If we stop, we can hear the seconds passing us by...one by one they tick away. ..
Just this past weekend we celebrated my parents 40Th wedding anniversary. It was beautiful as it was celebratory. Still I felt as if I were hurrying around so much at times I didn't get to sit and breathe. I felt guilty, as if I were not spending enough time with our guests. Most celebrations are like this though. How many times do we plan a celebration and actually take it all in, see everyone? Usually after all the crowds have gone home, the decorations have been put away and the food is cleared do we finally breathe.
Do we not live our lives just like this? Hurrying around, planning, and tidying up our days? We can be merciless in our attempt to get things right, perfect in every way. But then something happens, changes our plan leaving us with the option to fall to pieces or to laugh. It kinda reminds me of my own wedding to my husband Johnny.
We were married in April and planned an outside ceremony. I was so determined about this I forgot about two things in the month of April here in Texas: rain and wind. Fortunately we were blessed and the rain stayed away. But... yes there is always a but isn't there? But no plan ever goes as expected, right? Our wedding was no different. Johnny was as handsome as he was nervous on our wedding day.We were both so young with our whole lives ahead of us. How could we know what lay ahead?
Thirteen years ago, I walked down the aisle. What a day it was! Truly it really was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, my dress fit just right, my hair was up, and our guests we all there.. Well all with the exception of one. The first in a line of the unexpected was my mother in law was so late our ceremony has to be delayed. Then the music player kept going in and out. Finally our candles kept blowing out due to the wind. No one bothered to tell me this and honestly I was so nervous myself I didn't even notice. That is until it was time to light the unity candle.
All of a sudden Johnny pulls out a lighter. Seriously in the middle of our song, just before we picked up our candles, Johnny produces a lighter and lights the candles. I am not sure why this struck me as so funny but it did. I could not stop laughing, and in turn Johnny began laughing. Before long everyone was laughing. The tension was gone and we were all relaxed, and not at all on my schedule. By the end of the ceremony, we gave up on the music and just walked back up the aisle. After all did the music really matter so much? We were married. I was now Johnny's wife, the man I loved with all my heart. Johnny, my new husband, the man who in the coming years would stay by my side, love me and support me even with the loss of a breast.
At the end of the day this was the lesson for me, to sit back and not to sweat the small things.So it is no surprise I see my life with cancer and now as her survivor this way. Believe me my plans did not include a waltz with the beast! I had a plan of my own, a schedule and a timeline of how I wanted my life to go. Kids, a home, vacations, savings, health, retirement and the list goes on. Let me say this now, life is not a planned event! Sure we can try and sometimes we do succeed with things going just as we want them to go. But mostly life is about detours and excepting the changes they bring.Sometimes the worst turns can bring us the most joy.
During those times we can feel like a failure, I know I have, as if we are not capable. But I see things differently. In my life I have found it is indeed our failures... the undoing of our perfectly laid plans where we begin to see our true capabilities come to life.
I cannot say every detour is not painful, because many are. I can vouch for!this personally! But in step, in each twist and turn I have found another part of me I didn't know was there before. A mouthful I know, but so true. Adversity is not chosen by us, but still it is allowed to sneak into our lives. I will not say I am ready to jump up and down excited over the thought, but I do know I am a better person for it. I am not the same woman I was before, nor have I lost the girl I was when I married Johnny. I have just grown in both spirit and mind. I have learned to let life press forward, to breathe even when I am afraid, to love unconditionally and to forgive without grievances.
I dream, research, and hope. So yes, I still have plans. I have just learned to let them go when life moves me in another direction. I am a survivor, not because I am still alive. No, I am a survivor because I have chosen to live in the moments I am given, for as long as I am given.
I do hope to live long enough to celebrate 40 years of marriage, to slim down, to see all my family in one place at one time or just to walk down Disney's Maine Street with my children again. Yet these things may come and go or they may fall away. In the end, my life and the way I live and love cannot be planned. What is truly important is how I cherish the time I am given, perfect or flawed. For life and all it's imperfections is what makes the experience so sweet.