When I felt DH get out of bed, I had this gut feeling that he'd been called as the next landlord for the Stomach Bug. I was right.
His performance in the Throne Room was much like my own. Still being weak and a little nauseated from my own performances, helping him was tougher than usual..but we managed.
This time I led him back to the bed and we settled back in.
As the alarm went off, he confessed he hadn't slept much at all. This was Tuesday..our anniversary.
I turned off the alarm and just continued to lay there. My husband was sick and the only thing important to me, was that he was able to rest like I had been able to on Sunday.
My husband had other plans. I wanted to pet and pamper him, he wanted a cheerleader. Since I wouldn't accept the position, he became his own cheerleader.
"Okay big boy..get up! This is your anniversary! You never had a honeymoon and you're not going to let some pitiful bug keep you down for the count! Man up! Move it! Move it! Move it!" (He has some military in him).... and he did move. He got up and went straight to the Throne Room to bow before the porcelain god, yet again.
After that performance though, he "swore" he "felt SOO much better". "Get dressed. let's go!" By the way, did I mention that he's..."the most stubborn, bullheaded, headstrong, pain in the butt I've ever met.."?? (Where have I heard that before??) Guess that's why we've been married so long!!
This time I conceded. I took my time, but I got dressed and we headed out. My DH was such a trooper. We drove into the mountains and stopped at an information center. There we learned that if we would drive about 24 miles in, we would come upon some old homesteads and churches and such as that. After the 24 miles, there was about 11 miles of those such things then we would need to drive the 24 miles back out. Since we absolutely love looking at old things like that we knew we'd have a blast.
Philip learned that there was a Throne Room at the end of the 24 mile stretch and after checking in at the Throne Room at the information center, he felt we were good to go.
He was truly feeling a bit better by now and we enjoyed the scenic drive into the mountains. We saw a few animals and many beautiful waterfalls and were really enjoying ourselves. Talking, reminiscing, making some future plans, pointing out what the kids would love if they were with us (doesn't everybody talk about their kids when their kids aren't with them????).
Looking down at the odometer we realized we were 3 miles away from our destination and we were talking about how it must have been to live in these mountains 100 years ago when all of a sudden.........flashing lights, backed up traffic. We come to a complete stop.
What's going on? We sit there about 10 minutes and nothing is moving. I make the "funny" remark..."With all of the rain they've had, wouldn't it be something if we've gotten this close and there's been a rock slide?"
Well, there was no rock slide, but there were 2 huge trees laying across the road!!!
Philip went to talk to the ranger that was standing by the trees and found out that as soon as they got a chain saw, they'd have those trees out of the way. Where's the chain saw? Yeah, you guessed it...21 miles back at the information center!! (Shouldn't chain saws be standard equipment in a ranger's truck??)
Anyway....nothing to do but turn around and go 21 miles back to the center. Thankfully God was looking out for DH and he made it back before needing to appear in the Throne Room.
We decided to go back into Gatlinburg and just enjoy the afternoon looking around the shops. We had a really enjoyable afternoon, but I could tell my sweetie was really tired. I finally convinced him that we needed to head back to our room so he could get some rest. He reluctantly gave in.
Back at the room, I curled up under a blanket on the couch while he curled up in the bed and got some much needed rest.
Later we went to McDonalds for chicken nuggets for me and a hamburger for him..he just couldn't stomach a celebratory meal.. then on to Wal Mart to get some sparkling cider. This was still our anniversary after all!
Back at the room we lit candles and toasted 25 years together and prayed for at least 50 more.
Isn't it just like God?
We had made all the plans for a grand and glorious celebration. We knew what we wanted to do and when and where and how. It was going to be great!
But just like over the course of our 25 years, many of our plans never came to pass. God took another direction.
Philip and I are not flashy people. We prefer the simple, slower way of life. We wanted to go and do and spend and "live it up!!" (for us anyway), but God decided the simple was where He wanted us to stay.
Philip and I have leaned on each other for 25 years and God allowed us to lean on each other even on this trip. He showed us that while a dinner theater might have been fun, chicken nuggets at McDonalds can still be a celebration.
He showed us that a wet washcloth and a gentle word is romantic.
He showed us that giving up our plans for the benefit of our spouse is what's made our marriage grow stronger and last these 25 years.
He showed me that no matter where I'm at or what I'm doing, there's no one in this world I'd rather have by my side than my dear husband. He is my best friend on this earth.
The next day found us leaving our beautiful room, headed toward Krispy Kreme and buying a dozen of those warm, soft, melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts..calling our kids and telling them we were headed home.
Many in our shoes may have thought that this trip was a disappointment... but for us it was just the opposite. It was a confirmation of our 25 years...always being there for each other, never leaving the side of the one who loves you and whom you love the most.