It wasn't much, but it was something beautiful. More beautiful than I had ever dreamed.
Two college kids just having graduated from university who fell mad into love, we didn't have a lot of money for a super-fancy wedding, but we had enough to make a day and evening we would remember even ten years later, today, on our tenth wedding anniversary.
It's a memory that almost didn't form, though, because we thought to ourselves maybe we should jump a plane, invite our closest people and get married on a beach in Hawaii.
But we couldn't do it; more than we wanted the sunset vows of forever and the sand between our toes, we wanted our people, all of our people to share our day. I know you really wanted to go, but you knew what mattered more to me ...
And when the whole thing was said and done, when we had vowed our love and loyalty before God and family and friends and we had danced until our feet couldn't dance another step, we were glad we didn't go to Hawaii; we were glad we stayed with our people. And we reasoned, we could always go to Hawaii for our honeymoon ... well, a very belated one after we'd worked for awhile and saved some money.
We were going to make it there for our anniversary; remember how your dad even bought us books? I laugh now thinking about those guides. We'd scoped out which island we wanted to visit. We looked at flights. We talked about what we'd do and see. We saved money.
And then two little pink lines on a pregnancy test told us that we'd be celebrating our second wedding anniversary with a newborn who wanted to party all night in our apartment instead of on the beaches of that far-away island we'd dreamed about for the past two years.
Life happens while you're living, and ours was no different, was it? I remember that we thought -- why pause now with one child? Why wait to add another to the mix? Because we were mad in love with each other and mad in love with that baby boy and knew we'd fall mad into more love with another little person ... And where are we going to put these people anyway, we asked. So we bought a house and made it a home instead of buying plane tickets to take us away from home ...
Years passed, as they do, and you began dreaming aloud, saying you wanted to whisk me off to celebrate our ten-year anniversary on those very beaches we'd thought of when we first said we wanted to do forever together.
But instead of planning our ten-year anniversary, the honeymoon we always dreamed we have, we began planning a trip that would take us around the world to bring home two very special little girls who have become our daughters. Because, you know, we went and fell in love again. Not just with each other or the children we'd brought into the world through our love, but with a crazy-amazing God who had a plan much grander than we dreamed. We fell in love with Him, and His heart for caring for the least of these and with two little ladies who we just cannot any longer imagine life without.
Instead of booking airfare to Hawaii, and you were just so close to making it a reality this year, we are instead booking plane tickets that will soon take you back around the globe to make this family theirs forever.
And I have to tell you, here we are again. With our people. And it's so much better than Hawaii.
So this isn't actually a story about Hawaii. But rather it's a story about what's happened instead of Hawaii.
Tonight, on our tenth anniversary, we laughed uproariously around the table as we played mom-and-dad-wedding trivia, we roasted marshmallows around the fire and watched the chaos that ensued in the aftermath of sugar, snuggled with each of the littles before bed, stole a longer kiss in front of the sink and curled up in bed next to our oldest daughter to pray before she drifted to sleep.
As we watched the star-reflections on her ceiling flicker from the lamplight on her dresser, I said I thought this view was better than the one we would have caught in Hawaii.
And I meant every word I said.
There's no place I'd rather be in the world, than in the thick of this adventure, right here, right now, than being with you, with our people.
I love you. Happy tenth anniversary. May God give us many many more, as He's done with everything else in our life.