In the past few weeks as we tell people we are going to Iceland for our 10 year anniversary we get two reactions. The first is the usual excitement over a big trip. The second is confusion settling in.
“Why in the world would you want to go to Iceland?”
It’s a great question. And my answer is fairly unrefined and open. But I wanted to share it here.
It’s not about Iceland.
The place and trip really is secondary in our minds.
Really, Betony asked me if there was any place significant and meaningful I wanted to go for this big 10 year marker. I couldn’t think of anyplace. I gave a half-thought answer, “I’ve always wanted to try and see the northern lights”. That’s all it took. She started looking up Iceland travels and seeing how stark and beautiful the country is.
No, it’s not about Iceland. This trip is first about the importance of having a marker, a large gesture, to celebrate and recognize this point in our relationship.
Because I’d honestly be just as happy to have a week-long jaunt in Denver with my wife. But I completely recognize this: It’s important to tell a great story. And it’s important to have a grander gesture for the grander moments in our lives.
For example, I didn’t want to go to my college graduation. My parents made me and I’m so happy I have the memory of that weekend with them.
And I’d have been happy to elope with a couple friends. I’m so glad our wedding was a spectacular affair with friend and family surrounding us.
In my life I want to make sure and do this. I want to take the time, energy, finances and celebrate things right. When we do this it creates alters and markers in our minds of the important event. It creates a place we can return to that is large and grand in our memories. It’s a bright past that propels us forward when we need the reminder.
The writer Phyllis Tickle writes and talks about the rhythms of family. It’s in our rhythms that our values are passed to our children and we live out what we believe. She points out three major rhythms, putting it this way:
The Table: it’s where we daily gather together, pray, break bread, share stories
The Synagogue: is where we weekly lean on each other, encounter God, talk about the most important things
The Pilgrimage: is the great trip to Jerusalem, done yearly or only a few times in a lifetime, the unifying event
As I process taking this trip to Iceland with my wife, I’m thinking of it as a Pilgrimage.
It’s something you only once in a lifetime. It’s to celebrate this woman I love so deeply. It’s to create bright memories that I can return to when the path forward gets difficult.
That’s my answer. That’s why we’re going to Iceland.