Monday, September 9, 2013

And I Love Her

Jamie at Bow River Falls, Banff
The greatest blessing of this whole blessed sabbatical is time with my beloved, Jamie Strong. We have thoroughly enjoyed eleven days in western Canada with minimal interruptions and little, if any, scheduling. It has been a tremendous opportunity for us to just be together. No agenda, lots of space for laughter and conversation. And the mountains are an unbelievable backdrop for this precious time.

We have our differences, of course. Like music. Our rental car has Sirius XM, and she gently found for me the Real Jazz station that features Charles Mingus and Freddie Hubbard. After about 400 miles of that, she discovered the 60's station and the 70's station. The family rule has always been "whoever drives will pick the channel." After hearing Karen Carpenter croon yesterday as we crossed the continental divide, I have secretly pulled out the CD of Oscar Peterson's Canadiana Suite which I will submit after I assume the car keys today.

Ten years ago, we married on a Sunday afternoon, pledging our love together and our commitment to raise the four kids that we share in common. The raising is drawing near to completion. With three out the door and the fourth now fully employed, we can proceed with our duet. Many of this past week's conversations have bubbled up into plans for renovating spare bedrooms, making repairs and changes around the house, taking new opportunities for socializing, and the plotting of future traveling adventures. We truly love it in the Big Mountains. And there's a lot of the world we would like to see together.

As we conclude this trip and move toward the end of the sabbatical, we have decided to stay in A Bear and Bison Country Inn in Canmore, just south of the Banff National Park. We spent six nights here on our honeymoon, and joked with the innkeeper that we haven't had an extraordinary breakfast since then. It's great to be back, even for a night, and highly recommend it to all travelers.

Right across the street was a site for one of the terrible floods this past June. A twelve-foot ditch was created by a roaring stream. It ripped out trees, sidewalks and pavement . . . yet you would hardly know it by the quick repairs. A massive reconstruction of the creek bed is just outside our window, a reminder of the awesome power of nature and the resiliency of human courage.

Jamie remarks on it, but I am thinking of something else. It takes great courage to give and receive love to one another, and to commit to love's growth in your shared life. She has shown such courage, and she invites it from me.

I love her very much, and I cannot imagine traveling anywhere important without her.

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