Waking up that first Saturday together was a miracle on so many fronts.  I have had more than one person tell me, both before and since, that they have never known a couple who has gone to the place we did and come out of it together.  There were times that my best friends made their doubts evident in things they said.  They stood by me and prayed for our marriage, but also said things like to be prepared, “just in case this thing goes badly.”

While the outward miracle of my wife and I moving back in together and re-committing to our marriage was in every sense spectacular, the things taking place on the inside of each of us were even more amazing.  I was literally living the final phrase of the famous “footprints” poem.  I was being carried by my Savior and I knew we were going to be all right.  There was going to be some work left to do, and more that we would need to heal from, but I knew that if He was carrying me, He would carry both of us. 

The most wonderful miracle for me, though, was what I saw in my wife’s eyes that next morning.  There was a transparent honesty, a release from some long-standing fears, and a vulnerability and openness that I hadn’t been sure that I would ever see.  It erased all my doubts about our reconciliation working out.  Her eyes have captivated me since the first time we met, but looking into them that morning, there was a depth and a newness that was more beautiful than I could have even imagined.

It was then that our “new” relationship truly began.  It reminds me of the very final stages in the restoration of a house.  The inside is never completely finished until after the outside is done.  There are always those details on the inside that put the finishing touches on the place and make it completely ready to be lived in. 

For the neighbors, and for people driving by, the outside being finished is the signal that it’s ready.  They see it looking done on the outside, and they want to see the inside, or they wonder why no one has moved in yet.  The people doing the restoration know that it isn’t finished, and they know what still needs to be done to make it just the way they want it. 

Some people live in the house during the restoration process.  Others move into temporary housing and then come back when it’s done and ready.  We always stayed in the houses while we worked on them, no matter how big the job was.  It was difficult and beyond inconvenient (think bathrooms and plumbing here) at times.  Often it was very tedious and seemed like little or no real progress was being made.  Other times, though, a lot came together at once and you could see the transformation happen. 

Once such moment is a favorite story of ours, when a friend, who generally didn’t knock, opened the front door and suddenly backed away.  She looked around in confusion, as though she’d gone to the wrong house and didn’t know where she was.  What had happened was she had stepped right into one of those moments where a lot had changed seemingly overnight.  It really didn’t happen that quickly, there was just a lot of work that had gone on unseen before the visible part appeared.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians contains the line, “I’m convinced that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it through to completion.”  The work in our marriage wasn’t finished, but the outcome was no longer in doubt.  My wife and I were both being transformed on the inside, and those changes were going to make our future so much different from our past. 

The plan for the restoration tour began to form in my mind almost immediately.  Nothing could be done about missing the bike ride, but I knew that it was an annual event and, much like I had set the Tiger Triathlon in my mind as the time that we would get back together, so I began to envision a year of restoration leading up to the next Tour De Cox.  We had a year to heal, to grow, and to repair our past mistakes.  Where I had been working on restoring our marriage alone, we would now spend a year of restoring together, ending with our renewal ceremony after the 2011 Tour De Cox.


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