In Sickness AND in Health

I dug our wedding vows out of a dusty file folder today. It’s funny the memories that can come flooding back just looking at old ‘paperwork.’

I remembered how our pen had run out of ink in the middle of signing our registry, and how we just ‘fake signed’ instead. It made me laugh again now like it did back then.

Our pastor running down the aisle after us with a working pen. “Hey guys, you need to sign this… if you want to really make it official!” 

The photos above were taken seconds after we were married ‘for real.’ (Papers signed, whew.) I can look at them and literally remember how I felt in that moment. My brother in law was all, “Pretend I’m not even here,” as he snapped away with one of those old fashioned cameras.

Remember cameras that had a roll of film that needed to be developed, so you never knew what you were getting until 2 weeks later? Gasp. 

Our vows had been written by my brother and my sister in law a few years earlier for their own wedding. They were so beautiful I asked if we could ‘steal’ them.

So on that Friday night of November 7th 2003, these are some of the words I said to that 21 year old man standing in front of me… 

You are the man I have prayed, dreamed, and hoped for. 

You are my encourager.

You are my best friend.

You are my equal and my match.

You inspire me to think differently and to challenge myself.

You help me realize I can do it.

You show me that life is real joy when it is shared with a teammate.

And when we face troubles, together they will be overcome.

Through illness I will bring you comfort.

Which basically means: I’m gonna love you in sickness AND in health, even though the health bit is a way easier space to love you in. 

Which also means… He will buy me the most amazing pillow he can find for an anniversary gift, since sleeping with an inappropriately sized mass in my neck requires a ‘just so’ pillow situation… It also means he will pay outrageous shipping fees to get it here sooner, because he loves me so much.

Be still my heart.

Do you know how much easier it is for me to do this whole sickness and NOT health bit with my very best friend in the world by my side?

So much easier. 

To have my best friend there to pray with me when I’m feeling overwhelmed makes me feel stronger. To have him remind me that we’re choosing faith over fear when I forget now and again, makes me feel courageous.

To have my best friend say, “I’m ordering dinner.” Or “Boys, come back and help clean up!” or “Does it make your life easier? You should get it…” reminds me I’m cared for and so loved.

In sickness AND in health…
Health is WAY more fun, but sickness makes you treasure stuff in a weirdly wonderful way.

As the current sickness representative in our relationship, I’m so grateful that he said YES to both states. And I’m so grateful he’s been faithful to his words.  

For 17 years he has been kind and considerate, and often shelves the selfishness, because in marriage, (or parenting for that matter…) ain’t nobody got time for that…  

I guess, be still my heart again. 

Yesterday I took my kids on a scooter ride through the park, because four boys always need exercise, even immediately after they’ve just had exercise…

I know, I didn’t know that either.

They were flying down the pavement in front of me as we passed an older couple attempting to take a selfie in front of a beautiful autumn coloured tree. They laughed with such familiarity as they tried to fit in the frame. Their hair was white, and I knew they’d probably reached a greater milestone than our 17 years of married life. And I thought, that’s my dream.

A laughter filled selfie with my best friend when we’re old and grey. 

“I love you 17 years.” He said this morning as small children began trickling into our dark bedroom sometime after 6 had hit the clock. 

“I love you 17 more,” I said back. “But I think I’m not good at adding by 17 before coffee, so I can’t tell you the exact number…” 

It’s 34, in case you were wondering.

And then after that it’s 51. Which I figure puts us right about the correct timeline to be wandering through the park ahead of the young mom with the mob of children on scooters. And all of a sudden we’ll be the ones trying to take a laughter filled selfie in front of the autumn coloured tree.

And I can’t wait.

 

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