Reader Warning: Mushy blog post ahead.
The best vacation, yet! Yep, that’s right. Our 25+ year anniversary trip to Maui with our family, that’s what I’m referring to.
Eight of us snorkeled, hiked (sort of – through a bamboo forest where we got lost), swam, soaked up the sun, ate DELICIOUS food – fresh sea food, oh-my-goodness – rested, laughed, luau’ed, and the most special event of the whole trip? Renewing our vows to each other, proclaiming our devotion and love to each other, again, for the rest of our lives.
It was at sunset. It was perfect. We got all dressed up (as much as you do in that tropical paradise, called Maui), then piled into the jeeps and took off for the beach. Before we left the house, I told Rob, “I’m kind of giddy and all nervous inside!” “Me, too!” he responded.
Arriving at the site we had picked out, we walked holding our flip-flops, hand-in-hand, along the coastline to the place that was perfect. Lava rock formations encircling us, the waves coming in from the afternoon tide, a perfect sky casting the most amazing coral hues as the clouds danced with the fading sun in the sky.
Our son-in-love, Jakob, performed the ceremony. His words poured joy into our souls. We glanced around at our loved ones – Robbin and Jake, Bethany and Dwight, Elise and Brian. Yes. This was what we wanted. To proclaim our love and our determination to live out the rest of our lives loving each other, no matter what, in front of these people, our loved ones, near and dear to our hearts.
Jake had, unbeknownst to us, gathered tributes from others who we love. Good friends and family shared how our marriage and love for each other had inspired them. Wow. We had not realized the impact we had made, through God’s grace in our lives, to others. Thank you to all of you who sent the tributes in, you blessed us so much!
As I gazed into the love of my life’s eyes, on that moment, at the beach, surrounded by those closest to me, I melted all over again. This is the man I fell in love with. This is the man I have weathered storms of life with. This is the man I laugh most with. This is the man who truly does complete me. I am seriously the luckiest girl in the whole wide world. With twinges of gray in our hair, several more wrinkles added to our faces, bodies that have been affected by gravity (it happens to everyone!), our hearts were as young as they day we started out this life together. We each wrote new vows to each other and through teary eyes, we shared those vows with each other. Then came the kiss – yes, a bit uncomfortable for those watching probably, but hey, we’ve still got the passion, baby!
My prayer for anyone reading this blog post is that you, too, will have the blessing of being married to your best friend. That you will have a long life of joy and happiness with the one you love. That you will never give up in the storms, but that you will grab a hold of the one you love, for dear life, and wait for the storms to end, together. Be stubborn, together. Persevere, together. And when the storms are over, laugh together, you did it! You endured, together!
What’s the secret? Man, I wish I had THE perfect answers. All I know is that both of us love God more than anything. And we love each other more than anything. With God’s grace, and a whole lot of laughter, stubborn-ness, and a commitment to strong communication, we’re still together, stronger than ever. Hard times happen, they will for us, still, but I do know that after all we’ve journeyed through, together, we can face anything.
Rob Kelly + Carol Ann Kelly = true love, forever.