We get to the Athens Central station early but already it is filled with travelers. We look around at crowds of Greeks on their way to Thessaloniki or other stations along the way to celebrate Nativity.
A train security man, zealous for our safety, periodically walks the yellow line along the platform, presumably shouting at all of us in Greek to not, under any circumstances, walk into that yellow line. We dutifully comply.
We stand and I look at my husband as he leans against a pole, our train tickets in hand. I smile, overwhelmed with a sense of great love for this joy-filled, fun, adventurer that I have married. He grins back and I capture the picture.
It is this picture and event that I remember as I wake up to our 35th wedding anniversary. Though it is six months after the train ride, it captures what this year and our married life has been. This is us – the grin, the train tickets, the sparkle of adventure that we see in each other’s eyes, the luggage, the chaos, the jostling, the unknown.
35 years ago we said “I do” to all of this and so much more. Would any of us say the words “I do” if we knew what was ahead? Perhaps that is the beauty and mystery of marriage – that despite all the mistakes, all the failed marriages, all the hurt that can happen, there still emerges this splendid hope that two people can combine intimacy with individuality and make it.
My faith tells me this is more than a man-made institution, that there is a spiritual mystery beyond understanding that undergirds these fragile vows made in the beauty and unwrinkled days of youth.
Though promised in innocence, they have matured in the fire of life and emerged from that fire scarred but worthy. Worthy of celebrating, worthy of announcing, and worthy of remembering and looking ahead.
It was a year ago that we made the seemingly radical decision to upend our life in Cambridge and step into the unknown. Many of you have followed us on that journey and its unexpected ending. The year has been a paradox with some of the most difficult situations accompanying some of the best. The year mirrors marriage – the good, the hard, the sad, the lonely, the loss, the bargaining, and the acceptance. Unexpected joy and unanticipated grief met together, and we are still reeling in the aftermath.
But today, we forgot all that in a near perfect celebration.
We spent the day with our oldest daughter, an example of the grace that comes with adult children. She is here with her young family and we spent the day in sunshine and the relaxation that only a perfect summer day in Rockport can bring. The wonder and excitement of a three-year-old and the miracle of a seven-month-old punctuating our time with appropriate exclamation marks of joy.
We completed it with a balcony dinner of clams and linguini made by our daughter, accompanied by a perfect white wine.
As the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean, God’s stamp of approval came with the sunset and a sky painted in blues, greens, purples, pinks, and oranges.
This indeed, is us.