Rumor and some science share the notion that our bodies renew every cell of their structures over the course of seven years. Some cells turn over much more quickly, like the surface cells of our skin.
Others, like the cells of our internal organs, take longer to replenish into a completely new entity. Nontheless, in approximately seven years our total self is a new creature.
Today is my seventh wedding anniversary.
Whether all my cells have regenerated is outwardly questionable. I notice signifcant differences in the (lack) luster of my skintone, the darkness of my eye circles, the graying hue of my hair.
All of which lend me to think perhaps the cells I see in the mirror are the same, although somewhat more spent, version of what they have always been.
But thinking back to the 30 year old I was seven years ago today, I know there are changes to me. And to us.
I am much more deeply involved with yoga. (and thank God, or I’m positive the almost-38ness of myself would be much more apparent!)
Where I was originally so embarrassed to play guitar in front of him I would quite literally cry, now we can putz and pluck and coo crazy together having fun with music.
(See this ridiculous video I took of us from my iPad last December. I must really like this shirt/hat combo since it seems to be all I wear in these pictures. It was a mandatory submission for work. If I can make sport with him singing made up lyrics about a legal search engine, and he is willing to participate and laugh along, I’d say we’re doing ok fun-wise.)
What then was two, has now become three.
Children are a game changer in every way (she says obviously, but with no earthly clue how true this statement is until she walked through the fire herself).
In so many instances it can feel like your universe has shrunk versus expanded with a family addition. Suddenly, the world is made up of only dirty dishes, laundry, the park nearest by, duplos, the same book read 30 times in a row, and an earlier bed time than you’ve ever known before.
Exhaustion will do that to a person.
But seven years will also change your perspective on the same scenery.
While I still care what I see in the mirror, I don’t care as much. (thank God again, because the grays crop up faster than the “every four to six weeks” dye box accounting. Caring less means I can let it go; until I can’t.)
Seven years time can also help “root” you – hair puns! – into a deeper relationship with your spouse. There may be days of the week that pass in a flurry, us seeing only a glimpse of the other across the hall while we each attend to the dirty dishes, laundry, the park nearest by, duplos, the same book read 30 times in a row. Yet there is an unspoken understanding that this current blur is temporary and for the greater good.
Hopefully, the biggest change and renewal over the past seven years is not in the new shade of my hair shafts, the alignment of my asanas nor the many childrens books now memorized verbatim.
I will be most proud if I can claim my mind is new.
Romans 12:2 encourages us to “not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I have the chance to make my mind new multiple times a day.
Raise my voice at a demanding child or creatively seek out the true need and address it? Easy, frozen pizza for dinner…again or quickly chop and steam a more healthful meal ensemble? View the challenges of an often mundane routine through my Wendy tinted glasses, or invite my husband’s lens over for a look?
Love and marriage are decisions made over and over each day. In big anniversary ways and small third grocery run of the week ways, we dedicate ourselves to our loved ones.
Renewing again and again. Inviting in and focusing on all the good while letting the remainder fade away.
The Message version of Romans 12:1-2 translates this notion:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
That is as good advice for daily living as it is for marriage (which is a lot of daily living)!
With God’s help, my husband also brings out the best in me. It doesn’t hurt if I can also readily recognize what he wants and quickly respond.
Seven years ago today, we pledged “I do.” I still do, babe.
Apparently, I’m a completely different person than I was when you married me. I hope this version of me has developed well-formed, not conformed.
I’m still working on it. No, not still. Always.
Happy Anniversary, Jesse!