I was filled with anticipation. Husband and I were off for a weekend away to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, albeit late. We spent our actual anniversary with daughter in Disneyland which is another story (Losing It!).
We wanted our weekend away to be special. Sadly, we both forgot about our anniversary on the day. I was reminded by a Happy Anniversary text. We both laughed and made excuses, but it left me feeling sad and a little unsettled. We have had a tough go of things and I had great hopes of this weekend rekindling some of what felt lost in our relationship.
We debated about where to go. Since we had just spent a small fortune at the Happiest and Close To The Most Expensive Place on Earth, we wanted to keep our trip in driving distance. We narrowed it down to either our house on the mountain at the lake or the charming town where we got married.
We decided since we go to the lake often, we would go back to where we were married. Husband made all the arrangements, tickets to the theater and booking the cabin where we spent our wedding night. I was excited and yet a little hesitant. A little voice kept whispering, “Go to lake”, but we had made the decision.
We set out on a Friday afternoon, stopped for lunch and made the beautiful drive on what felt like an unseasonably warm and perfect fall day. The trees were amazing and we had great conversation. We decided to drive through town first before checking in to the hotel to scope out places for dinner, remembering places we had been and loved.
As drove up the quaint street and searched for our favorite haunts, surprise and sadness descended upon us. It had been seven years since we had been in that sweet town filled with so many wonderful memories. The town had clearly been hit hard by the recession. Places we remembered were not only out of business, but vacant. Places we had shared the beginning of our lives together were gone.
We decided to make the best of it and seek new places to make new memories. We headed for the hotel to check in and inquire about the town, places to eat, and things to do. The hotel was comprised of three buildings and some cabins nestled in the foothills among gorgeous pine trees. We pulled into the driveway and stared dumbfounded at the neglected pool, the almost empty parking lot and the sign on the first building that read “Senior Living Center”.
My sadness deepened as we continued down the drive in search of the office and arrived at the second building to see its parking lot too was deserted, clearly all that remained of the hotel. We turned the corner where we expected to see the restaurant and courtyard with the waterfall where we got married, but it was dark and vacant.
The folks in the office were very understanding as I inquired what happened, choking back tears while explaining we were there to celebrate our anniversary in the place we were married 10 years before only to find it desolate and depressed. We took the room key and entered the cabin. It was unchanged, literally. Where it once was quaint, it now looked rundown with faded carpets and drapes and dripping faucets.
All my fantasies about rekindling some of the magic in what had been an amazingly romantic setting and reliving our cherished experiences were shattered. It felt ominous, maybe even a little foretelling. My heart broke and a sense of dread and paralysis took over. All I could think of is, why? It was supposed to have been the perfect place to make things better. I had it all worked out in my head. In that moment I felt forsaken.
The truth is you can’t go back. I put my husband and myself in an impossible situation, thinking we would somehow relive our memories and go back to where we were. We are not the same. The place certainly was not the same. The only thing that stays the same is God. I took my eye off the Lord and rested it on a fantasy. Husband is not God. It is not his job to make it all better. Husband can’t, but God can.
I need to stick to truth and not fantasy. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus, moving forward down His path of promise not backwards down our own path of what was that will surely lead to discontent and despair.
Today “I (will) set the Lord always before me. Because He is my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8
So I don’t leave you hanging, our weekend turned out lovely. We turned the key back in and headed for our oasis on the mountain at the lake. We didn’t talk about what was, we focused on now and ahead. We were renewed.