If you’re just joining me, read this and this first to catch up!

We continued our trek around Banff the next day, venturing into the small hub of town. Stopping in front of a place called Cascade Gardens, we paused to glance at the buildings all nestled in the national park.

While we were right there, we decided to tour the beautiful grounds of the gardens, which were planted in 1935 and surrounded the National Park administrative building.

The flowers were stunning, but they surrounded pools that were empty of water, and areas that were obviously planned for a specific purpose, but never completed. It seemed bereft or wanting somehow, and after reading about its history, we discovered that a lack of funding, years and year ago, left it in its current state, which, oddly, has remained unfinished. An architect’s dream never fully realized.

From there, we started toward town and stumbled across the Banff Park Museum.

Never ones to pass up a museum opportunity, we went inside and were met by an unexpected greeting committee:

Case after case of really old animal exhibits dated back to the time when the museum opened…in 1895. That building, which looked new, was built on that very site AS the Banff Park Museum. It was built to house and display a collection of animal specimens that were indigenous to the Canadian Rockies, and has been run in this capacity since it opened its doors 115 years ago. The cases have been there since the beginning. The exquisite woodwork has been lovingly cared for, and they are still educating tourists about wildlife as they always have. I find that remarkable.

The contrast between these two places is interesting, if you think about it. Both were built with a vision and purpose in mind, but only one was carried out to completion. One tried to cover the things that were obviously missing, instead of doing what was necessary to fill the empty places. The other addressed things that needed attention along the way, and continued with single-minded focus the maintenance of the purpose for which it was intended.

I thought about my marriage of 27 years, as we walked out of that museum. We set out with a vision all those years ago, set on a purposeful foundation. We knew what we wanted our lives together to be, and while time and the rough edge of a broken world has worn us thin at times, we’ve been faithful to address what’s needed fixing. For the most part, we haven’t left things undone and incomplete, and I’m so grateful. I don’t want us to “look pretty” but be filled with emptiness and unfulfilled dreams.

I want us to keep moving forward with that single-minded focus, and like a small unassuming museum, fully stand the test of time.