A quick wedding anniversary/football weekend trip to College Station and Texas A&M University brought many smiles, rekindled memories and renewed hope.
Few eras of my life are marked by vivid, precise, detailed memories, and that includes my college years. I can't think of any friendships that I made during college that have endured and grown. My strongest relationships I have tied to Aggieland are people I knew before I attended school there or that I met since I graduated.
Except for Gene. I grew up on a family farm just nine miles from Gene's family's farm, and our families attended the same church, but Gene and I, three years apart in age and attending different public schools, didn't meet until we were more than 200 miles from Cooke County at Texas A&M. We met near the end of my first semester, at a Cooke County hometown club party at the apartment complex where I lived. The next I remember of Gene was when he recognized me in the Geology classroom at the start of the spring semester. By the end of the semester, we were dating. And as best I recall, I guess we've been in a relationship ever since. I can't think of a time we ever broke up, which is really kind of amazing, because we are so different in many ways. (That's a whole other blog post -- or several.)
Even as we walked around campus before Midnight Yell Practice on Saturday and then before the game on Sunday, I'm sure we both were aware of our different styles. But something about that east-central Texas air and especially the sound of the Fighting Texas Aggie Band and a mass of Aggies doing tradition yells just pushed the differences aside and drew us together like twentysomethings.
Spending a few hours at the George Bush Presidential Library, with its prevalent themes of family, faith, service and integrity, fit right in with the spirit of the weekend.
We've been back home and now at work a couple of days, and I can see how easy it is to fall back into old patterns, partly because of work schedules but also just from our own set ways. I don't want that to happen. This can be different. This can still be fun. What can I do to make it happen? I know I'm supposed to live one day at a time, but I don't think it's too early to start planning for Sept. 4, 2012. What can I do today to make the 30th anniversary even better than the 29th (or the 25th -- celebrating at Alcatraz was especially memorable!)? I think it really does come down to how I live each day. In the rush of things, I don't always find quality time for Gene, even on the days when our schedules would allow it. I will work to improve that.
The decision to go to the A&M vs. SMU game, which happened to be on our anniversary, was made less than a week before we left. That's pretty spontaneous for us. Everything costs twice as much when you wait that late to commit. But I'm glad we did it. It reminded me of a few more of the blessings I sometimes take for granted -- and reminded me that the best ways to experience blessings and feel joy and gratitude are to share them. And of course, I must always do so in an attitude of humble gratitude and praise to God.