|The day my life got better.|
I beg to differ. The survival of my own 42 year-long love affair with the one and only woman I ever married, has long depended on our refusal to don our parachutes at the altar. Standing in front of Pastor Milton Reiber in a country chapel in the piney woods of Mississippi, Sheila and I made a lifelong commitment to each other. Promises were made that brooked no backing out. The idea was never considered. We signed the pledge in writing. I still carry my now faded, wallet-sized marriage license with me wherever I go. What has not faded is the commitment that little blue document represents.
While others of my generation were pledging "till we fall out of love", my wife and I pledged, "Till death do us part." And we meant it, even though we had no idea of what a rough ride it might prove to be. Because of our stubborn determination to honor that pledge, through tragedy, trial, struggle, good times and hard times, we have both known that we could always look over and find our best friend and lover always there beside us.
Are we the perfect couple? Hardly. Neither of us is perfect. We understood that going in. We did, however, know that we both served the same master and we both had chosen that our lives should end up at the same place. We tried our best to believe the best, do our best and trust each other's love no matter what. It's never been easy. Life isn't. Not with the devil our adversary walking about like a roaring adversary seeking whom he may devour. But for all the struggle we've endured, I would not trade the love I've shared with my precious wife for anything on this Earth - not fame, not wealth, or power.
We have traveled this life together as God has led us, she and I. God has promised to be our teacher and so we did our best to sit still in the classes. We did our best to learn, however uncomfortable the lessons being taught. Over the past four decades, we've done our best to serve our children, loved ones and our fellow human beings as best we knew how. It has not made us rich. Quite the contrary. But, it has, I believe, left the world a slightly better place for our having passed through it. That was our intent at any rate. God must be responsible for the outcome.
There are two kinds of people in the world - those who give and those who take - those who mostly wish to be entertained and to have others meet their needs and those who strive to meet the needs of others. The love that we chose, was the consciously giving kind - the sort that reveres the Golden Rule as opposed to lusting for the power of the gold that rules. We chose to give love rather than wait around to receive it. I truly believe that choosing to believe that love was something we do rather than something we strictly receive has made all the difference.
I'm a firm believer in marriage. It's God's teaching tool; something of a crucible in which the souls of a married pair are purified and strengthened, molded and melded. Marriage is not, of itself, some touchy-feely emotional state. It's doing first, putting someone else before your own self. It's living life deliberately and with principle. It's giving 100%, not 50/50. When you do that you have a relationship that always is more than what any one person can create on his or her own - it is always a relationship that is more than 100%, for when one is weak, the other is strong. And when both are strong, the two are more powerful than they can be separately and alone. If you've put the effort into it, the emotional state comes with it as a bonus and you are strong and faithful and powerful.
God said it was not good that man should be alone. He was right. I know that for a hard fact. As poor as we are in this world's riches, as disabled as we both are in body and mind, and as tough as life sometimes gets for us, God has given us each other, two hearts beating as one, and that is enough for this life. The next one promises to be incredible and the great thing is that we get to start it as two hearts which have already become as one thanks to an intertwined life guided by the loving hand of He who set the universe to spinning.
You can't beat that with a stick.
© 2016 by Tom King