Anniversaries of Beginnings and Endings

21 years ago yesterday at 7:00 PM in the evening, in Saint Francis of Assisi Church in Oklahoma City, I married my husband. It seems like yesterday and it seems like I’ve known him forever.

We met on the job in Oklahoma City in 1984. I’ve known him almost 30 years, because of what he called fate. He had taken a job as a college student in the laboratory of the local hospital as a phlebotomist (someone who draws blood) even though he’d applied for a surgical scrub tech. The surgery position wasn’t available however, so he took the lab job with the understanding from human resources that when a scrub tech job opened up, he would be moved. One week before I started working in the lab, human resources called him and offered him the job in surgery. He declined it, choosing to stay in the lab instead. He told me later that he thought that was fate–that if he’d taken that job, he never would have met me. And I am so grateful that he did not take the job as a scrub tech. He makes me laugh when I really need to be able to laugh. We have our differences, but I like to think we balance each other. I can’t imagine my life without him and when I think of our life together it’s feels like he’s always been there. And in the undulating rhythm of living we have navigated the rapids and the calm together, always taking the next wave with all we have to give.

This year, we are celebrating in Paris, a trip he’d meant to plan and surprise me with last year for our 20th. Through a series of things that kept him busy, the trip fell through and didn’t get out of the planning stages. As fate would have it, it turned out to be fortuitous, because on October 26 of 2011, instead of getting on a plane with me to a fabulous destination, he was instead breaking to me the news that my father had passed away.

Those of you who have followed my blog will know this has not been an easy road for me. But my husband has been very solid and stable. And because it hasn’t been easy for me, it hasn’t been easy for him in turn.

Looking back, I can see a pattern. When something is just too overwhelming for me, I hide. I use avoidance to keep away from what threatens to engulf me. So, in January I ran a marathon. In March I began blogging in earnest. In May I became obsessed with photography. In and of themselves, healthy and perfectly acceptable forms of keeping busy. Maybe a little too busy. The house devolved into a barely tolerable nightmare. I found myself using whatever force I could muster to get myself to keep up with daily chores, but finding plenty of time to run, and take photos or blog/read. My car didn’t get a wash until just a week ago (that’s a year without a bath). Anything to keep from actually acknowledging the sorrow that was threatening to engulf me.

And through it all, I didn’t get even one raised eyebrow. No complaints about laundry (well, until last week 🙂 or cooking. Nothing about the state of my desk. I recently cleaned out my email inbox, and found that the last time I had done it was a year ago. It’s sad that sometimes it takes something major to shake us up and show us the reality of what we have that is good. Hopefully we recognize it in time to appreciate it. So I dedicate this post to the guy who is my rock, my heart, my soul. I thank the Lord for letting him pass on that job so that I could be blessed with his love. And mostly, I look forward to another 21 years with the love of my life. Happy Anniversary, Babe.

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38 Responses to Anniversaries of Beginnings and Endings

  1. Happy Anniversary Arnel!
    I wish you all the best and a life full of wonderful fulfilling experiences with your hubby!
    🙂

  2. jmgoyder says:

    I can so relate to everything you say in this post – uncanny. Congratulations to you both!

  3. Kathleen says:

    Happy Anniversary!
    Have some hot chocolate and croissants and enjoy being in love in Paris.

  4. Congratulations! I’m beginning to love the love stories and I LOVE this one. It’s great to see people still loving, appreciating, and looking out for each other 21 years later. Enjoy your trip!

  5. Barneysday says:

    This was very moving, and I admire your honesty and willingness to share. That takes a certain kind of courage to acknowledge, and to know yourself. Thank you

  6. terry1954 says:

    this is so beautiful how two people who become married and live for their marriage really works. so many give up and divorce after the first fight. a big congratulations to you on your anniversary. many more years may you keep being blessed with a wonderful life and husband

  7. Twenty-one years is a good run so far…
    My Dearly Beloved and I have made twenty-nine, two months, and six days today. Deity willing, we’ll be hanging around for a while yet…
    I offer our congratulations.

  8. adinparadise says:

    Happy anniversary to you both. How lovely to have your celebration in Paris. So romantic. 🙂

  9. What a beautiful post!! Happy Anniversary to both of you and may your trip to Paris be both relaxing and memorable. Life has a way of overwhelming us on a regular basis doesn’t it? If it’s not death or illness, it’s a financial disaster, or a rift with a loved one, or just stress in general that threatens to do us in. I think you have handled everything marvelously because you have filled your time with activities that you love and gain fulfillment from. The other things, like the house and chores and dirty cars, will always be there. You have to give yourself some happiness to get through the rough times. And don’t forget that we, your blogging family, are always here for you!

  10. robincoyle says:

    I love fate! You guys were meant to be.

    How are things at home with Ms. Sandy beating down on the East Coast? Can you get home on time? Been thinking of you and hoping your trip is the dream of a lifetime of love.

  11. Madhu says:

    Belated anniversary wishes Arnel! Hope you are having the time of your life in Paris 🙂

  12. denizb33 says:

    Aww. Happy belated anniversary!

  13. Smaktakula says:

    This was really sweet. First of all, happy anniversary, and I’m sorry also for your loss. I love, though, how you tell a story that could be one of disappointment, but is actually full of gratitude. That seems so rare. Here’s to 100 more years together (give or take)!

  14. He sounds pretty special…I think you should keep him…(as if you wouldn’t) Enjoy your wonderful trip…Diane

  15. Lynne Ayers says:

    So fortunate, so blessed, Happy Anniversary. We all need a pet rock. 😉

  16. Dear Arnel,
    And that is a very special and beautiful life indeed. To another 21 years and beyond!!! Congratulations! Sharon

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