Valentine's Day was last week, right? It's usually not a holiday we observe with anything special...that is unless you count addressing what seems like hundreds of Valentines cards for all Will's buddies at school...add Micah in this year. But for Gregg and I, we do the customary card and maybe some chocolate, but going out (especially on that exact day) is normally out of the question. "It's too busy" or "We don't want to get a sitter" or whatever. I wasn't expecting anything, so when Gregg mentioned almost in passing that he had rented a snowmobile for a day I almost missed it. So that was the agenda for the day. He set up the babysitter (thank you SO MUCH, Mom and Dad!) and the sled rental and off we went!
Gregg and his family grew up snowmobiling, but I had never been. He's been talking about going for a while now, but it's just never materialized. He finally decided it was time...time to get me out on my first snowmobiling adventure. I really didn't know what to expect and I was pretty excited! That excitement dwindled a little as we approached the lodge. The beautiful day and recent snow fall had drawn what seemed to be hundreds of snowmobilers to the hills. A day full of dodging sled traffic just wasn't what I had in mind. But as soon as we got out on the trail away from the lodge the hustle and bustle, along with the people seemed to fade away.
We were weaving through groves of aspen trees on trails that seemed to be forged just for the two of us. It took me back to our dating days when motorcycle rides were a commonality...just the two of us out enjoying being together. Everything from our normal everyday life seemed to fade and we were just able to take in the beauty of the Black Hills. I could stop worrying about where we're going to send Will to school next year and wonder why that tree grew in that particular way. I could stop focusing on the pain of RA and could start noticing the magnificent intentionality that is God's creation. He did all this for us...so we could experience true beauty and give Him the glory.
Up on top of a summit we were able to see for miles, even with the near white-out conditions up there (the wind was kickin'!). It was absolutely breath taking and if it hadn't been for the weather and Gregg's "this is borderline dangerous" comment, I could've stayed for hours taking it all in. But even down in the lower elevations we were still able to enjoy the beauty of winter. The whole way back to the lodge we flirted with this huge weather system...always seeming to be on its edge. A perfectly blue sky to one side and a looming wall of grey to the other. Just beautiful!
We ended our date eating in Spearfish Canyon with a beautiful view of the limestone cliffs. It was one of the best dates we've ever been on...before or after kids. Over the past year or so Gregg and I have come to realize the importance of getting out alone together. It's not only good for our souls, it's essential for the survival of our marriage. If we don't intentionally set aside time for just the two of us we drift apart, and if we're not careful we become nothing more than roommates who happen to be parents to the same children. Our love tank starts running on fumes and if it finally runs dry...let's just say it's not pretty. If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy...right, guys?
So Survival Lessons from today:
1. Never go snowmobiling unprepared. Up on that summit so close to the edge with those crazy winds and not much protection, I really came to appreciate Gregg's experience. I rolled my eyes when he packed 17 pairs of extra gloves. Then I thanked him for the very same thing after my second pair got too wet and had to be replaced with a third.
2. Never put your relationship with your spouse on the back burner. Second only to my relationship with my Creator, this is the most important earthly relationship I have. If I don't fill up the love tank often, we start to live parallel lives and priorities get skewed. At that point we're not a team anymore...we become individuals. Separate. Divided. I'm so thankful that God brought circumstances and people into our lives over the past few years that have shown us the importance of our marital relationship. I'm so thankful God - and spouses - give us second chances.
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined,
and every city or household divided against itself will not stand."