Carl and Ellie

Disney’s movie, “UP”, is one I cherish. The first time I saw it was in 3D at the movies with my oldest son. Once the movie moved from the early montage to the storyline, we laughed so hard we cried.

Yet, it was that first montage that held me. This was why this movie would mean so much to me. The movie begins with Carl as a young boy. He is shy and awkward. (I have an immediate affinity for this kid.) He adores an adventurer he sees on the movie reels at the theater. (This is set in the early 20th Century to begin.) Carl then meets a young girl who truly loves adventure. The montage tells of their growing old together. It is incredibly touching. You see the joy of getting married, then wanting to save money to make that big adventure to South America, and needing to dip into that savings to take care of things in life.

You also witness the sorrow of their inability to have children, yet their joy in cherishing each other. As a young girl Ellie had started a scrapbook about the adventures she would take. She had left a section blank to document the eventual big trip they would take to South America. In their senior years Carl decides to go all out and buy two plane tickets for South America. Right after that Ellie gets sick. She never makes the trip. Before she dies, she gives Carl the scrapbook.

The real adventure happens when Carl is forced to go to a nursing home, but the morning he is to leave his house, he floats it away with a million helium balloons. He then discovers a stowaway and the fun is on.

It’s a great movie, but watching it again last night I am left with deep emotions over the journey of life. Carl felt he had disappointed Ellie because he never got her to South America. He had never looked at the scrapbook after Ellie had passed away. His love for her was so deep, but he felt he had disappointed her. Her life had not turned out like she wanted. Or, so he thought.

My greatest adventures are with the one God gave me as my spouse. I have disappointed her. When we married, there was a journey we thought we would take together and it has not happened. It may never happen. It’s possible that one day we could visit a place we have dreamed of living in as missionaries, but outside of that, I have not been able to help fulfill that dream. But what I have found as we have journeyed together is the disappointment is with myself. She has taken this journey with me and has filled the pages of that scrapbook with new things. (Carl finds Ellie did the same thing. Her great adventure was the journey with Carl.)

In these 21 years of marriage we have witnessed so many ups and downs. We have lived with laughter and sorrow. But the journey has been together and I cannot imagine life without her. I am the bumbling Carl in many ways. What I want to be all through my life is that Carl that loved deeply. The Lord has so gifted me with a precious wife and this Thanksgiving, I am thankful above all for his great grace that brought her to me.

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