I'm trying harder this year to be thankful throughout this season. The holidays are always hard for me and to top it all off, my birthday, Christmas and New Years all fall within about 2 1/2 weeks of each other. Each represent the passing of another year and another holiday season with no children to buy gifts for. But this year, while I may feel sad at times, I don't want to dwell on that. Instead I am choosing to be thankful for another year of life, health, marriage and time with family.
For those of you who don't know, I offer massage therapy at Brookside Senior Living Community and I love it! The conversations I am able to have with the residents there can be truly amazing. I was talking one day to a sweet woman who lost her husband a few years ago. She was telling me about how she and her husband started a family immediately after getting married and always planned to do their traveling, and just enjoy their time together, after they retired. Unfortunately, he got sick and they never had those years.
I can't help but think of my own marriage when I think of this conversation. This may sound depressing, but Elias and I have always know that I will most likely outlive him. It's not something I have thought a lot about until recently after reading a book written by a woman who lost her husband to cancer. She goes into detail about his disease, all he went through, and ultimately his death which was caused by tumors in his lungs. I couldn't help but think about how long Elias and I have together in this world. The average life span for a person with CF is mid-30's (he's 28). Thankfully, since Elias has a mild case, he has been told that he should easily live twice that long. However, as with any chronic illness, things can change quickly and really, none us know how long we have to live.
I say all of this to come back to my original point. This woman never had those years with just her husband. I however, already have. We have had 5 years of dating and 5 additional years of marriage to be just us. 10 total years of experiences, long car rides where we can just talk about anything and everything, movies and cuddling on the couch. 5 years of waking up next to each other and being able to just enjoy each other's company without having to make breakfast for hungry bellies. 10 years to grow stronger as a couple and learn how to have fun as a couple. We've experienced different towns, cities and countries and have had experiences that some can only dream of.
We don't know how long we have. We could easily be robbed of our retirement years as a couple, but we have had these amazing years to be thankful for. I have spent so much of our marriage pining for a child instead of being grateful for what we have and embracing every year of new experiences and stronger love. This year, I am choosing to be thankful for the time we have had and the time that is to come. I am choosing to be thankful for the times when we can sit on couch and just enjoy each other's company. These years are a gift not to be taken for granted.
There is a song by Laura Story called "Blessings", and the title of this post is a line from that song. I have had a really hard time understand the "mercies in disguise" during this "trial", but last night it came to me when I was thinking about the time that this woman didn't have with her husband and how we will always have had "our" time.