It’s a pretty safe bet that Gerri did not expect we’d spend our 38th anniversary on a golf course.
How could we have known that…when we exchanged our “I-will-love-you-and-honor-yous” on a sunny-and-humid Saturday afternoon nearly four decades ago?
My own affection (affliction?) for the game is well-documented. But Gerri? Not so much. She gave golf a shot, back about 15 years ago…and found the whole enterprise just a tad absurd — anything but an enjoyable way to spend a summer day. So suffice it to say “let’s get a tee time” – that particular phrase would not appear on her Top 100 list of romantic invitations.
And yet, there we were Friday…posing for pictures on the 10th tee box at Pevely Farms, marking our special moment with a bit of silliness before I continued my round.
It all makes sense in a broader context: My buddies and I were playing in a charity tournament, benefiting LaSalle Retreat Center—Gerri’s place of employment. So she was “on duty” as tourney photographer…while I was more or less goofing off.
An oddly appropriate scenario, I suppose, to reflect what has often been the reality of our marriage: Gerri playing “Martha” to my “Mary”: Taking care of the practical things, the necessary things…while I pursue some of life’s gossamer amusements.
Thirty-eight years on, what occurs to me is this: It’s an effective and marvelous match, one that blesses me deeply. And I think Gerri would say the same is true for her: We have grown to enjoy our ham-and-egg roles in each other’s lives. Like well-paired partners in a golf scramble, we complement each other’s shots…and somehow manage to turn in a decent overall score.
Still, there’s a bit of mystery to it: How could we have known, 38 years ago, all the pesky little details of the life that was about to unfold before us?
We didn’t know, not in any substantial way.
We had to step out of the boat, each of us – individually. And both of us, together.
Like the apostle we encounter in today’s gospel, we had to take more than a little something on faith:
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
Looking back, I can easily see how Jesus has been there through it all – beckoning us. He’s certainly been there in her, reaching out to lift me up from stormy seas. I hope He’s been there in me, for her, too.
In golfing terms, you might say it’s turning out to be a rather decisive score – a match we’ve won, 3-and-2.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.
I had a wonderful time playing yesterday. 38 years ago Gerri took you for better or worse and she sure missed several of your hole saving shots into the greens. Your partners took you for better and we are all better for the experience. Thank you.