Day one on the great “mystery trip” commenced early yesterday morning and found me on the other side of the country in the late afternoon. My first stop? That’s right…San Francisco! But that’s not where we stayed. We got our rental car and headed south on Highway 1 toward Santa Cruz. It was a beautiful drive ending at a place that I’ve always thought of as a little bit of paradise. This is where yesterday’s journey ended:

Beautiful, isn’t it? This is the backyard garden of our Aunt Norma and Uncle Roger.
Now, you might think it a little odd that my husband would start out mystery anniversary trip with a stop at our relatives, but it really isn’t. Not when you understand that this couple has been one of the finest models of marriage from which we’ve ever had the privilege to learn. For all of our married life, we’ve both looked at them and said, “that’s what we want our marriage to look like.”

There is a visible, day-in/day-out kind of love and respect that flows between these two. It’s tangible, well-worn love that has stood the test of time – for nigh on 60 years, to be exact. How marvelous to start the celebration of our first 25 in their presence and be sent off tomorrow for the next surprise (both in our trip and in our lives together) with their blessing.

There is a painting that hangs in their home that sums up why we’re here.

It’s entitled, simply, “I Love You”. That painting provides the goal: To sit across from each other like the sweet couple it captures – like our Aunt Norma and Uncle Roger – and still look at each other the way they do. To, at the end of the day, the end of our lives, still say “I Love You” and mean it from the depths.

We’ve begun our trip and the rest of our lives with not only just a road map, but a clear picture of our desired destination. We’ve begun with the end in mind.

I love that.

For Part Two, click HERE