December 14, 2004

Eyes Open for Pennies

It was only yesterday that it suddenly dawned on me: I'm actually married! I know, four months into the game is a long time for something that serious to settle in, but ... somehow, it makes sense that the bigger the change, the longer it takes to figure out. And since it's marriage, it's going to take the rest of my life to figure out. But at least I realize that I am, in fact, married.

I'm not sure what specifically made me come to this rather remarkable (if somewhat rediculously obvious) revelation. It might have been Liz's comment, something along the lines of "sometimes I still can't believe we're finally married." Or it might have been grocery shopping. But honestly, I think it's actually the fact that we put up our first Christmas tree and decorated it last night.

It started on the aforementioned grocery shopping trip, this past sunday. As it turns out, Wegman's really does have just about everything - including Christmas trees. Who knew? We sat there staring at a Christmas tree display wondering "can we afford our own?" Obviously we decided that we could. It's nothing much, it's just a 6' fake (politically correct: "artificial") tree with the lights already strung (which is really great cause neither of us have the time to string lights yet).

We got home and Liz insisted that I set it up while she did something else (maybe made food, I don't remember). But after I'd finally wrestled this thing into place, we ooh'd and aahh'd over it. Then we realized we had no extension cord with which to plug it in. So of course, Monday comes along, and Liz manages to scrape up a bunch of decorations from home. One trip to target later (and the small argument about which colors to use), we have some garland and various ornamental balls and such things. And a new extension cord.

But that night was the coolest night for me. We got home and spent three hours figuring out how to make the decorations we had fit onto this pathetic little tree. And about 12:15 we sit down on the couch to admire our handiwork. And it was gorgeous ... the tree had totally been transformed into a work of art. I think we stared at it until like, 1am, and yet time didn't feel like it passed. At all.

It was then that I realized that this - our marriage - was permanent. And I couldn't have been more pleased.

I'm reminded once again of my friend Rob's question: what did any of us (our little trio of guys, that is) do to deserve such wonderful women? Mike's right; it's a lot like Grace. We did nothing to deserve this, and probably a lot of things that would make any lesser god punish us with all he had.

But not my God.

I've been blessed beyond expectation, beyond my wildest dreams. My wife is only a small part of that, but she's one of the ways I can see my blessings in everyday life.

I couldn't help but think about the tree and its transformation. One minute it's this semi-pathetic looking lump of wire and green stuff, the next we plug it into the wall and it starts to glow. And then we decorated it, turning it into a work of art rivaling the trees our parents have put up every year for our whole lives. Feel the metaphor coming on? Be transformed, and let your creator make of you a work of art.

We had a sermon at church a few weeks ago that made a rather interesting impact on me. Our pastor gave everyone a penny and then told a story about how excited her kids got to find a penny on the sidewalk every so often. She told us to keep the penny we'd been given to remind us of the pennies of happiness that God gives us, even in the hard times. Sometimes He gives us rolls of pennies, sometimes just one or two. But you have to keep your eye peeled for them.

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