February’s date is a memory and March’s date has yet to take shape, but in just two months of tired dating, I have already come to some conclusions.
Conclusion number one: I am solidly middle aged. I am not sure of the “how” or the “when,” but nevertheless, middle age is upon me, and there is nothing I can do about it but cry just a little. Take our last date for example. We paid $98 to go to a French cooking class, something I would have NEVER done in my early years of marriage. But aside from dropping a Benjamin for a Lobster recipe I will never use, I actually had a conversation with a man in the class about herb butter.
Let that sink in. Herb butter.
Dates in my earlier years always concentrated on the final outcome, the waning moments before sleep. At least that is what I was always concerned with, and if you are a man, and an honest one, you will admit the same. But in my middle age, enter holistic conversations about…herb butter.
In my twenties or thirties I would have told you I would rather dig lent from my toenails than have an intelligent conversation about the subsequent bouquet that is created when herbs are mixed with butter and lobster. But not now. Now, in middle age, I talk about herbs and butter. And lobster. It’s depressing, and, or, maybe illuminatingly refreshing. I’ll tell you in my fifties. Oh God!
Conclusion number two: when you aren’t so focused on the end result of the date, the end result is better. Duh. Or, Dang! Took me twenty three years to figure that out.
Conclusion number three: we missed a church event last month for our date…and we lamented it. And THAT felt good. For those who know us well, you know that as former professional religious people, for the past twenty years you could count on one hand the number of times we missed a church function. We went to all of them, didn’t miss a one. At times, our kids were the totality of the children’s department and youth group. In a word: sucked.
But we have fallen in love again with a church home. We have learned much from the Canterbury trail we now trod, and when we realized our date would coincide with Shrove Tuesday, we actually gave pause and almost cancelled Fleur de Lys.
But we didn’t, and I am glad. I think God is pleased with perseverance. I have had a front row seat for dramas of marriage and faith where people I know and love decided for one reason or another to throw in the towel on one or both. For Alyson and me, our struggles with the ordained life have been public, and while we have never been close to throwing away our wedding vows, some days have not brought out one another’s best.
But we stuck to it, these relationships of faith and family. Could have walked away. At times maybe even considered it. But like I said, God is pleased with perseverance in all our relationships.
And missing church sometimes is more than okay.