Every May and June the orange lilies bloom around here, a sweet reminder of my wedding day, ten years ago now. I remember standing at the counter of the florist with my mom, 21-years-old, with no idea what I wanted and taken off guard by how much flowers cost. I told the lady my colors and she suggested lilies. I was easily swayed.
On June 9th we married, on a muggy Saturday afternoon beneath the oak trees. It rained while I was getting ready, but half an hour before the ceremony the skies parted and sun shone. He was wearing a suit too hot for a Texas summer wedding, but that’s about the only thing I would change.
I had very little idea what I was doing when I planned our wedding. Being out of state didn’t help. And we had a small budget. There was no Pinterest at the time, no flood of wedding blogs to peruse, and none of my friends were married yet. I was on the frontier.
We had a free location, but a tent and chairs were still needed. The other big ticket items were food and cake, a photographer, and my dress. The lady who made my cake baked out of her home. It was more of her hobby, not her job. I remember sitting in her living room drinking a glass of iced tea while looking through a scrapbook of cakes she had baked. In the fireplace across from me were some cardboard items they were planning to burn with their next fire.
And the caterer—I went with a hole in the wall BBQ restaurant, and by hole in the wall I mean their seating consisted of standard folding tables covered with plastic, red-checkered cloths resting on a dirt floor. I remember calling them the week before my wedding in a panic because I hadn’t heard from them since booking: “Are you going to be there?! I haven’t heard from you!” My bridezilla moment.
I wanted a simple dress, something that wouldn’t drag on the ground, but even that was daunting. I wasn’t the girl who always dreamed of herself wearing a certain kind of gown. I didn’t have my colors picked out at fifteen. Instead, I chose burnt orange and red because I thought they would provide a nice contrast to all the green. That was a good call.
My favorite parts were walking down the aisle to the score from Meet Joe Black. Partaking in communion. Seeing our friends and family. The BBQ and cake both turned out pretty good despite their humble origins. And then the bubbles that showered us as we walked to the limo, the ride to our hotel over an hour away, giving us the much needed time to soak it all up.
A lot of people might say “it seems like just yesterday we said ‘I do’,” but I don’t feel that way. Partly because I hate that saying—like you’ve missed out on something, ten years in this instance. Like you’ve been sleep walking and life has danced around you without you knowing.
These are the chunks that form our life together: the tree house apartment with the real fireplace and christmas and camping gear stored in our car trunks because storage was so tight. My senior year of college and our jobs at Starbucks. The condo—way too much storage; evenings spent at that huge 24 hour fitness, and trips to Sunflower Market for groceries. My first non-coffee job. His PTA schooling. The apartment in Capitol Hill—walks to Whole Foods for a snack and then a lap around Cheesman park, riding our scooter and playing frisbee. The death of my mom. Faraway travels to Maui, Mexico, Tahiti, Turkey, Greece, and Ukraine, and many places stateside. Hiking, camping, bike riding. Calvary Chapel Aurora, Westminster Presbyterian, and now Cooper First Baptist. A cat named Jilly, and now a dog named Rocky. A move from Colorado to Texas. The Hobbit House. The start of a family we were so unsure of: a daughter and soon to be a son.
And these are just the physical chunks, the roadside markers of our lives. Like an iceberg, the real girth lies beneath the surface—the people we’ve become, the lessons we’ve learned, the way the Lord has shaped and molded us.
There’s a lot of talk of mindfulness, which usually refers to the present, being in the moment and being aware. But what about mindful remembrance? identifying the parts that comprise the whole and reflecting on them, not lumping them together as if they’ve disentegrated to nothing, to “just yesterday.” I want to remember my life well, the ups and downs, the happy and sad, and that most certainly starts with mindfulness in the moment, but then translating that to recollection.
I will probably give in someday. Perhaps when my own daughter is walking down the aisle: my heart will ache at how fast the time has passed, that just yesterday she was a bleach blonde toddler running around barefoot outside. And I will have to remind myself to slow down and remember all of the pieces—the long, hard seasons, the places we lived and traveled, the heartfelt conversations, the everyday living, that the woman she’s become didn’t happen over night.
The truth is, our marriage contains 3,650 “just yesterdays” and counting. Three thousand six hundred fifty new mercies every morning, abundant opportunties to give thanks, noteworthy moments filling up each of those days. This is fullness I cannot contain, a cup that runneth over. May the Lord help me to be mindful of all His gifts—from the ordinary to the extravagant, noticing them as they happen, and then remembering all that He has done, both tomorrow and the next ten years from now.