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We were so young.
So naive about life and love and what it meant to say yes
for a lifetime.
We planned a wedding.
I made the announcements in my high school graphics class and
your mom made our cake.
A family friend made the ‘bridesmaids’ dresses
and my grandmother made mine.
Forty one years ago on this day, November 3rd 1973.
We stood before friends and family and promised to stay together.
Till death parted us.
We listened to our ‘pastor friend’ say a prayer of blessing over us.
We listened to the yearning of our ‘young hearts cry’ to belong
to someone.
And we said yes.
We promised to love each other through sickness and health.
Oh my were we tested on that one.
I was sick for nearly ten years, not only physically but emotionally.
And you stayed.
As you watched me struggle with internal memories and depression that nearly tore us apart
and we struggled through relationship ups and downs
and we stayed.
Our babies came and grew into children and we watched
in amazement and wonder how we raised them together.
For richer or poorer
and we stayed.
Yes we had those times of living paycheck to paycheck.
Sometimes I felt very poor when opening the cupboard or refrigerator but we made it and we never went hungry our bills were not always on time but they were paid and
we were rich in experiences and friendships who encouraged us.
We chose on this day to be a family.
It meant a lot as my own was pretty fragmented and broken.
I didn’t really understand the concept
other than from watching assorted TV shows that showed a family.
We have strengthened each other, challenged each other and
in seasons we grew apart in different directions
but always returning to our commitment to each other and
the promises we made on this day forty one years ago
we would stay.
Later as the ‘grown children’ became adults and were married.
Challenges came along with each tiny new grand child
some were preemies and we learned to pray differently
for we were now new grand parents rekindling the need
for us to stay.
We have been on our knees over and over in a posture of prayer.
The grand children are growing and we are still praying
for protection and love and for them to love and know the Lord.
We are heading into our sixties and it is called our sunset years.
We promised to stay till death parts us and we do stay.
Retirement and plans to travel are in our future.
We have learned to give and let go.
We have learned to understand and forgive.
We have learned that life is not often easy.
But that is a part of the joy of choosing.
1st Corinthians 13 says:
love is patient; love is kind. 
Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, 
endures all things.
Love never ends.  
It is the process of walking together that makes it comfortable.
Today I am remembering so many things about our forty one years.
Our love has been tested but never ends and as we are growing old together
may our love grow stronger and our testimony
be an example to those who watch and observe and pray with us.
Today I am remembering the many reasons we choose to stay.

silly man in my photo