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My beloved and I returned recently from five days in Chicago celebrating our 10th anniversary.
We were your typical tourists, soaking in all the sites and history that are distinctively Chicago.
We watched the Cubs at Wrigley (they won in the ninth, which deep down I think they did just for us).
We did the architectural tour, checked out Navy Pier and the stained glass museum, and went to the John Hancock bar.
Stepped out on the glass ledge at the top of the Sears Tower. (It's now called the Willis Tower, but it will probably take another 5 generations before people actually call it that, even though it is emblazoned in huge letters right at the base of the building. Poor Willis Tower. Has an identity crisis.)
We saw how they train Beluga whales and dolphins at Shedd Aquarium and learned some absolutely fascinating facts about some other creatures. If ever we wanted to see a true magician at work, we need look no further than the handiwork of our amazing Creator!
We gazed at the humongous shiny Jelly Bean sculpture.
The bean's real name is "Cloudgate." I doubt anyone really calls it that, though. I'm sure the sculptor who designed it feels like a disgruntled parent who named his kid Winston and everyone keeps calling him "Wing-Man!"
We stayed at a hotel that was so nice, it made me think I could really get used to hotel life. Concierges. Fresh towels. Sleeping in the nude. Never having to vacuum or scrub a toilet. I mean, I missed my kids and all, but I'm not going to lie...the hotel was one of the best parts of the trip.
We ate. And ate. And then ate some more.
We highly recommend DMK Burger, Timothy O'Toole's Bar, Max's, and Yolk Restaurant. And I had the best margarita of my life at Giordarno's Famous Chicago Pizza. Seriously. Best. Margarita. Of. My. Life.
For a moment, I lost all common sense and suggested we take a bicycle rickshaw-thingy to a restaurant after the Cubs game.
Don't ask. It was a shaky decision all the way around. But we laughed after the ride, mostly because we didn't get smooshed by a Mack truck, which seemed like a realistic possibility in the moment. It was the only moment of the trip where I was thankful we had left our will and funeral instructions with a friend back home.
We walked (rather than shopped) down Michigan Avenue.
We were struck by the irony of homeless people sitting mere feet from window displays with $8,000 paintings and $3,000 purses. I'm not begrudging the paintings or purses. Just commenting on the irony.
I stopped and talked to a few homeless people. One homeless woman was sitting with a child who looked the same age as our youngest. Seriously, how could I not stop?
I don't always stop, even in Omaha, but when I do, I always want to know their story. And if they know Jesus Christ. If they don't, I tell them about Him. Honestly, though, they always say they know Him. Maybe they know Him better than I do. Hard saying.
I've heard (and mostly ignored) the critics who say you should never give money to a homeless person.
I trust God is much more concerned with the motive of the heart. Theirs and mine. It's God's place to reconcile the differences and discrepancies.
I don't think God's cash leaving my hand and going into theirs is really a point of arbitration. I go with my gut.
And in matters like this, I don't think my gut has ever steered me wrong. I was glad to let the money leave my hand and go into the hand of the woman with the child. Glad too that I now know a piece of her story.
Visiting a city like Chicago really gives you a great perspective on the vastness of the human experience. It's like everything is vying for your attention, eager to engage you.
Delicious food. Beautiful colors. Natural phenomenons like Lake Michigan and Beluga whales. Astonishing examples of architecture. Barrage of sounds, like sirens and cars and waves and wind.
Some of you who get my newsletter know that I have been researching personal lubricants. We did some "research" on the trip. My husband now thinks there must be some way we can write part of this trip off as a business expense. It made me laugh, but then I thought to myself, "Who really wants to offer details like that should we get audited?!"
Suffice to say, we're considering the entire trip as pleasure.
I know that not everyone can get away on a trip like this for their anniversary. Honestly, it will probably be our 25th before we can justify such an expense again.
That being said, pouring yourself into your relationship -- stealing away to places and moments that are just about the two of you -- is worth it in ways that cannot be tallied on a budget spreadsheet.
So try to steal away more often together, okay?
A coffee shop. A bookstore. Your bedroom.
You might just find yourself doing some research. Consider it all a worthy investment.
Copyright 2013, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.