27 years ago this date fell on a Sunday. We both attended church services that morning, then afterward separated, not to see one another again until we were both in the church that afternoon for legal and liturgical recognition of a relationship that had begun on a September 21 some 11 years earlier.
This evening Leaves on the Current and I will have a quiet celebration.
In some ways we are both surprised to be at this point.
As is true in many relationships, we have had our ups and downs, some serious.
Neither is as sprightly or energetic as we were when we officially began our life together that Sunday, a day that continued with a reception at a historic mansion in the Virginia Piedmont, a quiet first night together in a bed and breakfast in a building dating back 200 years, and with a honeymoon that included a week in French Polynesia.
And yet ....
As I reflect in midday of this 27th anniversary, perhaps because of what we have gone through, including the loss of her mother, both of us seeing siblings have marriages dissolve, my retirement from then reentry into teaching, health issues for both of us, it seems to me that at least from my end I am finally beginning to understand the real meaning of love, of commitment.
I am far from an easy person. I am shy yet an extravert, someone who lacks social graces, someone who at times swings wildly from exuberance to depression and back again. I am insecure in my gifts and my own worst critic.
Through it all, through now 38 plus years together, I have been sustained by her love, and realize that my own capacity to love has increased greatly because of our time together.
We have been together for 2/3 of her life, well over half of mine.
We have been married for almost as long as the time I had lived before that first fateful September, when we encountered one another at a train station.
I still have the suit I wore on our first date, 9/27/1974. She still has her wedding gown. We are both of different size and shape then we were then. I am also gray, with a receding hairline.
Somehow that seems to matter little.
There is solace and more in simply being in the presence of one another.
Now it seems important to end each phone conversation and each day with three simple words: "I love you."
I am blessed because I am loved.
I am ever more blessed because I am - still - learning how to love, to give it, to accept it.
27 years seems like long time, but the memories are as if it were yesterday.
To my beloved, thank you with all my soul.