July 7, 2006

stairwell accompaniment:Elton John

We subtly celebrated our first six months of matrimony this past weekend. In the car where we perpetually find ourselves en route. The rain took us off the beach and on umbrella-covered walks through small-town Michigan. One particularly eclectic shop housed a book that brought much joy to our travels. Josh’s twenty-six years, my twenty-three years and our collective six months were gently set with humility and wonder as we read aloud to each other from “If I Live to be 100”. A book compiled by Neenah Ellis, former producer for NPR, on a radio series she did in 2000. It featured interviews with men and women who have been alive 100(or more) years! Fascinating, emotional, full of wisdom and perspective. Enchanted, we breathlessly continued to read to each other until, much to our disappointment, we had finished. Stories from those whose parents had served in the civil war, whose parents were slaves. One who could recall the earthquake of 1906, one who had retired before the Beatles even crossed the Atlantic! Tears welling up in our eyes as we hear one man describe losing his wife after nearly 80 years of marriage. To the old, process is everything and they showed is that love is being here now. Testimonies of resilience and perseverance. We stood before an entire generation of wisdom and memories that will soon only be seen in emotionless, faceless, personality-less text books.
Throughout the interviews Ellis asks many of the centenarians about “the secret to a long life”. Each had a remarkably different answers. One said “love”, another “companionship”, or “art and music”, and a few simply said “optimism”.

I’ve not given much thought to my life as an older adult, never considered how many years I’ll live. As a believer, the consequences of death are not daunting. Josh and I teeter toward here-and-now tendencies. The extent of our longterm agenda can be seen on an oversized black chalkboard hanging in our living room and a schoolroom map on the wall of our bedroom. Crayola-bright chalk scribbles indicate a rough-sketch timeline the spans the next two to three years. This colorful plan, coincidentally, culminates with “GLOBAL DOMINATION”. Our map is littered with metallic stars indicating locations from the “list of places to visit US/Abroad” we collectively compiled in the first week of marriage. It is always a joy to convert a silver-starred “hopeful” to a blue-starred “CONQUERED”.

The possibility that we are not only standing at the dawn of our marriage, but truly still stand in the onset of our lives was both novel and deeply enchanting.

It was a comfort to me that one of these centenarians admitted emphatically that she’s lived to be over 100 years old “one day at a time”.

today i am enjoying:
warmth without humidity
fresh flowers from the market for $4
jello and coolwhip
new music
my aloe plant
our ceiling fan

This week we took Jon Black out to celebrate his college graduation and Air Force commissioning. We regrettably missed these events in the midst of our travels. We ate Korean food and only used chop sticks. We enjoyed custard. Shared music. Played with sparklers. There is only one Jon Black.


One Response to “”

  1. Jim Barger said

    Way cool those centurians…I’m just glad to be a jubileer(100/2). Jesus is our “Jubilee”…Michael Card. I haven’t had jelly and coolwhip in so long…gotta go make some. Love, Dad

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