We celebrated our anniversary this week. We were married in 1979 in the Manti Temple, but we came back up that day to Salt Lake for a little reception in the afternoon at the home of some friends who lived in North Salt Lake.
We spent the first part of our honeymoon in Salt Lake at the Hotel Utah, a grand old hotel built in 1911. Our room was on the west side of the hotel, just across Main Street from the Salt Lake Temple.
On the day after our wedding, I remember looking out the window of our hotel room at the brides and grooms across the street, coming out of the temple. I have to admit I felt jealous of them. We had had our special day the day before, and I realized that special day would never come our way again. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
The Hotel Utah ceased operation in 1988 and now is an office building. The funny thing is, that’s where I work now, five days a week, in a cubicle on the west side of the building. I can see the Salt Lake Temple, the temple that one of my wife’s ancestors helped build, from a window not far from my desk.
On the day after our anniversary this week, I stood at a window in one of the conference rooms of that building, looking at the brides and grooms coming out of the Salt Lake Temple. The view was very similar to the one I had all those years ago. However, Main Street, the section between Temple Square and the office where I work, is gone, replaced by walkways and trees and flowers and a reflecting pool. It was the same view, almost, that I had 33 years ago, to the day. But I felt very different than I did then. Of course I did.
We were so young then. I was a gangly 21 year old. My new wife was almost 19. We were so excited and idealistic and happy. Now we have lived most of our lives together. We have had lots of ups and downs, but more ups than downs, I am glad to say.
We are still crazy in love. We have had some very difficult, nearly devastating trials, but we are still on our feet. We are still excited and idealistic, but with a dose of experience that helps us be a bit more practical than we were back then. We have a wonderful family, three beautiful daughters who are great friends, two outstanding sons in laws, and four energetic and loving grandsons, who all live within 10 miles of each other, as of this week.
Though we have less of this world’s goods than we used to have, we have the very best things in life. I am grateful that God has given us our trials and not someone else’s. Our children and grandchildren are the best! To be close to them all, to be involved in their lives, that’s the thing that a happy life is made of.
But looking out that window this week, the day after our anniversary, has got me thinking hard. I am grateful for that once in a lifetime experience—our wedding day—but I am even more grateful for the life we have now.
Life is paved with experiences that we cannot predict, but they will all, the good and bad, bring us to joy, if we will let them do the sanctifying work they were meant to do.