I often use our “tea room” (3-season enclosed balcony) as a refrigerator during the winter months, because it gets very cold but doesn’t freeze (or so I thought). In particular, to extend the life of any flowers I received for Valentine’s Day or our anniversary (if I’d been good 🙂 ), I used to tuck the vase into bed each night on the tearoom table and then bring the flowers out the next morning—all bright and cheery again—to adorn our dining room table. Alas, with temperatures diving below zero and the wind chill making it insufferably colder, I woke up one morning to a shattered vase (my favorite) and completely iced flowers. I have since learned to pay closer attention to the weather forecast and have avoided any similar disasters this winter…although my favorite vase has been lost forever. 😦 On the opposite side of our house (the sunny side) is our “garden room,” which is actually a year-round part of our home, and I use it to give the family (especially Alan, who always longs for sunshine) a sense of summer even in the winter. Unfortunately, our garden room can become extremely warm in the summer, and it requires constant attention to keep the plants healthy and blooming. One hot July while I was gone for a couple of weeks tending a new grand baby, Alan forgot to water the plants in our garden room, and by the time I returned, the garden room was in ruins. Most of the plants were severely damaged, & some of the younger, more tender ones were totally dead & couldn’t be revived. I was totally devastated! I remembered the dreams we’d had when it was first built, and how hard I’d worked to make the room look just beautiful for Alan. And, I was terribly frustrated that he couldn’t remember to tend the flowers for just 2 weeks. Well, like my failure with the frozen flowers, some plants were never replaced, and it took a long time before our garden room became all beautiful again, but it is! This is how it looks this morning…all bright a cheery, despite the snow outside! Alan and I just celebrated our 42nd anniversary, and in some ways we’re happier than ever, but it’s been a long, hard journey! As I was working in the garden room this morning, I couldn’t help but think about how marriages are like flowers. We can freeze them to death or burn them out just by failing to pay attention and provide the care they need. At some points, both partners will fail, and there will be irreparable loss, but it doesn’t have to be the end. As long as there’s life, there’s hope. May we keep our eyes and hearts open, learn to forgive, and keep working hard at making our marriages all they can be “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health…(in cold and heat 🙂 ) …until death do us part!
“Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6).