Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. Fourteen years ago my wife and I walked out and perched next to each other on life’s precarious wire. It seems like ages ago. We were just kids back then. We hadn’t seen much of the world. Hadn’t experienced much. Hadn’t sowed our wild oats, as they say. (Probably didn’t even know what wild oats were.)
By getting married, we were just following the path laid out for us. It’s what was expected. For us, you were to go to college, find a mate, and get hitched. There’s no hanging out. Not long-term dating. Certainly no living together.
And there’s no questions asked.
And so when I walked out on the wire 14 years ago, I just assumed that life on the wire would be smooth…relatively, at least. There’d be some strong winds and storms, of course, but they’d surely never rock the line hard enough to knock us off. They only knocked you off if you gave them a chance to do that. I mean, I assumed that’s why it happened again and again in my family. And well, we just weren’t going to allow that here.
But then life got real. Real hard. And real shit hit the real fan. The bliss turned to blues and stability turned to shakiness. The wire got really slippery.
And that’s when tough questions came. Questions that flip your life upside down and cause you to look at things from the other side. To see the unknown and ponder the unthinkable. The kinds of questions that should have been asked 14 years ago. And while they came late, I’m glad they came at all. They were needed and, by forcing vulnerability, created opportunity for greater depth.
Today, I know just how thin the wire is, how sensitive it can be to the dips and dives of life, and how top-heavy it can feel balancing and counterbalancing on top. And today I find myself with a greater sense of gratitude that I’m even still perched.
I know not everyone can say that. Many friends and many family members merely wish they could be perched beside their significant other still. Others hang on now for dear life. And still others—for reasons outside their control—only hope to one day even have an opportunity to approach the wire.
May I be more thankful each day for the privilege of sitting where I sit and by whom I sit.