Several weeks ago I was in Fred Meyer shopping with my bffs for a new shirt to wear to Ladies Night at the gun store. Yeah, we know a wild and crazy Thursday night when we see one. We did duck face pictures with movie star sunglasses and acted like giggly freshmen girls.
Cuz we’re like that when we’re out on the town and forget we’re in our forties and that between the three of us we’ve got eleven kids.
Then the sweetest most precious song came on over the speakers and had me near slobbering tears while I picked out the perfect black shirt. It was so beautiful right there under the fluorescents, I swore to myself I would remember the lyrics and download the song as soon as I was outside. I threw an iTunes card on the belt, paid for my goods and set out to search for my new favorite song from the back seat of my girlfriend’s mini van.
I couldn’t find it.
I searched every single word I thought I’d heard over the tinny loudspeakers. But they got all jangly in my head like the bracelets we had been trying on and before I knew it, my results window was bringing me back to bebop 50’s music and then some Bruno Mars.
I was so sad.
Because you see, in just seven months, if I am still on the earth, I will be celebrating twenty years of marriage to a man I thought I’d never marry. I told him so, in fact, about twenty-two years ago. Sat right down on his lap at a party and told him he was so NOT my type I’d NEVER marry him. He was too nice to me, too good to me, too sweet of a man for me to ever consider marrying. Some date I was huh?
And then, when I DID marry him, I’m sure there were folks who thought we’d never make it much past a few years together. Heck, there were times when WE thought we wouldn’t make it much past a few years together.
We didn’t know what forever was…back before we understood what forever meant.
The sweet song said “I love you more today than you will ever know, how sweet this life, I’ll never let you go….”
And it reminded me of all these years and all these miles and all these tears and all these laughs and all these sad times and all these babies and all these flaws revealed and all these forgivens granted and all these late nights and all these whispered prayers and all these gifts given and all these joys and all these dark times and all these light times and all this time…
…all this time together.
It made me think of all these near twenty years and right there in the dressing room I was reminded that yes, this life IS sweet. Marriage is sweet. This man is sweet.
And together, we’re sweet.
And while every single moment hasn’t been sweet, every single year of these twenty has been.
But I couldn’t find the song. I didn’t forget about it, but after coming up empty in my intense search to find it, I quit looking.
When, almost a month after the trip with my girlfriends, I dragged my kids through the shoe department of the same store for our annual new-shoe extravaganza. I happened to be standing underneath a speaker in the sneaker aisle three or four minutes after we started shopping and there, right there in my ears, popped a sweet little melody.
I strained to listen while the sweetness of the song started to stir my heart just like the first time I’d heard it. Unbelieving, my chest jumped as I scanned the ceiling to see where the speaker was located. Could it really be the same exact song?? In the same store?? Did they play this stuff on some sort of loop? But now? RIGHT now, THIS second, THAT song just happens to be playing??
I found the speaker and strode urgently over to it, leaving my kids standing in front of the tennis shoes and hissing to them, “shhhhhht” when they loudly asked my back…
“Mama? What are you doing??”
Those sweet words. There it was. I never thought I’d find our dressing-room, twenty-year song and there it was. Right out of the blue it had come to me while I was helping my girl find a pair of Chuck Taylors.
“And dreams are worth the chasing…Love is for the making…and I’ll love you more than you will ever know…How sweet this life…I’ll never let you go…Nothing compares to holding on to you…I’ll love you more this I confess to you…
…I confess to you.”
There it was.
I pulled my iPhone right out of my purse and googled up the lyrics and tapped out the name of the song and the artist in my note pad. I would not lose it again.
There it was. Right there in a song piped out of the dingy ceiling at the department store.
When our Creator says for this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh…He meant it. What a gift.
And I confess to you:
Marriage has hard times and marriage can have dark times. But marriage is sweet and marriage is precious and nothing…nothing compares to holding on to the one you chose to spend your forever with. When you told God, when you told your spouse, that you were in it until death, you confessed too. You said I’ll never let you go. You clasped hands and claimed dreams are worth the chasing…love is for the making…how sweet this life.
You said it.
All the days of your life. If you have that person with you, that is your sweet life.
Hold them close…they may not always be with you.
For as long as you have them, never let them go.
I’ll never let you go.
That’s my twenty year song.
That’s my forever song.
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine… Song of Songs 6:3
Click the YouTube link to play Ryan Huston’s, This Life