Friday, 24 June 2011

Then, Now and For Always



Many years ago when I was a teenager, my family moved temporarily from Sydney, Australia to England. It had been arranged that I would continue to study for my Australian Higher School Certificate by correspondence. But my parents thought it would be prudent for me to attend the local English secondary school too, just in case our stay was prolonged and I wanted to apply to a British university, instead of coming home for my tertiary studies. I protested: was it really fair to make a girl attend regular school in the day and then study correspondence lessons in the evening? I thought not. But that was before I met Andy at that school I didn’t want to attend.
I found myself at M Secondary School, a school that had recently resulted from the merging of the co-ed comprehensive school with the boys’ grammar school. The boys far out-numbered the girls in the final two years of school. And so Andy probably noticed me long before I noticed him. How could you not notice the only girl in the physics class or chemistry class or…?
One day Andy casually asked, “Have you seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show? No? Well, I’m going to see it on Saturday evening. If you want, you could meet me there…”
I didn’t meet Andy there. So he tried again: “Have you seen The China Syndrome? I’ll meet you at your place and we could go together…”
So we went to the cinema that weekend, and the next Monday morning I found Andy waiting for me outside my home. He’d arrived to carry my enormous and very heavy physics book to school for me. I never had to carry that book again.
I introduced Andy to my family and they approved, and from then on my mother fed a family of six instead of a family of five.
My parents ended up staying longer than planned in England but I could have returned by myself. I’d passed my Higher School Certificate and a place, to study science, was waiting for me at the University of New South Wales. All I had to do was get on a plane. But Australia was half a world away and Andy wasn’t. There really was no decision to be made. I had to stay.
We both went off to two different Welsh universities knowing, that at the completion of our degrees, we would get married. For three years, Andy travelled the hours’ long trip from Cardiff to Aberystwyth every weekend to see me. It was a very long three years.
Then two weeks after we graduated, we were married. On the 24th June 1983, we became man and wife. And two weeks after that, we said goodbye to all our friends and family and we boarded a plane for Sydney. I was coming home. Andy was having the biggest adventure of his life.
I think about life and how we can never quite predict how it will turn out.
Did Andy ever imagine he would meet and marry an Australian? Did he ever think, after living in the same street for the first 21 years of his life, he would emigrate to Australia and leave his family behind? It probably didn’t occur to him, when that plane left English soil all those years ago, he wouldn’t be back.
Did I expect to meet the love of my life at that school I didn’t really want to attend? What if my parents had never planned that trip to England… or hadn’t insisted I went to school?
And then after we were married…
I never expected to become a Catholic or for us to marry again in the Church. We didn’t expect to wander from rental house to rental house for 25 years.. and then buy a dream home of our own. We didn’t know we would suffer grief as babies miscarried and Thomas died as a newborn baby. We didn't realise we'd still be blessed with a beautiful large family. Andy couldn’t have predicted he’d be made redundant after many years in the same job… or go back to university and have a second chance at a career. I didn’t know I’d be homeschooling or writing…
God had many surprises in store for us as we set out to share our lives together, both sorrows and joys. And what is still ahead of us? I don't know but I am certain, whatever happens, there will be love and Love.
I thought Andy and I chose each other. I certainly didn’t ask God to find me the perfect husband. But I wonder… Did God have Andy picked out for me all along? Was He looking after me long before I started to think about Him? I could have made a disastrous mistake but I didn’t. Andy was mine long before I knew it, chosen by God who loves me so much.
Happy Anniversary Andy.

21 comments:

  1. Happy Anniversary Sue & Andy.. God certainly takes us aussie girls to the ends of the earth to find our husbands, doesn't he. Dermot still continues his adventure to this day..one day they must swap stories on there own..leanne

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  2. Yes, Leanne, you have a treasure from overseas too! You are right: the men would enjoy swapping stories. I remember you telling me about your great adventure that ended in love.

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  3. Happy Anniversary to both of you.

    Many Happy Returns.

    May God bless you both and your family always.

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  4. Thank you, Victor! God bless you too.

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  5. So many memories - my first big brother! Happy anniversary, Sue and Andy!!!:)

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  6. "my first big brother"- That's a lovely thought. Thank you, Vicky.

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  7. Happy Anniversary, Sue and Andy!

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  8. Thank you, Ellen. And thank you for sharing my story.

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  9. God absolutely picked Andy for you! What a beautiful love story Sue! I didn't know Andy was from England and that's where you two met. Happy Anniversary to you!

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  10. Sue,
    Your photo and your thoughts are lovely! You have not changed a bit. Congratulations!

    Grace and peace,
    Misty

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  11. Thank you Noreen and Misty. So kind of you both to stop and wish us Happy Anniversary. God bless!

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  12. Happy Belated Anniversary to both of you! May God continue to bless you and your beautiful family.

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  13. Happy Anniversary, Sue!! Thanks for sharing your story with us. Stories like these warm my heart. I believe God picks our spouses (or at least gives us a divine nudge in that direction)! May our Lord bless you both!

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  14. Thank you, Mary. I guess it is God who is writing our stories. He is forever surprising us with His blessings, and it is God who warms our hearts. Thank you for stopping by.

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  15. Stephanie, I was just visiting your blog! It was so lovely to see your message, when I was just thinking about you. Thank you for taking the time to send us your greetings.

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  16. What a beautiful love story! Thank God that you went to that "school you didn't want to go to." May you two be blessed with many more happy, healthy years together.

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  17. Yes, Dana, God must have had that school in His plan for us. Funny how we complain about our circumstances and later realise how God had used them for our good. And thank you so much for the anniversary wishes!

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  18. Happy Anniversary! Congratulations to you both on your long lasting marriage.
    ~Lily

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  19. Thank you, Lily! I think I saw (on my Dashboard) you are blogging again. I've been thinking about you and wondering how you've been going. I shall hop over to your blog and say hello!

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  20. Great story! I love hearing about how God brought couples together. Wishing you many more years of happiness...

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  21. Thank you so much, Willa!

    Have you seen Ellen Gable Hrkach's book "Come My Beloved"? It's a collection of beautiful and inspiring courtship stories. Ellen very kindly gave me an ebook copy as an anniversary present!
    God bless!

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