Hallmark tells me that the modern day gift for the twentieth anniversary is platinum. Now, I don't know about you, but I really knew nothing about the actual metal, so I looked it up. Among other things, platinum is 'a dense, malleable,ductile, highly unreactive, precious, gray-white transition metal. Its name is derived from the Spanish term platina, which is literally translated into "little silver".'
Some of those words easily define the past 20 years: "precious", "transition". But...
"In materials science, ductility is a solid material's ability to deform under tensile stress; this is often characterized by the material's ability to be stretched into a wire. Malleability, a similar property, is a material's ability to deform under compressive stress; this is often characterized by the material's ability to form a thin sheet by hammering or rolling."
Yes. Oh, yes, my friends. Kyle and I have been stretched and rolled thin, re-formed, --at times, deformed-- stressed. What couple married for 20 years hasn't been?
We have co-created 10 souls. Ten immortal beings who will forever be our most precious and permanent gift from God and to His kingdom.
Three of those gifts forever reside with Our Lord. As painful as it was to lose them, we completed our task as parents and got them to Heaven. Those three, I don't worry about. They are platinum. They are saints.
Seven of those gifts currently reside with us. They are maniacs. Beautiful, talented, loving, funny, demanding maniacs. They are platinum, as well. One day, they better be saints, too.
When Kyle and I became engaged at the tender age of 19, we met with a substantial amount of objections from various family members and friends. Not all, but many more than we anticipated. I say this not to "rub their noses in it", but as a reminder to myself and to all of you that not one of us can ever know what the graces of God's sacraments can do in our lives.
As confident as Kyle and I were in each other's love and in God's plan for us, there was no way we could have known how much we would come to rely on His Grace to follow His Will. There was no way we could have understood how we would have been tested and stretched and rolled. There was no way we could
have known how all of that would make our love for each other and our love for God stronger and more beautiful. And, there was no way that any of those concerned and disbelieving people in our lives could have known any of this, either.
Some days, 20 years feels like 40 years. Some days, it feels like only one year.
Some days, I'm amazed at how we've somehow cobbled together this beautiful life. Some days, I'm amazed that it's still evolving.
If I've learned one thing in the past 20 years, it's this: we aren't finished learning. We will continue to be tested and to grow. We will welcome new joys and face new struggles. And, guess what? I want it to be this way!
That's how the metal transforms. That's how it shows what it can be. That's how it comes more beautiful. That's how it grows stronger. The transformation isn't the beautiful part of the process, though. It's fierce and sweat-producing and difficult. Along the way, you begin to see glimpses of the finished product and it makes you appreciate the effort even more. It makes you willing to keep going. It brings joy into your soul.
So, to my wonderful Kyle: I love you. You are the perfect complement to my insanity. For our children, you are the embodiment of God the Father's love here on Earth. For me, you are the embodiment of Jesus' love for humankind. We always have known that choosing each other was "right", but is sure is nice to see it unfolding so beautifully. I'm glad --so glad-- to have this life with you.
We are platinum.