for the last time being scrutinized as an individual entity, my past packed lumpy and heavy into an ungainly backpack that constantly threatened my balance. By God’s grace I had made it that far, in that moment realizing that my position was only a vantage point and not the end of a climb.
I breathed deep of the rarefied air, heady with the scent of the unknown. Did something, perhaps, stir in that backpack as I slowly lowered it from my shoulders? Did a plaintive voice mew a last appeal? I cannot say, for my spirit leapt away like a balloon no longer tethered as the pack crunched into the dirt behind me.
My spirit free, and of my free will, I left that place to go to where the people who loved me, and whom I loved, waited. The long drive down from the north to the church put miles between me and what once was.
In the last 18 years I have lived in the bounty of a loving God, manifested in a loving wife and every miracle of life supplied in abundance. Never has an hour passed that I have wished for it to be any other way.
Happy anniversary, my love.