Today would be my parents’ 64th wedding anniversary. I picture them celebrating, healthy and whole once more, together with Jesus in paradise. And I smile through misty eyes as I think of the example they were and of the lessons I learned from them…
Oh, such lessons of love I see. Oh, dear sons and daughters, please pay attention.
As I prepare things for Mom’s bath, I hear Dad talking to Mom as they cuddle on the love seat. He says, “You’re my sweetheart and I love you big bunches!”
“Is that so?”
“We’ve been married for almost 59 years now. I met you just about this time, 59 years ago and you’ve been my sweetheart ever since!”
“Oh, my goodness!” Mom replies.
“And I love you big, big bunches!”
“I like you,” Mom answers.
Dad starts singing “Amazing Grace” as I finish getting things ready. I manage to get through The Battle of the Bath. It’s not pretty, but it never is. And then Mom, all clean and fresh in her flannel nightgown, finds Dad again. And after I clean things up I join them in the living room.
We watch the end of the news and chat a bit, and then Lawrence Welk comes on. It’s an old, black and white episode. And I sit there watching Dad concentrating on his beloved show, his arm lying across Mom’s lap, his hand near her knee. And I see Mom, leaning close up against him with her damp hair, as she strokes and pats his arm.
And it is such a picture of sweetness that my heart and eyes overflow.
And I think of my sons and daughters. And I want them to be with me right at this moment. I want them to look at their grandparents and see real love for what it is. I want them to “get it.”
I want them to understand that strength can falter, eyes may grow dim with age, and beauty will fade. But love keeps going. Love can keep growing even as legs get weak, and shoulders bow, and memories disappear.
Love can survive your spouse not knowing your name. Love can overcome dementia and Depends and the darkness of blindness.
And so I pray for my children. And I tell my daughters, when you look at a guy pay attention to how he treats his mom and sisters. That is a great indicator of how he will treat you. And I tell my sons, pay attention to how a girl treats her dad and brothers.
And I tell them all—find someone who loves God. Who really, really loves God.
And now I want to tell each of them….look at your grand-parents. And if you are ever tempted to divorce, think about them and all they’ve been through. And know that marriage can get sweeter with time and grow more precious with history. And love can last through everything with Jesus.
And someday, if the Lord tarries long enough, I hope you will be cuddling on a love seat with your dear one, after 59 years of marriage, singing “Amazing Grace.”
(Watching Lawrence Welk is optional.)