Travelin’ with the Oldies…Another Imperfectly Perfect Tale

We’d been on the road for what felt like hours. Queen blaring Platinum Hits from the car speakers with occasional outbursts from our road guide, Weazer the Almighty Waze Voice.

“Stay on this road for 30 minutes then turn left.” ” Careful, car on the side of the road ahead.” “Keep right, then stay in the left.two lanes.” “Cracker Barrel at the next exit. Take it. You need to eat”

OK, our handy dandy speaking road map didn’t actually say that last thing. But it wouldn’t surprise me if one day it could! Technology knows no bounds, does it? There’s no reason for me to believe that one day our cars won’t automatically pull off at the nearest restaurant when it detects its passengers are in need of nourishment!

We were hungry , though, having been on the road a sufficient amount of time to need food and drink. After noticing a billboard advertising a decent place for grub at the next exit, we took it and began looking for the tell tale white chicken in the red circle marking our stopping point. But then Weazer pipes in and tells us we need to turn left at the next light. That didn’t seem one bit right, but we had been obedient to her directions all day and saw no reason to stray from her guidance . Traffic was horrendous as it is most every where on a holiday weekend so scooching into the left lane was no simple task!

We ended up missing the turn we were suppose to take and ended up in a shopping center parking lot. But that was OK. Surely the restaurant we were looking for would be in this general vicinity. Because you know, Weazer wouldn’t lead us astray and all that!

But no sign of the white chicken in the red circle anywhere. Frustration was mounting and we were getting H A N G R Y !!!

Then like a little birdie whispering in my ear, it hit me. We had exited to get food, but we hadn’t told Weazer to change our destination. We’d just said it out loud. And so far, this particular technology doesn’t have ears and it couldn’t hear us. So faithful Weezy had been rerouting us back to the Interstate we had just exited! Her one and only task was getting us to our resort in Myrtle Beach! But since we were so tuned into her guiding voice AND we were delirious from starvation, we didn’t clue in to the fact that we hadn’t aligned our need for food with Weazers need to tell us exactly where to go.

Once we realized what had happened, we started cracking up at ourselves. Oh my!! Being 50 something certainly has it’s hysterical moments!! We did end up getting back on the Interstate and found a place to eat at the next exit. And when that voice came over our speakers again, telling us to get back on the designated route, we just looked at each other and started laughing all over again, telling this electronic leader NO!! WE WILL NOT FOLLOW YOU WE’RE GETTING FOOD THIS TIME!!!

Aren’t we adorable? Bless our hearts!

This “senior moment” has had me thinking about things over the past few days. There’s more than one marriage moment to share out of this story of our laughing together at ourselves. And they are things that I’m certain have helped get us to now.

Moment #1…Find the humor in every situation! Laugh more!

Oh we’ve had stages in our lives when we growled at each other more than we even cracked a smile in the other’s direction. We are both married to an imperfect person with the capacity to drive the other bonkers!! So before anyone reading this thinks all we do is laugh and be hysterical, know that truth!

In fact, it wasn’t too long ago when I realized we were taking just random stuff way too stinking seriously and we needed to lighten up and laugh together more. Just being mindful of that turned things around again. The faster we can find the hilariousness in any given situation, the better we feel. Laughter is just good medicine…Proverbs 17:22 assures us “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Y’all, as we get older, we don’t need help in the drying up of our bones. The suddenly new aches and pains and stiffness in the joints gets real!! So no crushing of the spirit …..just a big dose of cheer please !!

The little hats are funny! But they’re not as hysterical as me trying to dance….which happened shortly before this picture. There’s no photographic proof of how hilarious my dance moves are but I’m certain that if any of my adult kids had been present, they would’ve been adequately embarrassed!

Moment #2…Some times in life (and in marriage) we need a redirect!

On this traveling day, we were obviously very tuned in to the voice of the Waze chick. So much so that even when we veered off course to do something of our own choosing, we followed her re-direct. It didn’t matter that we didn’t think she was leading us to an actual restaurant! It was just important at that moment to be obedient to the voice coming from our car speakers!

In the course of our 25 years together, I’d be lying if I said we have stayed on the right track and done all the things perfectly and never veered off course. It would be more truthful to say MARRIAGE IS TOUGH!! There have been times when we have totally sucked at it! There have been times when we wondered if we’d survive till the next anniversary. But one thing we have done well…in the midst of every single trial , we’ve found our way back because we let God take the reins and redirect us to the proper path.

Every. Single. Time.

And quite frankly, that is the biggest reason I’m even sitting here able to write these little blog posts celebrating our grand and glorious silver anniversary! So my biggest advice to young marrieds, old marrieds…shoot ALL the marrieds… is this. Let God be in control. Period! If you stray off the path of a great, healthy marriage and think you can find your way back by your own power, rethink that. It was your own power that got you off track in the first place! Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of You; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

When God’s voice has been the loudest. When His voice has been the one we allow to guide us. Those are the times when our lives and our marriage has flourished. The more closely we follow the path God sets before us , the better off we have been. I could go on and on about this because it’s probably the most important marriage thing we’ve done. But that could be a post of its own.

Moment #3…Sometimes it’s OK and even beneficial to change the way you normally do things.

Now this is a subtle point in this imperfectly perfect story. Maybe you picked up on the fact that this little excursion was to Myrtle Beach and it was on Memorial Day weekend. We had planned this short getaway to the beach months ago. At that time, we were just looking forward to a holiday weekend with our toes in the sand as we listened to the waves crash to shore. We are certainly a couple who loves just chilling on the beach and not bothering with much of anything else!! What we didn’t know when we booked this long weekend trip was that Memorial Day at Myrtle Beach has a long standing tradition. I’m not sure why we didn’t think about the fact that this South Carolina beach town has hosted the largest African American Bike Rally in the United States for the past 39 Memorial Day’s!! This is an event that has hosted crowds as large as 400,000. That’s a lot of bikers folks !!! Now we could’ve braved the crowds and just headed to the beach as planned. But we felt the need to keep the crowd around us a bit more PG rated than what we encountered when we simply went to pick up some groceries!! And since I like to keep this little blog of mine PG rated as well, you’ll just have to imagine some of the things we saw while we were out and about.

So we didn’t do this beach trip like we normally do. We could’ve let disappointment rule but instead we chose to embrace this change in the norm and enjoy ourselves. What we discovered was this new plan was good! We had a short walk to the massive pool area at our resort where a nice, comfy lounge chair awaited each of us. There was always an inflatable pool ring ready to carry us down the Lazy River. The drinks were plentiful and the music was cheerful. The people lounging around us provided us with good conversations. We didn’t have to go far for a snack or , most importantly , the bathroom!

What a great weekend where we learned there’s more than the normal way to enjoy a beach trip! Getting stuck in our ways can be oppressive and we don’t even realize it . It can be a joy to be “an old dog doing a new trick”!

So be encouraged today to not take yourself so seriously that you can’t find the cheerful things God has placed in your day. Be encouraged to make God’s voice the loudest in your life and in your relationships. And be encouraged to do old things in new ways.

Until next time…

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Tales from an Imperfectly Perfect Union…Part One

As My Man and I quickly approach our 25th wedding anniversary, I suddenly felt that nudge to celebrate that fact on my blog. Because a 25 year marriage is something to celebrate and talk about and share stories from. It’s something to honor! Not because we’ve done the past 25 years so perfectly and y’all will learn so much from how we’ve so grandly done marriage. But sorta the opposite! We’ve been so IMPERFECTLY perfect at most things over the past 25 years that someone is bound to see a bit of themselves in us and think “Shew! I think we can make it too!” Because as lovely as marriage is, it’s just hard at times.

So I’ll start from the beginning…because why not?

Valentines Day 1994 found me drinking a glass of champagne with a ring in it. Because I’m NOT the romantic one in our relationship, I had actually forgotten this detail of our engagement . Shocking, right? How could I forget any details of my long awaited engagement? Even though I longed for this moment when My Man would finally pop The Question…for real this time…I was probably so exhausted from single momming our seven month old son and my two young daughters that this memory likely got caught behind night time bottles, diaper changes and homework !

Hey wait a minute! Back up a second!! Hold please while I rewind this a bit…….

Late November 1992 found me not drinking a glass of champagne. It found me drinking nothing but water. Because I was pregnant. And not married. In the early 90’s, being unwed and pregnant wasn’t as hip and socially acceptable as it is in 2019…at least not in my church going, Jesus loving, God fearing mind. As a 29 year old divorced mom with two young children, I was still not fully grasping how big and deep and enormous God’s love for me was. So while I fully accepted and already loved the baby I was carrying, I felt shame for doing things backwards. I knew I needed to be married…and soon. So when My Man and I digested the news that we were going to be parents together, it was just sort of decided that we would get married. No grand gesture of a proposal was made . There wasn’t even a ring. There was just the decision that we’d get married over Christmas break. We invited my family out from Texas and we’d have a small, intimate ceremony…somewhere. But it didn’t happen quite like that.

My family did come for Christmas that year. But it was mostly to help me lick my wounds from the broken engagement that really never happened in the first place. My Man wasn’t ready to get married. And while I saw ALL the reasons TO be ready to tie the knot, somehow he was able to see the wisdom in not getting hitched right then and there simply “because we had to.” He had no raging hormones coursing through his body at the time to make him feel the false urgency I was feeling! Pesky old hormones!!

Sometimes God tells us “Not yet”. He stalls us with a “holy hold on” because HE sees the big picture! And He simply loves us too much to urge us down a path we’re not quite ready for. There was so much for us to grasp and learn in the journey to the day when the love we had for each other was true and real and not forced because we had to. There was so much God in the journey that got us to that Valentine’s Day in 1994 when I almost drank my engagement ring in a glass of champagne!

We trusted the journey and in the process we learned a valuable life lesson. One we’ve clung to many, many times in our 25 years.

WAIT ON THE LORD!!

Isaiah 40:31 tells us “They who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint”

If we had run ahead of God and gotten married too soon, I can only imagine the added heartache we would’ve endured. We both feel certain we would’ve ended up divorced after just a few years because we would’ve married for the wrong reasons. If we had gotten married too soon, we would not have built up the strength to endure the inevitable hard times. We would’ve fallen short of making our marriage fly. We would’ve grown weary of doing the right things because in the back of our minds, we would’ve always been doubtful that we had even started with the right thing.

Our marriage is certainly a mix of questionable decisions mixed with some excellent ones. Whose isn’t? But I have to say that NOT deciding anything in the heat of a moment and truly waiting to hear from God has been one of the excellent things… something we’ve gotten good at. We may have gotten off to a slow start but God took that…our humanness…and He made something beautiful.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11

I have more to celebrate and I’ll do that here over the next many weeks leading up to our big day. So until my next tale…