This month Shelaine and I celebrate 29 years of marriage. “Twenty-nine and thriving” I told someone.
Lady Gaga laments that her man has given her a “Million Reasons” to dump the relationship. She asks for just one reason to stay.
I offer 29 reasons why I stay committed to Shelaine.
We got away earlier this summer.
The road leading away from the island airport was well paved and passed by a stately resort with neat lawns and waving palms. As we drove further, the taxi driver began choosing his path carefully to avoid bumps and dips, and the homes set back from the roadside became simple and livable. After fifteen minutes, as we neared our destination, we saw a sign: Welcome to Paradise.
I smiled. The sign looked hand-painted and sat at the intersection of two humble roads where tin-roofed houses and empty beverage containers crowded its shoulders. But I knew what the writer meant—the small village, however modest, was in Antigua, West Indies, a kilometer from surf, white sand, and pleasure.
The Genesis story came to mind. God made light—life-giving, back-warming light. Then sky—with clouds never-the-same against azure gray; then earth meeting sea creating horizons pointy and flat; then vegetation like hibiscus, date palms, and aloe; then sun and moon for warm days and nights; then living creatures like laughing gulls, mongooses, and lizards; then amazing people. And God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. Paradise.
The resort where we stayed had a restaurant overlooking the bay—a Caribbean layout resembling a forest station lookout with three walls, some poles, and two Whitewood trees crawling skyward. A tradition at the restaurant is to leave one’s mark by writing your name on wooden planks and nailing them to poles, wall, or trees. Hundreds of signs crowd the view.
So we made one too: “Bill + Shelaine, 2017, ‘… and it was good’.”
So very good.
Welcome to Paradise.
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31
Dear God, Thank you for all you made that continues to be very good. May we respect, enjoy, and steward the world around us and not take it for granted. May we marvel at the wonders of your hand, and your sustaining presence, in your creation.
[I write this when our beautiful province is ablaze with over 100 forest fires, and smoke has leached its way to where we live three hours away. May we be careful camping, and be wise with soaring temperatures and poor air quality.]
Bill Strom, Author
I am a believer by faith, a professor by vocation, a husband by choice, a father by blessing, and a friend by hanging out. Along the way I have learned about close relating through my experiences, biblical models, and social science research. Hopefully my ideas and encouragement show up here in ways meaningful to you.