Today is a super special day! You see, it’s my anniversary…OUR anniversary! The day that Gary and I said “I Do!!” It was 39 years ago that I wore the beautiful dress that my mother had made, every stitch lovingly sewn by her hand. 39 years ago that I walked down that aisle of the brand new Johnston Chapel Baptist Church, the first bride to do so in our new sanctuary. 39 years ago that I joined my hand with Gary’s and we embarked on our new life together.
Doesn’t it sound perfectly romantic? And it was!! It was because we planned it that way. Every bride plans her wedding day to be exactly as she wants it to be. We’re watching our daughter, Andrea, plan her wedding to Kyle now. It’s fun to see their special day taking shape.
No bride and groom plans for things to go awry on their special day. Sometimes things don’t go as planned on the big day, but the plan is for all to be as perfect as possible. Perfect plans, planned with perfection…the dress, the tuxes, the flowers, the attendants, the food, the music…each checked off the list as the plans take shape.
Fast forward 39 years, to this morning.
I had a plan for this morning. I was going to sleep in on this Saturday morning. My normal wake-up time is 5:30. That’s a.m. So on a Saturday, I love having no alarm go off. I love waking up when I wake up, which is never real late but any time past 5:30…A.M.!!…is late for me.
Part of my careful plan is to even set the coffee-maker alarm for one hour later than normal. Ahhhh…luxury!!
Therefore, you can understand my irritation when our old Great Dane stood up this morning in our bedroom where he sleeps, and halfway shook himself, and woke me up. I knew…I just KNEW…what I was going to find. Jackson doesn’t get up off his mattress on the floor very easily now because he is so old and stiff, but the one time that he will get off his bed is when he either has to go potty, or he already HAS gone potty.
This morning it was the latter.
And it wasn’t even 6:00 yet…which means it was five something…too close to my normal wake-up time for this Saturday morning when I had so carefully planned to sleep late!!
And yeah, there was poop involved, on the floor and on his bed.
I did finally go back to bed after the clean-up, but it just wasn’t the same.
Happy Anniversary day!
Dear Gary had given me flowers yesterday evening, and this morning they were joined by the sweetest card. Then later, coffee cups in hand, we walked down to our little Mulberry tree with Jackson sniffing all around, and we picked mulberries. It’s so us, this simple kind of thing. It’s the simple life that we love in the place that we are. I was planning breakfast on the patio with the birds and me and Gary, then making his favorite cheesecake, and on I went with my planning.
Then the back door opened. Gary and I saw Aaron coming across the yard. He was early to get up, as well. We both looked at each other, knowing what we each were thinking. Aaron joining us wasn’t really in our plan for this morning quite yet.
Aaron wondered what we were doing. He was unimpressed with the fact that we were picking mulberries. He wanted us to be back in the house, where we could see that he had his coffee and where we could listen to him talk. But we continued picking our mulberries while Aaron walked back to the house, a little in a huff because his morning wasn’t beginning as planned, either.
Soon I did fix our breakfast, where Gary and I were once again joined by Aaron. He was still a bit huffy and on edge, but bacon helped. I thought it was quite ironic that he was wearing a shirt that said, “No Bad Days.” HA!!
I wish it could be that simple, but with Aaron it’s just not. A day not going as he so carefully plans can set him on the wrong path for sure, and Gary and I are dragged along as well. But breakfast, and joining me as I watered the flowers, and going with Gary to the hardware store, did a world of good for Aaron…and for us…and so our day has been going along just fine.
Not perfect, though, as we would like to plan for our anniversary to be. But it’s us, with Aaron, and it’s really what it’s supposed to be.
39 years ago, in that pretty church with all our plans coming together, I would never ever have dreamed of having our 33 year old special needs son still living with us. It’s not that we don’t love Aaron. It’s just that having ANY child with special needs, and all that this life entails, would never have been in our master plan.
But our life, with Aaron, WAS in God’s master plan for us…because He is the Master of our lives. We’re not. It really is that simple.
Yet not that easy, on many days and in many ways. We have questioned and struggled and been angered plenty of times over these years. And still, God reminds us that our plans are not always His plans. He tells us that He knows the path that we take, because it’s the path that He put us on. It may be a path with suffering and pain, with questions and even anger, but it’s always with God beside us and under us and all around us.
I’m thankful that God also forgives us, because we don’t do this very well on some days.
I looked at my cup of tea this morning as we ate breakfast on the patio, Aaron included. My tea was in a wonderful mug that our friend, Terri, helped Aaron make for me while we were out of town last week. He wasn’t sure that he would like painting, as he calls it…and he still isn’t sure that he liked painting. But he is very proud of that mug. He even opened the running dishwasher the other night when friends were over so that he could show them his mug that he made for Mom.
I will treasure that mug. I will treasure our Aaron, even on the trying days, with God’s strength.
And I will treasure the careful plan that God has made for our life, including the trying days, with God’s strength.
Our life began with a plan, and our life will end with a plan.
God’s plan! The best plan!!