5 years ago today we said “I do.” 5 years ago today we began a foundation for a wild ride that neither of us saw coming. JJ has been a wife, confidant, doctor, caretaker, lover, helpmate, cheerleader, voice of reason, navigator, prayer advocate, and best friend to me. She happens to be one of the best cooks in the world, a creative genius, a fun-loving gal who’s not afraid of too much, and she strives to be better everyday at everything she does. Right now that means pouring herself into mothering and French studies, and I can see her quickly shaping into an expert at both. I love this girl, and knowing what I know now, having experienced what I have so far, there’s not a chance I would have said anything other than “I do” 5 years ago. Given the option, I’d make the exact same choice all over again.Here's a pictoral run down of our 5 years of marriage:
We took our first post-honeymoon vacation. To Niagara Falls. In February. It was nice. Less crowded. A little cold. We had a blast!
The year of change. Here we are in VA, signing up for new jobs that would give us less pay than either of our previous jobs alone, but would take us around the world and allow us to do what we desperately desired to do... what we are called to do. Oh, we still had no idea what was ahead of us! This year saw us leave behind our house and friends and family, the only jobs we'd ever known after college, and take us somewhere unknown. We lived on a campus in VA for 2 months, we landed in East Africa before the year ended. And in one year, we accomplished something many will not in a lifetime: we saw the only two waterfalls on earth that display a moonbow (Cumberland Falls: KY, USA and Victoria Falls: Zambia)!
We seriously live in East Africa now? Does the rest of the world know this is the most beautiful place on earth? There's a few negatives... malaria, check; food poisoning, check; unbearable heat, check; chased by an elephant, check; friends and neighbors die of aids & dehydration & other preventable diseases, sadly yes. But what a place to live! And soooo much to see.
Our son is born. In Africa. That makes him African-American (right?). Here we are in front of Mt Kilimanjaro. It's big (but hidden by our bigger heads). He'd been on more than 5 true safaris before reaching 6 months old. And we wonder why he's not afraid of big dogs...
And here we are. We're living in France. We're raising a bilingual son. We live in a community of artists, musicians, immigrants, workers... all of whom speak a language we barely understand. There is absolutely no way I ever would have guessed that 5 years ago. We live in one of the most visited cities in the world, and I barely know anything about it. I'm just glad they like live music and I can occasionally find a Dr. Pepper. There's nowhere we'd rather be.
5 years. 3 continents have been home. 2 new languages. A host of family and friends that we've actually grown closer to over the expanse of oceans. What a life!
If you happened to be with us 5 years ago today, you likely remember a fun, quaint service in KY that was the perfect day for us. Well, almost perfect. There was one small blemish, on account of yours truly. Those of you in attendance may recall a slightly awkward silent recessional (that’s where the wedding party exits, right?). We were posed to skip our way down the aisle to a song we’d picked out as the perfect fit, but no music came on. I looked back to our friend Kevin at the soundboard in desperation, and he just smiled real big back, oblivious to the fact that I was hoping he would save the day in that instant. He could not have, and did not know what I did though, because I forgot the simple task of handing him the cd and telling him “play this song when we leave.” Oh well, silence it was. The song we’d picked out back then was “Together” by Phil Joel. We thought it was a wonderful and cheery love song, perfect for the occasion.
After the wedding and as life got going, we sort of forgot about that song. But then a week ago, on Mother’s Day, I gave JJ a little playlist I’d created, some fun music for days around the apartment. As we listened, the song “Together” came on, included simply because it was a musical fit. We listened to it last week, and looked at each other thinking the same thing... that really does describe us! Here’s a section of the lyrics below, indeed a great description of our love story thus far:
Together on the wrong side of the world
Together, just a boy and a girl
Together on the wrong side of the world
And you know we'll always be strong
Because together we belong
This is no roll of the dice
There are no fools in this game
We followed the Son
And we'll do it again
I know You have lead us here
This part is could not be more clear
I know that someday we will understand
And Your plan unfolds
Still all we need to know
Is that our home is with You
As a side note... I'm taking my wife to Paris for dinner on our anniversary. What are you doing this year? :)