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Do You Have The List?


The question hangs in the air. Do you have The List? We are not referring to: the grocery list, the to-do list, the grudge list, the project list, not even the prayer list. No, not at all.

This List is our Anniversary List. Over the years, a simple piece of paper has become, for Larry and me, a sacred part of our anniversary celebration. It is a chronological inventory of each anniversary, where we were, and what we did to celebrate. Simple, but oh so significant.

One night of the year, every year in June, we STOP and rejoice by reading aloud to each other The Anniversary List. With the passing of years, The List becomes more precious. Slowly, almost reverentially, we focus on each entry, and we remember. 

We recall:

When our children were born, when they graduated from high school
Opportunities we missed, relationships we neglected, friendships we allowed to drop by the wayside
Major issues
Differences of opinion in discerning the will of God, disappointments we determined to face together, difficulties that threatened to derail us
Oh, there have been many: grandchildren miracles, financial miracles, ministry miracles, all supernatural interventions by The Hand of God

We recognize:

Lush years
Lean years
Hurting years
Hard years  
Happy years                                                                                                                                         All      Holy      Years

We acknowledge:

Stick-to-it-tive-ness is essential for a marriage to grow
Both of us still need to learn to listen
Commitment is not an outdated word
Communication is our lifeblood (I am sorry. I was wrong. Will you forgive me? I love you.)
Coffee with prayer is an antidote for almost any dilemma 

And oh my,

We celebrate!

The tenderness of our relationship, 
The gift of our friendship, the gratitude for our family
The joy of fun, the importance of recreation
The value of mutual accountability
The treasure of longevity
The triumph of a shared spiritual pilgrimage
All with the help of The List

The List takes us From-To: 

From Panama City - celebrating in Florida at Captain Anderson’s seafood restaurant
To Vienna - enjoying dinner and a concert

From Kraków - holding hands in the back of a horse drawn carriage  
To Warsaw - stopping for one evening, in the midst of living a double life, to truly be ourselves

From The Black Forest - hiking and savoring Kaffee und Kuchen at The Old Mill
To Budapest - laughing and remembering the breakfast buffet where Larry took a bite of his scrambled eggs and discovered he had just taken in a mouthful of glass

And then there is Anniversary No. 8...

Right in the middle of The List is our pseudo anniversary, Anniversary Number 8. This entry, painful to remember, needs to be acknowledged. 
Why? We went: From - celebrating; To - being too busy to celebrate. Our anemic attempt to try fell short. When we reach No. 8, we just shake our heads and say, “Shame on us."

Eventually, The List comes to an end. Nostalgia has done its nourishing, and we pause to praise and to pray. "Thank You, God. Thank You, Thank You, God."

If you live to be a hundred,
I want to live to be a hundred
minus one day, so I never
have to live without you. 

        -Winnie the Pooh        

The List began 15,695 days ago today, June 8th. When we are asked,  “How long have you been married?", our answer is:

"Not long enough."