When life catches up with the lyrics we sang

    4

    April Fool’s Day crept up on us and marked 59 years since my Sweet Al and I said, “Yes, I do.”
    What did I say yes to? Was it to have and to hold, for better or for worse? Maybe it was for richer, for poorer or in sickness and in health. All seems enticing enough. But I think I just said “yes” to love.
    Over the years, I have worn a total of four wedding rings. The gold became too thin and broke on my original ring. I had my wedding ring soldered to my engagement ring to make it wearable. I lost the center diamond on another ring and, again, two others became too small.
    I am sitting here with a naked ring finger. I am toying with the idea of hanging all of my rings on a chain around my neck and calling “that” married. I even thought about having all of the diamonds and gold combined to make just one nice ring, but that doesn’t feel quite right.
    My Sweet Al reminds me that a ring doesn’t make me married; it’s the commitment of the heart. Ring or not, I am still married. I have heard people say, “We fell out of love with each other, it didn’t work for us.” I propose that it takes a lot more than work and love to stay with each other.
    I didn’t know at 18 what 80 would look like. So, today, I am finding out what I really said yes to all those years ago. The firecrackers and hot pursuit have turned to embers and a gentle nod. The throbbing heart now signals high blood pressure, while sleepless nights are soothed by a CPAP machine. Sharp vision has turned dim as two once-independent souls serve as a crutch for one another. Fortunately, two once-independent hearts have since blended to one.
    There has been a great amount of wisdom received along this journey. I recently heard singer and songwriter Bill Gaither say it best. “We are older, not so polished, and have been through the good and the ugly. Our lives have finally caught up with the lyrics that we sang years ago.”
    So true, and I echo his words. The lyrics we sang, believed in and lived through over the years have become tried and true. We have walked through trials and heartbreak, laughter and sadness. Now more than ever do we understand what it meant when my Sweet Al and I first said, “I do.”
    Radio talk show host Paul Harvey said it this way: “The highest compliment I have ever received is when the girl of my dreams said ‘yes.’”
    From Alfred Lord Tennyson’s famous poem called “In Memoriam A.H.H.”: “I hold it true, whate’er befall; I feel it, when I am sorry most; Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
    Final brushstroke: How do two young people in love really think that they can make things work until death do they part? We certainly didn’t know. But as our days together come full circle, the highs and the lows and everything in between prove that we have caught up with the lyrics we sang when we first fell in love. Truly, as the smoke has cleared and all has leveled out, it is better to have loved than never to have loved at all. In fact, the highest compliment we could give and receive, saying “yes” to all we knew, and to all which would still lie ahead.
    Readers’ comments
    Send your comments to betty@bettyslade.com.