St. Patrick's Day always brings with it a rush of nostalgia for me. You see, it was the pivotal day in which my relationship with Jeff turned from fellow-students-at-an-international-school into something-so-much-more.
It's been 17 years since then, and oh, how things have changed! Let's see...
Then: we were in Jerusalem.
Now: we are in Virginia.
Then: I was 19.
Now: I'm 36.
Then: he was 25.
Now: he's 42.
Then: we were two singles--kids, almost. ;-)
Now: after a decade and a half of marriage, we HAVE kids--five of 'em! :)
Then: I don't remember what the weather was like, but I do know that it didn't snow.
Now: it snowed (and still is).
Then: Jeff was sick.
Now: Jeff is healthy.
Then: our paths crossed because of our education, and thanks be to God, our souls reached out and touched each others', beginning a tentative dance of affection that would lead us to marriage.
Now: we are unspeakably blessed to live life together--not to write each other "secret" notes to be delivered through campus mail or shyly handed off to each other in the dining hall, but to share this journey fully. To, for example, live a late-winter Sunday together: buckling kids into carseats, going to church, driving home through snow and rain, making caprese salad in the kitchen for lunch, gathering with the family around the table, relaxing on the couch by the woodstove, going to a fantastic children's choir concert (and smiling particularly proudly at a certain young man on the stage), shepherding our little flock through the throng of concert-goers, smiling at each other over their heads when they do something particularly funny or heart-warming, playing Castle Risk at home as the snow continues to fall, making popcorn on the stove for hungry tummies, giving an adorable baby girl a bath and tickling her until she laughs and laughs, feeling overwhelmed by the abundance of blessings that fill our lives...
What a world of difference! But even though today was not at all like the first time we shared this holiday, a few things have stayed the same since that long-ago St. Patrick's Day...like the fact that no photo exists to commemorate that first day of special connection, and no photos were taken on this day either. But even without pictures, the heart remembers and words strive to capture the feelings.
More significantly, of course, the common ingredient between that St. Patrick's Day and this one is simple: it's the love. The love that was so fresh and new and hesitant back then...and the love that is so deep and rich and warm and secure and strong now.
Some people might say it was the luck o' the Irish that brought Jeff and I together 17 years ago; but I know the truth: it was simply the favor of God. And after all these years, I still haven't stopped giving Him thanks for that most wonderful St. Patrick's Day gift!! :)