What does it mean to share seven years?
Jokesters jest about the itch, of course. But that seems cynical. After seven years together, we don’t instantly spring for calamine lotion or start to sneak away.
Scholastics said seven was the age of reason. That sounds wiser. After seven years we’ve learned how to reason with each other, how to fight and forgive, when to hold on and when to let go.
Traditionalists tout this anniversary’s gifts as wool for warmth, copper for durability. That sounds fitting. After seven years we’ve settled into comfort and we hope it lasts.
Scripture scholars coming off sabbatical might justify celebrating a Sabbath year. That sounds lovely. After seven years we’d take time to give thanks for what has been and rest to rejuvenate for what’s to come.
But I picture seven years as a springy second-grader, scraped knees from jumping off the jungle gym, gap-toothed grins for school pictures. That feels right. We’re a bit banged up, having taken a few knocks, but we’re still smiling, still full of energy.
It’s reassuring to think that after seven years our marriage might have passed the needy newborn stage, the trying toddler times, the pushing buttons of the preschool phase. But even though our marriage is no longer novice or newlywed, it still feels young. So much lies ahead that we can’t yet imagine.
And I love seven for that. She’s not worried about brushing her hair or hitting puberty or surviving junior high. She’s busy being seven – running around the backyard, jumping off the swing set, laughing at knock-knock jokes, asking questions about how the world works. Staying seven is plenty enough.
The un-self-conscious joy of seven. There’s inspiration for a whole year’s celebration in those knobby knees.