Its my parent’s 50th Anniversary today. And that’s pretty amazing. I don’t know what 50 years looks like yet, but I’ve lived through some of their years and have been reflecting on what their 50 years together looks like from where I sit.
They bought a business and worked it for 37 years in the beloved town of Candor, NY. They worked hard, and they loved people. The Lord brought salvation to my father and sanctification to my mother.
They lost sisters, aunts, uncles, and their parents. They lost investments and purses (lots of purses).
But they gained friends, a daughter, a son, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren—and all of their friends. And they were hospitable to all. So much hospitality! They provided hospitality for floods of friends at all times, and especially on the Fourth of July!
They fought back the floods in the basement that threatened the compressors.
Music filled the household: radio, records, piano lessons, violin repairs, and comedy routines on the accordion. Choirs and band practice and soundboards at church.
There was food: artichokes, unlimited shrimp, olives, sauce, chili, and sausage—literally tons of sausage.
They made trips around the world to serve children and to enjoy the creation. They have driven the highways of Hawaii and Northern Ireland and Canada. They have journeyed the long miles to New York and Florida, California and Washington to visit family and friends. They humored their daughter’s curiosity to visit the volcano terminus in Hawaii, explore dinosaur footprints in Texas, and sleep in a boxcar. And then there was that one Christmas eve night spent in the King’s cow barn.
They sent people to college and to the mission field. They helped their own children through countless years of higher education and supported them on the mission field.
They gave teenagers jobs, sometimes fired them, and even rehired them in a demonstration of grace.
They coached basketball teams and cheerleaders, taught the Bible in jails and backyards, in nursing homes, and at camps. They served in six churches, on one mission board, and in two Christian schools.
There were stitches, car accidents, broken windows, stolen cars, ambulance rides, horses, one dog named “Ugly”, and three rabbits.
There is artwork, a giraffe collection (one-sided) and more than enough books for one family (both are culpable).
These latter years have brought heart attacks and cancer, gout, blood pressure documentation, mechanical knees, and “Have you taken your medication?”
They have discovered the cost of food that you can’t walk out the back door of the market and have critiqued the layout, selection, and customer service of every grocery store within 50 miles of their house. They moved to a new state and found a new community of people to serve and be served by.
There was sin and anger, tears, frustration, and reconciliation. There has been grace and mercy, laughter and joy. And to quote Golda in The Fiddler on the Roof, “if that isn’t love, what is?”
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. Fifty years and faithfulness are a big deal, and I am so proud of you!