That’s the number of days that occur in a quarter of a century.
That’s 25 years x 365 days per year, + six leap days.
That’s the number of days since a way-too-young boy stood in front of hundreds of people. Knees knocking. Palms sweating. Heart pounding.
That’s the number of days since the auditorium doors swung open and a glowing bride made her entrance. Beautiful. Graceful. Breathtaking.
That’s the number of days it takes – apparently – to build a family. Kid number one came along at day 1,134. Kid two showed up at day 1,562. Kid three rolled in at day 3,370. And kid four finally rounded us out at day 6,291.
That’s the number of mornings we’ve woken up to the same face. The number of nights we’ve gone to bed giggling or grumpy. The number of afternoons we’ve called or texted to check in. The number of opportunities we’ve had to be thankful for the gift of marriage…mingled with the number of chances we’ve missed to say thank you for that gift.
That’s the running count of fights and forgiveness. Sin and sanctification. Grocery lists and grouchy moods. Mortgage payments and mac and cheese dinners. School plays and stomach bugs. Health scares and holy moments. Laugh-till-you-cry stories and cry-till-you’re-empty heartbreaks.
It’s mind-boggling, really, to think that 9,131 days have passed since we first said I do. Over the weekend my in-laws gave us a card that loudly proclaimed Silver Anniversary! on the front. Which is staggering. Because I barely remember my parents’ silver anniversary. I sort of remember my in-laws silver anniversary. But I distinctly remember all of them being old enough to have a silver anniversary. They were something like 400 years old when they’d been married as long as we have been. But us? No, we’re not old enough for a Silver Anniversary! We’re not old enough to have two adult kids, a third closing in fast, and a fourth who thinks she’s smarter than us all.
As I sit and reflect on day 9,131, it doesn’t escape me that I don’t deserve any of this. I don’t deserve this marriage. I don’t deserve this life. I don’t deserve my bride. I don’t deserve her grace, her kindness, her devotion for the last quarter-century.
A few days ago we were asked what we’ve learned in the last twenty-five years. Merriem said that marriage is a chance to show grace over…and over…and over…and over. How true. How fitting. How necessary when two sinners come together that we show the same grace we’ve been given by Jesus. We forgive and move forward and give our spouse not what they deserve, but what we’ve received ourselves.
When it was my turn to answer, I simply said “Marry someone you enjoy hanging out with.” My 20 year old son thought that was – and I quote – revolutionary (I’m pretty sure he was being sarcastic). But after thinking about it, I realized that mine was more than an on-the-spot answer. It’s a reflection of what I know. There’s nobody else I’d rather be with, fight with, play with, forgive with, grow old with, hang out with. There’s nobody else I’d rather my kids call Mom. There’s nobody else I’d want to be by my side for the last quarter-century and – God willing – the next fifty-plus years.
On January 16, 1993, I said I do. And 9,131 days later, I joyously, enthusiastically, gratefully still do.