We celebrate 16 years of marriage today. Six kids and a whole lot of crazy later, I can say it’s been a fun ride, thus far. We married young and have grown up together in a lot of ways. We’ve made mistakes, done stupid thing, learned a ton, and helped each other grow into better people. Marriage isn’t easy, but as with any challenge, it’s worth the work and effort.
When we were traveling this summer, we had a pretty smooth time of it. The first leg of the trip came without any hiccups to speak of.
And then we found ourselves heading to a camp site in the Sequoia National Forest. We were following a map which, oddly, told us it would take 2.5 hours to travel about 20 miles.
We ignored that red flag and plowed forward.
Before we knew it, we were half way up the side of a mountain, on an old unpaved, un-maintained forest road. It was one lane, straight up, and filled with more ruts and washouts than smooth road. And of course, we were driving a giant 11 passanger van.
It was terrifying.
As with so many situations in life and marriage, we had two choices. We could argue, sweat, and cry or we could rally, work together, pray, and get safely to the top of that mountain. I can confidently say we’ve chosen either of those options in different times of our lives, but that day we chose the latter.
The sun was due to set soon, so we made some quick choices and carried on. Andrew walked a mile ahead to assess the situation, while I calmly removed the children from the van.
If my husband can do one thing well, it’s drive a vehicle. When he returned from checking the road ahead, he calmly traversed that rutted dirt path, while the kids and I followed on foot.
In the heat of the setting California sun, we hiked the rest of the was up the mountain. I was grateful for good hikers and a strong teenaged boy to carry the tired four year old! When Andrew reached the top with the van, he walked back to help us all hike the rest of the way up.
Eventually, we all made it safely to the top of that mountain. And the view was remarkable.
As the sun set, we traveled forward to find that campsite for which we’d been searching. The campsite that led us up that road of insanity.
And, I kid you not, we turned a small corner into a darkend woods and met face to face with a herd of cows. Right where our campsite was supposed to be.
Life can be so weird.
We eventually found a place to set up camp and the rest of the evening went smoothly. The top of that mountain was beautiful, peaceful, and still.
Marriage is a road freely chosen, but sometimes life can make it rutted, narrow, and hard to traverse. In those moments, we need to rally, work together, and depend on the grace of God that all will end well.
When we choose laughter and team work, even the rutted roads can be beautiful. And the view at the top, even alongside a herd of cows, can be breathtaking.
I’m glad we are climbing this mountain together.