Ironies and anniversaries

“Don’t underestimate the value of irony—it is extremely valuable.”
Henry James

DSC01985
(a lone gull on the shore of Henderson St Park, Florida / Julie Cook / 2015)

32 years ago yesterday I got married.
Blessedly, I’m still married. . .to the same fella—loving him more today than I knew how to love back then. . .funny how that works—but Praise God it does!!
Fine wine and hearts do indeed seem to get better with time—or in my case they have, thankfully.
And yes, I know, it was a “dad day” yesterday but sometimes going over to take Dad to the doctors trumps a circled date on a calendar.

Traffic was a nightmare, which in turn put me in panic mode thinking that I wouldn’t / couldn’t get to him in time and we’d miss the appointment for sure.
But as luck would have it, or as I like to think Divine Intervention, we made it at 10:15 on the dot. Never mind we waited about 40 minutes until we saw a doctor. . .he, we, by George, were on time!

The follow-up was good, staying the course with the meds. His weight is still way down but he is back on his chocolates so maybe things will improve. Frail, pale and craving anything chocolate–could be worse.

My stepmother was in bed on a self imposed day of being in the bed—there have been a good many of those as of late. . .so I got them both lunch and went back to my old bed room the office to sort through the latest stack of mail and bills.

Sitting at the desk, the desk that was actually his as a little boy, a desk I never particularly liked when I was little as it was made out of wormwood—a hot commodity in the antique world these days but I thought it terrible to have furniture in the house worms had eaten. . .of which now sits in the room where I “grew up,” a room I found as both refuge as well as grossly claustrophobic. . .

I was suddenly struck by the irony of the moment. . .

August 13, 1983 was a summer’s day with a brilliant blue sky. There were no clouds as the humidity was surprisingly low yet it was still hot as hell as it was August and it was Atlanta for Heaven’s sake, so there were no surprises there.

Early that morning, I was in my room gathering the last of my things in order to schlep them over to the church so I could finish getting dressed. The room had been pretty much stripped of every and any remaining vestige of my having spent the last 23 years in that room as everything had been dismantled and boxed, with a good bit being moved to the house that I would soon be calling my own—a good 75 mile drive away–at the time, 750 miles would have suited me.

I was getting married at noon, to a man I had not dated very long—much to my mother’s and godmother’s chagrin—each had their reasons but the chief number one bother was that neither of them knew this young man, not to mention that he was 10 years older than his bride to be. . .

I’ve written about all of that before so I won’t bother with retelling that story. . .rest assured however, it’s had a happy ending.

My family had been the epitome of dysfunctional and I was quite happy about the prospect of getting the heck out of Dodge, so to speak. All I ever wanted to do was to find “Mr Right,” get married, and have a family of my own—- getting my very own chance at making that whole marriage and family thing right as my family had been the poster child of everything a family probably shouldn’t be.

There was no remorse in walking out of the room, no sense of nostalgia that had me linger while wistfully thinking back over life.
I was ready to go.
To move on to the next chapter of my life.
No looking back longingly with that familiar tinge of melancholy. . .
It was onward and upward with no regrets. . .
I was happy and resolute—time to get this show on the road, as in literally!

And anyway, it wasn’t like I was still living at home. I had taken a teaching position in a small town about an hour away, so I had already tasted independence. . .
Yet. . .
there was a very deep need within me to shake the dust from my feet. . .free from that room and from that house.

So here I was, finding myself 32 years later to the day and time, back in that same room and in that same house.
This time I had my 26 year old son in tow to help me with getting dad to the doctor’s office.

The dysfunction is still there, it’s just that now it’s different.
My mom has been gone almost 30 years next month. That in itself is hard to grasp.
I’ve also written about that tale before. . .about having to go to the house that fateful evening—of how I had to spend the night back in my room, while I began helping Dad in the very long, decades long, chore of putting the pieces back together. . .

Dad has since remarried.
Sadly their lives are now currently topsy turvy. . .

And oddly there I was. . .right back in that same room I had tried to shake from my feet, sitting at a desk I once never liked, paying bills and attempting to manage the lives of those other than my own–

Thomas Wolfe once wrote that we can’t ever go back home. And to some degree he’s right.
We can’t go back to what was and who we were. . . for good or for bad. . .
Life and time changes all of that—
Yet the thing is– we can go back sort of. . .We can go back different than who we were before. . .
we can go back changed, older, wiser, better.
That’s the thing about time—it dims the mind, the pain, the memories—and that whole Life thing helps in procuring focus—focus on what really matters, what’s really important. . .
all of which is all sprinkled with a hearty dose of maturity. . .

However there is one pivotal factor which allows us to return back to where we often began, it is the most changing of factors–the one that provides both healing and forgiveness, courage and hope. . .
that being Grace. . .

The Grace I received from the Holy Spirit.
The Grace that has allowed me to go back, to the beginning, to the place that wasn’t always good or happy to a place that continues to have trouble, and do what I need to do—demonstrate that same Grace in like turn. . .

So as my thoughts turned toward time and even fine wine on the day of milestones. . .as in there’s just nothing like that fine bottle of wine. . .I thought of life, my life and how both need to be equally well aged. . .

Cheers to 32 years and going. . .

17 comments on “Ironies and anniversaries

  1. Lynda says:

    Julie, congratulations to you and Gregory on your 32nd anniversary (albeit a day late!)! Life brings many things to our door but it is in the working through that we determine how we will respond and therefore, who we will be. You have proven that you can allow the Grace of God to flow through you and bring love and compassion to others – even to those who have hurt you in the past. You are able to see others with the eyes of Christ.

    Thank you for your faithfulness in living your life in Christ and for sharing that very life in this blog. Blessings and prayers!

    • Thank Lynda–I’ve spent, actually wasted rather, a great deal of time and energy being angry and resentful—finally, one day I noticed it started to subside as I made the conscious decision to let go of what was, it was what it was and nothing I could do could change it or anyone who I wanted to change—so God in His Grace, saw fit to change me—and it is a continuing work in progress as there are days that I go two steps forward and 5 steps back 🙂
      and it is God’s Grace and only that which sustains me through the craziness–
      Hugs and love—Julie

      • Lynda says:

        God’s Grace is sufficient for us. Every morning I pray this prayer written by St. Ignatius Loyola:
        “…Give me only your love and your grace. That is sufficient for me.” I must admit that I also add a request for God’s mercy! 🙂

  2. Wally Fry says:

    Happy Anniversary! Isn’t it amazing that even from the depths of the biggest dysfunction, that Jesus can still turn out something great? All we have to do is let Him run things, and He will teach us how to do it right.

  3. You know there are so many similarities in our lives that it’s almost uncanny. I hadn’t known James long either, he is 7 years older than I am, and we’re coming up on 52 years 3 days from now. And as we’ve discovered there are other things about our lives that are quite similar. My oh my! Well, congratulations to you and Gregory. I’m so glad God’s grace brought a good man into your life and that the time you’ve spent with him has been good and rewarding. What more can a woman ask? You are such a good and loving woman and deserve that happiness, my friend. Much love and huge hugs! :<3 ❤ ❤

  4. David says:

    Happy Anniversary Julie! We hit 36 years this year. Most of our courting was done by good old fashioned letter writing while I was at sea. But we spread it over four years and made the most of each period of leave.

  5. lljostes says:

    A belated Happy Anniversary, Julie. And cheers to many more grace filled years with your hubby! Hugs ~ Laura P.S. We just celebrated our 36th last week!

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