Now that we live in Colorado, we climb mountains. Climbing mainly consists of picking up one foot and putting it in front of the other one. You take a thousand, two thousand steps, no matter how hard you breathe and how much your legs ache, and eventually you reach the top. This is the law of mountain climbing.
The view from the peaks we climb is similar to the view you can get from a chair-lift ride—but oh, what a difference! Perhaps that is why I feel so good about this day commemorating 300 months of marriage. For some couples, marriage may seem like a chair-lift ride; you and I, however, have climbed a mountain.
Our second year together, when the word divorce slipped into arguments as the ultimate trump card, we agreed to disarm that power. We promised never to wield the word as a threat or a weapon. I am glad. At times, we have both considered the prospect of life apart. We have gone to marriage counseling. We have paid our dues. But today, this day, I do not wish to dwell on those stormy times. What strikes me above all—and I say this with humility and gratitude to God—is that out of all the struggle, great good has come.
I have watched over the years as you have grown larger. Wherever we have gone together—away from the provincial South, a scary move into downtown Chicago, travels to other continents—you have adjusted and grown larger. Yet here is what I love about you: as you grow larger, you make no one else grow smaller.
For 12 years in Chicago you headed a program that served senior citizens. Each night I heard the stories. The woman who slipped in the tub and lay there three days before someone heard her cries. The aging prostitutes, disowned by their families, who faced death with no one on earth but you to mourn ...1
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