A week ago, Steve and I repeated our wedding vows on the occasion of our 40th wedding anniversary. We were sort of hippies back then so our vows reflected that.
” I want to live with you just as you are. I choose you above all others to share my life with you and this is the only evidence there can be that I love you. I want to love you for yourself in the hope you will become all that you can be. i promise to honor this pledge for as long as faith and hope endure–for our love’s endless season.”
Steve and I then commented on our vows 40 years later– and this is what I said to him that night with a few friends and our children who gathered.
“If I were to say my vows now, I’d say that yes, the fact that we’ve stayed together for 40 years and are now happier in many ways than we were when we said those vows, is indeed the evidence that I love you.
The first time I saw you, you were drawing a sketch of your cabin on a napkin at a cross country ski patrol meeting. 4 months later I was at that cabin when you put the door in. Four cabins later, you might say we have led the cabin life and shared it with hundreds of people ov er the years.. We have been faithful to each other as we vowed and we have kept faith in God through thick and thin. We have crossed glacier rivers, climbed a lot of mountains, rafted wild rivers, kayaked both calm and stormy seas, walked across Spain, basked in tropical sun and waters, canoed in the Amazon jungle, watched rocks fly out of a volcano (pyroclastic flow), camped in hundreds of some sketchy, some mind-blowing places, skied in the face of Denali many times, landed on a remote mountain tops in a plane, dove through a 100 foot waterfall to a blue lagoon in Costa Rica, sailed on that pristine morning out of Day Harbor, had some great margaritas at La Buena Vida Bar in Akumal and fallen in love with the Red Rocks of the Southwest touring in our camper. We have had a life of adventure and I don’t regret a second of it—even when I thought I was going to die or you were going to die or I was so cold or so tired I couldn’t make it. But we always kept going and by grace we are here now.
We have had what we vowed—a love of what? 4 x40+160 seasons–maybe now endless but at least it seems that they will always go on this way. We may not have made it without our friends and family. You have made these years all the richer. To all of you, those living and those passed, you gave us our ground and we thank you deeply.
And to you Steve, there are so many ways I wouldn’t change you at all– for your honesty and simple way of living, for how you move through the wilderness, with such connection and confidence, for the way you light up and sing me a good morning every day, for loving my cooking and always thinking it’s gourmet, for the way you delight in our children and grandchildren, for the way you know what I’m going to say before I say it and for thinking I’m still cute when I’m feeling old, I love you more than ever. May the adventures continue and the seasons grow richer.