By Rick Moore
Norman Rockwell said “The view of life I communicate in my pictures exceeds the sordid and the ugly. I paint life as I would like it to be.” Looking back on the twenty-fifth year of my marriage, the memories of that season can be recalled as either a fairytale or a horror story. It all depends on what view of life I choose to tell it from.
Anniversaries have always been a big deal in my marriage. We even celebrate the day I proposed. We call it our “proposal-versary.” The date is easy to remember because of the lyrics of a song by Earth, Wind & Fire, “Do you remember, the twenty-first of September?” Yes it is cheesy, but I proposed on the twenty-first of September. Fast forward twenty-four years and I’m still as cheesy as ever.
For our twenty-forth wedding anniversary, personal finances were so tight I had to get creative. There was no way I could afford to buy the twenty-four karat gold jewelry I wanted Catrina to have in celebration of our twenty four years together, so I did the next best thing. I purchased twenty-four baby carrots from the grocery store and wrapped them in a gold bag. Get it…twenty-four carrot gold! My wife Catrina didn’t think it was funny either. She said she would forgive me, but only if our twenty-fifth anniversary was truly special. By truly special, that meant a trip to Hawaii, Aspen or Europe; not a day at a theme park. No worries. There was a whole year to plan the perfect getaway.
A few months before our twenty-fifth anniversary, Catrina’s scoliosis became so bad the doctor said she would need complete back reconstruction. After a challenging surgery which took over ten hours, the doctor admitted he made a mistake and would have to go back for a second surgery. The second surgery went well, and she was doing well physically, but the medical bills and weeks off of work were taking a toll financially. It was looking like the big time plans for the perfect getaway were not going to happen. Being the loving and understanding wife Catrina is, she suggested we do something nice but simple. We settled on two days and one night at Disney World.
As we entered the Magic Kingdom the morning of our twenty-fifth anniversary, a cast member asked if we were celebrating anything special that day. We told her it was our twenty-fifth anniversary. She then asked a question that was more shocking than when I asked my wife to marry me. She said, “Would you like to be the Grand Marshals in today’s parade?” I thought you had to be an astronaut, the chairman of a fortune five-hundred company, or the MVP of the Super Bowl to be the Grand Marshal of the parade. They gave us special Mickey Mouse Ears with our names embroidered on them, free pictures, and so many gifts we were a bit embarrassed. One minute before the gate opened for us to lead the three o’clock parade through the Magic Kingdom, Catrina squeezed my hand and said, do you realize it was exactly twenty-five years ago to the minute we were married. At that moment I looked up into the heavens with a wink and a thankful heart full of gratitude, knowing the Lord took my mediocre plans and turned them into a truly “magical” memory. The evening ended with our own personal Disney chief (at no cost to us) and the projection of our picture plastered onto Cinderella’s Castle. That memory will be with us forever.
The 23rd Psalm says “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” But sometimes, goodness and mercy seem to follow so far behind they are nowhere in sight. In such times of despair, I have to remember to look past the sordid and ugly parts of life and choose to recall the times our cup is running over with blessings.
Rick Moore is Communications Pastor at Destiny Worship Center.