I am debating with myself. Do I tell them? Do I dare post the truth about my 30th anniversary? Isn't it better to leave the impression of glitz, glamour, glitter, and sparkling romance? Or is it true that Truth is always not only stranger than fiction, but more satisfying?
I know for myself that no picture I've posted here has pleased me as much as John and Amy in a field of sunflowers, and no post has pleased me as much as the one that went with that photo, the one in which I reveled in the beauty of their wedding and the glory of 30 years of marriage to my sweet and much loved husband. Half (or a third?) of the joy of that post was telling you all about our not-too-ambitious but oh so delightful plans for celebrating our Big Day. . .
And yes, that brings me to full disclosure and hot dogs (2) and microwaved chicken tenders (2 orders worth) and possibly the most ridiculous (and most fun) anniversary ever. At least in my experience!
Because yeah, we didn't end up doing most of what I'd hoped we would do. We did revisit dear friends. But then we did not visit typewriter stores, nor go to Mass, nor have a romantic dinner overlooking a waterfall.
Somehow in God's adorable plan (which He quite effectively substituted for ours), we ended up at the airport (Sea-Tac) eating hot dogs (one for me, one for my husband) while our sons ate microwaved chicken tenders (I think the hot dogs were better, so I can't complain), sitting at a table with 3 chairs (there were 4 of us - and so chivalrous were my boys that I got one of the chairs), slightly out of the way of the rush and tumble of people going places in a hurry, but only slightly . . .
I'm thinking that early morning post (with the lovely picture of the bride and groom amidst sunflowers), and the description of our joy and gratitude in our marriage, and our plans for our anniversary must have elicited many a prayer from you, dear readers. Otherwise how can we explain my amusement over the venue? my enjoyment of the hot dog? Plenty of ketchup, a bit of relish, and a touch of mustard made it quite tasty, but it was still just a hot dog! Okay, the fries that came with my sons' chicken tenders were good too, and I do love a good french fry . . .
No, it must have been grace and grace alone that sustained us. And that's what I wanted to disclose. God is full of surprises - life is always new with Him, even in the celebration of something 30 years old, like our marriage. And in thanks for your prayers, which kept us afloat and of good cheer throughout that strange anniversary evening, I'm asking our good Jesus to supply you with a hot dog and fries (or whatever makes you smile) to let you know that you're loved!
Yes, we did try again the next night. It was a different comedy of errors, a dinner entirely unlike what we'd planned (again! and again not overlooking a waterfall!), culminating in our selecting greeting cards for each other from the "cheap rack" at an unfamiliar drugstore (still haven't written in them and given them to each other - it's been a busy week, and clearly the romance continues).
Oddly enough, that second odd evening was as much fun - even more! - than the date in the airport. Fun for me, the girl who had her sights set on France, Italy, or Montreal for our celebration. . . Which makes me think the fun might not rest in where you are, but rather who you're with.
I'm starting to think I married the right guy - the one who brought his own copy of Marcel's Conversations on our trip for his spiritual reading, the one who has no interest in going (with me or anyone else) to Europe or even Canada, the one who hates travel but accompanies me all over the place, the one who makes hot dogs in an airport and last minute drugstore gifts into things of beauty. . .
So, full disclosure - we're living the dream, but it's not quite as picturesque as I'd pictured it would be . . . it's simply joyful because it's filled with love, and I wish the same for you!
We're home safe and sound, and I went to my holy hour today and prayed there for another couple who will marry tomorrow, Andrew and Michelle. May they celebrate many anniversaries together, may their quiverful accompany them on some of their dates at least, and may their future be filled with hot dogs as tasty as the ones from Hudson Booksellers in Sea-Tac!
To top it all off with a pinch of glory, before me in church today, just in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, was a gorgeous flower arrangement containing 7 sunflowers! The arrangements before the Divine Mercy Image and Sacred Heart statue, and before the Blessed Mother, were full of sunflowers too! In my hands was my favorite book after Conversations, a book on Therese of Lisieux and Marie of the Trinity by Fr. Pierre Descouvemont - not the copy at home (that was at home!), but a new-to-me copy that arrived in the mail today, sent by my friend Amy (not the newly married Amy, but the many-anniversaried-Amy) who I am thinking was just a pawn. She's a sweetheart, so it was fully in character for her to send me a book she thought I'd like - but she didn't know this is my 2nd favorite and just what I needed today! Thank you, Amy! Thank you, Jesus!
So a quote to end my full disclosure, and then our prayer. Let's see what Therese and Marie (her novice) have to teach us . . . I think I know, but I'm going to let the Holy Spirit help choose. Here it is, His choice (like the hot dogs!) -
Marie of the Trinity is telling us what she told a friend in a letter:
"There is a very big mistake in your letter, and it is necessary to correct it as fast as possible, because Therese would never have tolerated it. You say, 'It's so sad to continuously hurt our beloved Jesus.' Never do the little souls like ours, filled with good will, hurt Jesus! Oh, how this truth gladdens the soul! Even in this life the soul is made to taste an anticipation of heaven. I am asking my little Therese to make you understand this."
And now, little soul who reads these words, you are wondering, slightly troubled, "Should I order this second favorite book of Miss Marcel?" and I'm glad you asked, because I have such a good answer.
No, not necessary. Marie is just telling us what Therese told her, and who do you think is telling us the same message (and many more) now that Jack Keogan has been so kind to translate his words (and Jesus' words) into English? Why it's our Marcel! If you feel compelled to buy a book today, I put my money (or yours, I guess we're talking about now) on Conversations. After all, if you have a copy already, your sister or your husband or your mother or your daughter might not! What about your parish priest? Your next door neighbor? Your godchild? Marcel Mania, that's what we're about here - and I may forget just about everything else, but thankfully I haven't forgotten quite yet that Marcel is the cat's pajamas!
To get back to that full disclosure, though, you don't even need to buy Conversations. I'm glad to keep giving you passages here (there are plenty in the past posts to keep you happy till the next Marcel moment), there's the podcast over at Catholic Exchange, and heavens, there's Marcel himself hovering near you (invisibly of course) just waiting to teach you everything he knows. He's here now, telling me to finish up with the prayer already! Alright, little brother, don't worry about anything anymore ever . . . and let's follow his example and not worry any more either! Everything we need is contained in the prayer we're about to say together, so let's do it, and let God do it . . .
Draw me, we will run!
P.S. The sunflowers were from my heavenly friend Jon, of course. He sent them to remind me of his nearness, and because he had extras. While I've been occupied with hot dogs and sunflowers, Angela's been busy with Bread and Roses. Bread to feed the hungry, and roses to nourish souls athirst for beauty. Thank You, Jesus, for sunflowers and hot dogs, roses and bread, angels and Angeline!
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