There is a certain intensity building in my heart as I reflect on what this spring and summer have brought to mind. It is a mingling of the past, 1969 to be exact, to the present. It includes the wonder of what I didn’t know in 1969 to what I am experiencing now. It is that time of my life where all the promises and hopes of yesteryears are colliding with the reality of today. Be advised that nothing catastrophic has occurred. It is just the way my life is.
John asked me to marry him in February of 1969. We had spent the afternoon in a bar on campus drinking beer and simply enjoying one another’s presence. It was after we left that John gave me 3 options for our relationship: 1. We could break up. 2. We could live together (a life style coming into vogue in 1969). 3. We could get married. I told him I did not want to break up…did he? “NO.” I said, “There is no way I am going to move in with you.” That left option 3 dangling…I would not commit but he did, “Will you marry me?” I said, “YES.” Did I mention we were at a stoplight and that John was smoking a cigar?
Interesting that I have not forgotten those details and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. There was no ring (yet). He did not ask my father’s permission (did guys do that in 1969…really?). It was just the two of us and it was spectacular and we were in love.
We spent the time between February and June planning for our wedding. I couldn’t wait and neither could he. We gave no thought to what our future would be like…it was all about being together…married.
I can honestly say that I wasn’t prepared for all that John and I would be facing. We knew there would be the “good” times and the “bad” times. But what are they really? We didn’t know…we were just committed to facing those times together. There are moments when I would love to recapture the naivety of us. That ship has definitely sailed but I was able to relive some of those moments, as my children were moving through their own engagements.
Now it wasn’t until our son, Jeff, met and married Amy after her previous broken engagement and a few years later our daughter, Jenny, met and married Tom after her previous broken engagement that I realized broken engagements were an option I knew nothing about. It never occurred to John and me that this could happen during our engagement. Yet it happened to our lovely girls. Did they know something we didn’t? Yes, they did. And it brought heartache into their lives coupled with a “knowing” that God had someone for them down the road. My girls had the confidence in “knowing” that the gown they had picked out for the first go-round would be worn for the second. Yep, they kept those gowns and wore them two years later. Stunning…!
John and I realized very early in our marriage that we were in for the long haul…blinders and all! Our kids are too…their heartache has passed and new ones have entered…not unlike John’s and mine. However there is a difference as John and I navigate life today. It comes with urgency like never before. There is a reason why it takes 46+ years together to face the inevitability of: health issues, doctor appointments, aches and pains (new ones every day), long term decisions (for us 6 months is a stretch when it used to be years), my life/his life coupled with our life.
It is refreshing to remember John and I on campus in 1969. Those two lovebirds are still present with a good measure of that young love coursing through our veins. Admittedly intensity has crept into our lives like never before. Yet our desire is growing…it is different from then…it is still alive…it is good.
Mary Jane Hamilton has grown to love her sense of style and her peaceful lake living. Mother of 2 and grandmother of 6, she has a wonderful capacity to love and is still active as The Tooth Fairy. She is extremely fond of her dachshunds, who rarely venture from her lap, and enjoys biking with her husband of 44 years. She is rekindling her writing skills and finding it life giving.