Thursday, January 08, 2009

Pondering 50 Years of Marriage

It’s another cold day in Southern Indiana. The wind is kicking up and cutting right through jackets, gloves, sweaters, and long johns. It is the kind of day that requires finding warmth from steaming cups of coffee or hot chocolate topped with whipped cream. A good wood-burning stove sitting next to your recliner would help as well. It’s the kind of day that found me bundled up in my thoughts, particularly about my mother and father-in-law, Harold and Bonnie.

Fifty years ago (January 5th, 1959) Harold and Bonnie pledged their love and devotion to each other in Holy Matrimony.

They gave birth to three beautiful girls…the oldest is my favorite wife. With God walking beside them they raised their girls to be fine women. They watched their “girls” marry, and then watched as grandchildren and great-grandchildren came along. In addition to their biological children, they also gave hope to more than 50 other children through their service as foster parents. In my mind, there is no greater crown bestowed than the jewel-filled crown of love given freely and abundantly.

Their 50 years wasn’t all rainbows and roses, though. They endured economic downturns, car wrecks and the deaths of loved ones. They suffered through financial burdens. They suffered through chronic physical pain. They suffered through their girls moving away from home and moving away from the area. In short, they suffered through more then their fair share of tough times.

Through both the good times and the troubled times their love for each other continued to blossom.

On this cold winter day, I am thoroughly warmed by the great example they have been to me. They have given me their heart. They have treated me more like a son than a son-in-law. They have taught me to give my heart even when it may be painful. And, they have taught me how to love their daughter through their sterling examples. That isn’t counting the times they have loaned me money they didn’t have, cars they could have sold, and a helping hand that was already weary from a hard day’s work.

The thought of their never giving up on each other, their family, or their friends chases the chill from my body. How refreshing it is to see two people who left father and mother, became one, and are sticking to it with style and dignity. These are people worthy of our praise. These are people worthy of our admiration. These are people worthy of being followed. These are people I wish you could know like I do. These are my in-laws!

Happy 50th Anniversary! I love you and thank you for all that you have been, are, and will be in the next 50 years of your marriage.

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