Twenty-five years is a good chunk of time.
A quarter of a century.
More than half my life.
It is how long Thomas and I have been married.
Thanks be to God!
Now in honesty, I must admit that Thomas is an exceptional man - a fact which biases my experience of marriage. Long before I ever dreamed that he might like me, I told myself, "I want to marry a man like Thomas Cogdell." I remember clearly that November day in high school when the thought crystallized Thomas was intelligent, creative, full of faith and integrity. He was the real deal, I could tell.
I was right. Even so, these past 25 years have been quite a journey! Many of our years have been full of adventure - travel, moves, ministry. Five years, spread across three different decades, have welcomed a new child into the family. Some years have been happy and peaceful. Others have been stressful. Some have been just plain hard. But I believe we can both say with David, "Surely goodness and mercy have followed us." There is no part of the journey, however dark at the time, for which I am not thankful today. That is grace!
The rest of the post is addressed to Thomas alone. It may not make sense to anyone else, but I offer no apologies. One of the beautiful things about marriage is the shared history of private stories and jokes known only to one other.
Looking over the past 25 years, there are many memories which give me joy, satisfaction, and hope that we will finish this race well. Most of those memories involve other people - dear friends and family, AHOP partners, Antioch colleagues, Wittenberg folk. But the memories of you I treasure most are the ones of us alone, or of us with our children. Walking in Santa Fe, making the moon rise again, folding laundry and watching football, skipping rocks with the kids, falling asleep as you tickle my back. Of course there are other private memories, too precious and personal for a blog.
It is the same way with God, the other lover of my soul. Most of the time my love for God is shaped and proven in community. And yet, there are times He speaks just to me in a language unique to us. It those private whispers to my soul which I treasure most.
Thomas, you have loved me well! I am a different, better person than I was twenty-five years ago. Married to you I move deeper into the mystery of life in the Trinity - a mystery of union and identity, of giving all and receiving enerything. I hope you feel the same. Here is to the next twenty-five!