We went on a little trip on a ferry today to visit Donegal. We took the boys to Malin Head and then visited a beautiful beach just outside the village of Culdaff. When I was 16 or 17, one of my friends in school had a caravan beside this beach and we used to go and stay there. I have great memories of these days together. What made the trip extra special today was that 20 years ago on Sunday Ross asked me to marry him there. We loved showing the kids the spot where I said “Yes!”.
I had the opportunity to walk quietly on the beach for 10 minutes by myself and as I walked these thoughts started to form…
When we were 16 or 17… we didn’t know.
When we had to cycle miles to the nearest payphone, and light gas lights in the caravan… we didn’t know. When we spent hours in wetsuits in the sea without the promise of a warm shower, and ate our meals when we felt like it… we didn’t know. When there was light in the sky at midnight and we were woken by sheep in the morning… we didn’t know. When we talked and laughed for hours… we didn’t know.
We didn’t know the paths our lives would take, that we would live on different islands, in different countries, get married and have kids. We didn’t know the joys and challenges life would bring. There was so much we didn’t know…
When we travelled to Culdaff on a summers day 20 years ago… we didn’t know. When we chased the sunset and climbed a hill… we didn’t know. When we said “yes” to a life spent together… we didn’t know.
We didn’t know what lay ahead. We didn’t know the difficult days we would face. We didn’t know we would have 4 boys. We didn’t know the losses we would face. We didn’t know we’d live in several places and face the pains and the joys of saying hello and goodbye. We didn’t know all the places we would travel. We didn’t know the places God would call us to.
When we brought our son to A&E… we didn’t know. When we travelled to Bristol for the worst of treatments two times over… we didn’t know. When we faced relapse… we didn’t know. When we lived through the darkest of days during a global pandemic… we didn’t know.
We didn’t know how many people would pray for us.
We didn’t know there would be mini miracles.
We didn’t know that we would be held so tightly by Jesus and by those walking this road closely with us.
We didn’t know that God would give us the strength we needed for each new day.
We didn’t know that we would visit this special place on a summers day in 2020, that we’d laugh, bicker, hug, moan, walk, run, reminisce and see incredible beauty once again…and that we’d be ok.
And there is no doubt that someday we’ll look back on today and say… we didn’t know…