"Happily ever after." I liked that. After the dragon was slain and the princess rescued, after the princess was awakened by loves's first kiss, or set free from the curse of a wicked witch, long after everything was set right and the prince and princess were wed "they all lived happily ever after."
Today, my high school sweetheart and I celebrate 51 years of living happily ever after. Since our wedding day we have learned that the best part of life is not what is desribed in the fairy tale, but everything lived ever after. The short time before pales when compared to the years after the wedding,
Over the past 51 years, my wife and I have learned that life events do not cooperate with a desire to live happily ever after.
- Working one's spouse through college does not necessarily lead to living happily ever after.
- Being church mouse poor and adhering to a strict budget does not square well with the idea of "happily ever after".
- Going to war and returning shot up does not sound like a great way to live happily ever after.
- Neither does bearing a first child while your mate is getting shot at halfway around the world.
- Neither does a cancer diagnosis with subsequent treatment and recovery.
- Neither do hip replacements or pulmonary fibrosis.
- And neither do the myriad other large and small bumps in the road and major and minor crises.
Face it. Life happens.
As I look back over the past 51 years, I realize how much we have been living happily ever after in spite of and through the events above. Living through them caused us to rely on each other. Living through them increased our trust of each other. Events that have torn others apart pushed us closer together. Events that could have pushed us away increased our love.
Living through each event was not always easy. It was not always fun, but it was always life and life lived to the full. And life lived to the full is incredibly rich and satisfying. Life lived to the full makes me happy. Living life to the full is the secret to living happily ever after.
What are your experiences?
I intend to keep living happily ever after.
How about you?