The Watchman

The Watchman

Sunday, August 22, 2010

How do you measure a life?

In the Broadway show Rent, the cast asks the questions "How do you measure a year?" and "How do you measure the life of a woman or man?" The song then goes on to talk about the different ways we measure life... in minutes, events, accomplishments, etc.

I've been doing alot of "measuring" of my life the last two weeks as I have worked on completing the inventory of our once upon a time home. What I have learned is that in 22 years of life together, with a little bit of childhood thrown in, Rick and I had a lot of things. In fact the current replacement dollar amount is over $250,000 and there is still more to be accounted for. When the insurance adjustor stated that he thought we would easily reach $300,000, I was doubtful. I am not so doubtful anymore.

Last year, when we renewed our insurance, we valued our personal property at just over $200,000. This will be the maximum amount that the insurance will pay us. If I measured my life in dollars, right now I would feel that I had literally lost 1/3 of my life, since we will never be compensated for the other $100,000 not covered by the insurance.

Instead I think of the rest of the song. It suggests that instead life should be measured in love. This is how I want to measure my life.

Over the weekend we attended the wedding reception of a very remarkable young woman. Over the last four years, she has been an important part of our family. We had harbored a secret hope that when Hunter returned from his mission that they might be married. Our girls would often refer to her as their big sister because of the involvement she had in their lives. Her influence was especially strong on Lela. It was this young woman's influence that encouraged Lela to join the Hurricane Tigersharks swim team and to start playing the violin. She will always have a special place in our hearts and we wish her the best for the future.

Attending a wedding reception always brings back memories of my own reception. How young Rick and I were all those years ago, yet how mature and ready for marriage we felt. I often wonder what those two kids would have thought of their future selves. Since I have very few, if any, regrets; I like to think that they would have run with great excitement to the altar.

What I can see looking back from this viewpoint is that our marriage began with the solid foundation of friendship. Rick has been my best friend since I was 19 years old. By the time we were married we had no secrets between us. This practice has remained a constant throughout our marriage. I know that if Rick tells me something, it is the truth. I trust him completely.

Through the years we have built on that foundation as we worked together as a team. I have always known that he had my back and is my greatest supporter. Whenever I have doubted myself, Rick has been there to shore up my faith in my abilities. Whether moving across the country with three small children, completing college, or our current situation; we will be fine because we work together.

This same sentiment has been expressed by many who know us as they watch our family go through this experience. One friend commented that she has always been amazed at how close our family is and if anything, this has brought us closer together. Another friend commented that he did not know many people who could survive losing everything and still remain happy. I know this is because we know that the most important things made it out of the house. We will not dwell on the loss, but on how we are continually blessed.

I am so grateful that we learned at a young age that we are each other's best friend. It took a couple we know 30 years of marriage to learn this truth - a marriage is not about the things you acquire, it is about the relationship you develop and grow with your partner. That relationship is more valuable than any treasure on earth and more delicate than the tiniest seedling. I hope our young friend and her new husband can learn this now so that their life will be measured in seasons of love.


  1. That was beautiful what you said. TFS!

  2. So true. It's been a pleasure to see your relationship over the years. Rick always teasing you about being his "favorite pessimist" (though I now convinced you are not one at all!) I, too, wish the young bride well. There's a time and place for everything and I have no doubt Hunter will find exactly who he needs when the timing is right.