a sabbatical rest, day 159
kathmandu lockdown, day 38
It’s our anniversary Tuesday, six weeks into a pandemic-related lockdown here in the Kathmandu valley. Some restrictions were loosened this week, which basically means grocery stores are open from 7 to 9 in the morning. Restaurants and most other stores are still closed. Traffic is banned.
Lockdown costs about $5 (USD) a day, since we usually walk to the market in Naxel to pick up some fruit or vegetables, largely for the exercise. We have established a new ritual though, picking up a couple of sel rotis and small bottles of kombucha, enjoying a snack in a park on our way back to the apartment. Most of that $5 is the kombucha, but they have run out of the kind we like.
For the most part, we’re eating well, and resting well, and working well, although I am wondering where I can pick up toner for our printer. This is indeed a minor problem amidst the pain people are dealing with here. About 2/3 of the economy is “informal,” meaning daily wageworkers and service workers whose jobs are being destroyed.
So, how to celebrate 47 years of marriage under these circumstances?
As one of my sons pointed out, we’ll be doing pretty much the same thing we might do if there were not a lockdown, relaxing on a quiet porch sipping tea, reading a book, talking about family and friends. Remembering. And planning. Basically, just another day of lockdown except without conference calls.
We’re well into our 5th decade of marriage. So much to remember, and perhaps a lot to forget, or to have forgotten. Basically, we had two kids in the first decade, two more kids in the second decade, took care of three elderly people in the third decade, began traveling and exploring the world in the fourth decade, and now, in the fifth decade, are thinking more about service and legacy.
We may have another decade or two together, since if you reach our age in reasonably good health, you’re likely to make it into your 80s. As the Lord wills. This is time we would not have conceived of back when we began. We’re thinking about it now. Maybe we’ll talk about that Tuesday.
But right now, I want to write about marriage, which is a good thing. I have a good wife, of course, and that helps. And I’ve written about her often. But we’re doing a lot of marriage counseling this decade, and I’m learning a lot, some of it about my failures as a father and a husband.
I’m not talking about guilt, here. And if I were, that would be another post entirely. I’m talking about life lessons. And the first one is that it’s good to be married. It’s good for the kids, of course, to have that stability. Good for the grandkids, too. But I’m saying it’s good for Katie and me.
I often use the word sanctuary to describe it, a safe place where someone learns to accept you, be patient with you, and forgive you. You have to learn these things, and it took us two or three of those decades to make real progress.
Some days we still have to work at it. But there is no safer place, really, except perhaps a prayer closet. Sanctuary is good, worth waiting for and preserving. This requires sacrifice. And some days, joy is optional. But sanctuary is good.
For us, the key is covenant, keeping the vows we made 47 years ago, long before we really understood them. For better or for worse, in sickness and health. We had no idea, really.
The Apostle Paul wrote that marriage is a picture of Christ’s love for his church, and for us, as Christians, that seems too important to mess up, even on days we don’t even like each other.
Tuesday is not likely to be one of those days. Such days come further apart now. Maybe even years apart, as opposed to the days or weeks when we first set out on this journey. Because trust grows.
And so does love.
Photos by Coreprew Audio-video Mill-factory, Bhaktapur.