so much more than affordable.

It’s late.  Past eleven.  Everyone else is asleep, the last school night before Christmas break.  I am still up, writing, and waiting for the college girl to come home.  She just called.  “Hey dad, I’ll be home at 11:30.”  A gift without the need of unwrapping.

Last night Aly and I celebrated our twenty-third year and one day of marriage.  Sunday was too full to work in a tired date. Aly began the day on a Sunday School panel seated by our priest.  Aly is a School Psychologist, a job title until last Friday largely unknown in the national vernacular, and we would all rather it had stayed that way.  The Sabbath day ended with a youth group Christmas Party chaperoned by me, because, YOUTH is the funnest gig going at church, and I like it when church is fun.  Teenagers angling for the best White Elephant gift had never appeared so sacred.  They were all six years old once.  Thank God they made it this far.  Nothing is promised.

So against the best advice of Dave Ramsey, we went out on Monday night.  Not that he has anything against Monday, but he has built a career on debt free dining.  We went anyway, not as a riot against financial peace, but rather because we would have been sorry if we didn’t.

And forgive the comparison, but I thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s turn of the phrase “Cheap Grace vs. Costly Grace.”  Again, no disrespect intended, but these twenty-three years and a day have cost us something.  The conscious choices we have made were not the sum total of decisions for the sake of ease and financial gain. To not celebrate would be to disregard the value of the pile of moments that have gotten us to here.  It’s been work.  We still haven’t made it to the easy part.  And what is the fun of celebrating something that requires neither sweat of brow nor toil of hands?  “And David said to the owner of the threshing floor, ‘we will not offer a sacrifice which costs us nothing.’”

As I left for work this morning Aly told me she discovered a leak beneath our bathroom sink. I was immediately taken to the words of Jesus incarnate in the one called Erma Bombeck:  Worry is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do, but never gets you anywhere.

I exhaled worry and disgust for a moment.  Just add it to the list of required repairs.  Dammit!  And then I inhaled grace.  Grace to splurge on dinner.  Grace to see a solid marriage being built one repair after another.  And Grace to look back at this year of tired dates to see a Divine blueprint for a good marriage.  Maintenance required.

So there is a bucket beneath the p-trap, and a fan drying out the cabinet floor.

And I had lobster last night, she the Cobia.  And with wine, the meal was 134 dollars.  “Eat that Ramsey!”

Sucks for the Lobster, but it was goooood for the Anniversary couple.

Sucks for the Lobster, but it was goooood for the Anniversary couple.

12 thoughts on “so much more than affordable.

  1. Dave Ramsey does not know everything. You and Aly, however, are a pretty smart couple. One warning from a gal who could be your older sister: The line where you write of the work of marriage and you haven’t made it to the “easy” part. God bless you and I hate to be the one to tell you, but there really aint an easy part (and I’m using aint in the Wyoming vernacular.) Familier, yes. Settled, yes. Less chaotic, yes. Easy, no. Love your posts. Pretty sure I’d love you and Alyson, too. Aunt Mary in WYO

    • Mary, we will gladly confer “favorite aunt” status upon you even though you are bursting our hopeful bubble. Actually, we know too many successful married couples to believe in the myth of easy. you are only confirming that which we already know…anything good is never easy. Thanks for reading. WE love oour Wyoming fan base!

  2. I love it. Thank you. We are going to tell Ramsey to eat it tomorrow for our 15th anniversary, too. So, I’m really feeling the camaraderie. But, um, gross on the itch comment.

    • Way to go…you two have earned your celebration. Happy anniversary. We evidently cast such a love light in the restaurant the table next to us bought me and Alyson a drink before we left.

      About the itchy comment, I can’t claim it completely as original. The Bare Naked Ladies, bard poets they used to be, had an alternative lyric to a famous song that went like this: “anything itchy must be chaffing, anything chaffing must be red. Anything red is important…”

      Do you listen to the Bare Naked Ladies?

      And, I will be thinking of you next week. My dad is flying in, and my sisters family will be here, so it will be special, and memories will be our gifts. Love you and Matt much.

  3. I love this post. Love. It. Katie and I celebrate our 15th tomorrow. We, too, will stick it to Dave’s philosophy to mark the occasion. Some things are just necessary and worth it. Love you guys.

    • Matt, you could take down Ramsey with your feet, and a rope between your teeth. And you should do it. Ya’ll have fun at dinner tomorrow night. Drink, Pray. Eat. Love. Or however that goes.

  4. I look forward to the opportunity to read every time you post something!!! Althoght I am only on almost 7 years, I pray that I can have the same beautiful marraige that yall have established!!

    • I am reminded of the quote from CS Lewis about Christianity. I’ll apply it to marriage, but it still fits: “It aint easy, but its good.” And lest you be thrown off by the word “aint,” I know for a fact Clive Staples used the southern vernacular. “Aint no problem the two of us enjoying a beer together,” he said the J.R.R. “Unless we are trying to be a deacon in an Baptist church in America.”

      But I digress. Thanks for the kind affirmation. Truly.

      Seven years is a true accomplishment. Some say it is accompanied by an itch. I’ve lived through three. If you scratch it too much it will become red, and then inflamed, and then infected.

      Words to live by. You dig, Jason?

  5. Excellent, excellent! I love this Kevin, and rejoice with you and Aly on a beautiful marriage! I may share this one with your permission!

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