We got married in 1988. In an average sized Southern Baptist Church with about 200 people attending. The ceremony was as I’d hoped, as was the reception. My Mom made my bridesmaids dresses and we did all of the flowers except for one arrangement that went on my cake. My mom made our wedding cake and Tommy’s mom made the groom’s cake. My Mom, sisters and aunts and cousins (I don’t even remember who all was there) stayed up until about 2am getting all of the food ready for the reception. It was a DIY wedding. And it was perfect.
Here’s a video I put together when we celebrated our 20th anniversary. Some of those glasses and hairstyles, tho….
The song in the video is by Cindy Morgan and is called “How Could I Ask For More?”. When we got married in our small town Southern Baptist Church, not only was there not enough room for dancing at the reception but it wouldn’t have been allowed. We didn’t give any thought to needing a song that would be “our song”. But if we had, this would have been it. The song was released in 1992 (4 years into our marriage) and it quickly became “our song” and has stuck with us through the years. Sometimes carrying us, sometimes celebrating with us, sometimes challenging us.
There were times when we could easily say, “How could we ask for more?” but there have also been times when we could easily say
“THIS is not at all what I asked for!”
This post, however, is not about our marriage or even about this being “our song”. That was all just background information to fill you in on how meaningful this song has been to me over the years. Very rarely can I listen to it and my eyes remain dry. This post is about a song that began as a thread in 1992 from Cindy Morgan’s heart to mine, woven into our story and how it has remained an integral part of our journey.
“So many things I thought would bring me happiness
Some dreams that are realities today
Such an irony the things that mean the most to me
Are the memories that I’ve made along the way
So if there’s anything I’ve learned from this journey I am on
Simple truths will keep you going, simple love will keep you strong
‘Cause there are questions without answers and flames that never die
And heartaches we go through are often blessings in disguise
So thank you, Lord, oh thank you, Lord
And yeah, how could I ask for more?”
(partial lyrics from How Could I Ask for More by Cindy Morgan)
I follow Cindy Morgan on facebook and she recently posted an excerpt from her upcoming book (which comes out in the Fall), How Could I Ask For More? (Stories of blessings, battles, and beauty). Oh, how I love that title! The best stuff is in the parenthesis. I asked her for permission to share it here. Not that I needed permission because it was public already, but it’s just so meaningful to me and I really wanted her blessing. She gave it. So here it is:
The will to survive is an underestimated force. Sometimes it would seem it has been buried too deep to reach down and grab hold of—but then, something happens to remind you that you want to live.
Like when you wake at night, as I once did, with the blankets somehow twisted and covering your airway. With a surge of adrenaline you yank the covers off your face and take a deep and desperate breath. You would fight anything or anyone trying to deny you that breath. Even though, moments before, you were totally taking that breath for granted. Like air, like life, we can so easily take important things for granted until something or someone reminds you not to.
Someone who shows you the most powerful moment of living . . .
The moment of dying.
She was a picture of health, my friend Cindy. More than that, though, she was a picture of life. Her flaming red hair, a ready smile, and quick wit always made you feel energized and comforted all at once in her presence. She wore skirts with cardigans the color of autumn leaves. I always think of her when I see the colors of the fall.
She found love late in life. She had married only five years before her diagnosis of lung cancer. Her husband told me he wondered later if she had had cancer their entire marriage but didn’t know it.
There was something about that statement that stayed with me.
Are we all suffering from something we don’t realize? Something that keeps us from living the life we had always planned to? Something that will sneak up on us one day and the time we thought was limitless will be running low in our overturned hourglass?
Then we find ourselves reaching down for the will to do battle. To survive. To breathe.
…to be continued
P.S. The picture in the photo quote was taken at a little boutique hotel in Melaka, Malaysia in March 2013. We stayed there once before for our 23rd anniversary in November 2011.