Right now I'm overlooking the Marina in Hampton, Virginia. Bart is at Annual Conference and I'm working from the hotel room. It's amazing how much work a person can get done when they are not in the office. But you knew that.
We had a great time last night celebrating our anniversary at Mango Mangeaux ... a pretty cool little seafood restaurant here in Hampton with complete orange decor and excellent food. Their Mango Mangeaux Preserves were actually featured on "Shark Tank" if that means anything to you.
Like every other married couple in the world, our anniversary reminds me of our wedding when a quartet of four of our favorite people sang this song (a special arrangement of it that was written by a friend of ours).
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow Love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
The irony of it all is how much this has been what is required to make it through the last 21 years of parenting kids with a history of trauma.... to love where there is hatred, to believe when it seems like it's impossible to believe, to find hope in the midst of the worst kinds of despair, and to look for the joy every day when life is filled with sadness.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
We had no idea when we stood there, committing ourselves to each other, that our journey was going to require that God answer that prayer and teach us to comfort, rather than to seek to be comforted, to work hard to understand and make that a priority above being understood, and to reaching out, offering love to those who had no ability to love us back.
Each year when our anniversary comes up, I am reminded of the song and I pray the prayer one more time, asking that God do it for us for another year. And here we are, still standing, 21 years, 12 children, two baby daddies, two baby mamas, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a daughter-in-law and seven grandchildren later.
If we've made it this far, it looks like God has answered that prayer that was sung all those years ago.