As I write this post I'm waiting for Carrie to get home from work. Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of a judge signing paperwork making us parents of two amazing kids, and today marks our 15th wedding anniversary. Just a couple of months ago we celebrated the fact that Carrie had reached the 5 year mark after surgery and was "officially" cancer free. Carrie has a birthday coming in a few weeks and then less than a month from today I turn 40. It's a big year around here.
Looking back to where my life was 16 years ago I never could have predicted the twists and turns life would bring.
I knew the first time I met Carrie that I was going to marry her. It was April of 1999, and we met for dinner one evening after work. We had met online and were getting together just as friends since we lived so close. At the time neither of us was looking for a relationship, but in talking with so many couples over the years that's usually when God decides we are ready.
We both had busy work lives and finding time to get together was hard, but convincing Carrie that I was worth making time for was harder. Somehow I was the first guy this amazing woman had ever dated. Less than a year later we were married, and in the words of Jerry Garcia "What a long strange trip it's been".
The fifteen years since have had amazing highs and heart breaking lows. From the low of learning we couldn't have children to the high of adopting the two most amazing kids we could ever hope to have call us Mom and Dad. From the torture of Her cancer diagnosis a week before Christmas to the joy of successful surgery and being declared cancer free five years later. From the pleasure of seeing our kids grow from the broken kids they were when met them to the amazing Man and Woman they have become. The loss of family members to disease and friends to time and distance. Through it all I have known the comfort and love that only she could bring to my life, knowing that God brought her to be the perfect anchor for me in the storm of life.
Over the years I have had friends get married and have families, and heard numerous sermons preached on marriage and family by some amazing speakers. I have heard people complain about traditional marriage vows that included "honor and obey" in the wife's vows and not the husbands, and even my Mother had questions about the words staying in our ceremony. When Carrie and I talked about it she said something that has never left my mind. I don't even know that she remembers saying it that night, but she said "If I had any doubt you would die for me like Jesus did I wouldn't be saying 'I do'. If you can keep your vow I can keep mine."
I have no idea what I did to deserve anything that life has brought my way, but as a great Rabbi once said to his student "I don't ask God 'Why Me' when the good things happen, what right do I have to ask 'why me' when the bad things happen?".
The only answer I need is that God brought her into my life 16 years ago because he knew I couldn't have made it to where he wants me to be without her.
I don't think we are there yet, but I know we are closer than we have ever been.