The Gift of Gold
I recently returned from a wonderful visit to my hometown in Monroe, LA. The purpose of my visit was to join my family in celebrating the Golden Anniversary — 50 Years — of my parents marriage. Not only am I grateful to have been able to join my family in this celebration, I had the distinct privilege and honor to officiate the renewal of their wedding vows. Words cannot express the emotions that I experienced during the time of my visit and during the ceremony itself… while sharing the memories of 50 yrs out loud I came close to losing my composure on several occasions.
It is hard to encapsulate 50 yrs of love that has grown, matured, and endured through the trials and ecstasies of life. We welcome the joyful births of new members and we experience the grief of saying good-bye to others. The following is an excerpt from what I shared before leading my parents in the renewal of there commitment to one another.
We’ve all heard the saying “Love at first sight,” and some of us might even profess to have experienced it. While we might even remain with or still be with the person whom we claim to have experienced “love at first sight,” love really is something we learn and we grow in as we actually begin to experience it, both giving and receiving, having it tested, and then overcoming challenges to ultimately pass those tests of our love. We might be introduced to something that we will call love “at first sight” sometime later in our lives, but love really and truly takes time, commitment, perseverance, and selfless partnership. It doesn’t happen instantly and it certainly doesn’t happen at first sight.
1 Cor. 13:4-8 “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love never fails.”
All of you here know Floyd and Sandy and you may not consider their marriage journey typical of this verse of Scripture, but I’ve given the circumstances and events of our lives some deep consideration and have come to the conclusion that Daddy and Momma do live out this definition of love…even if it is through their own expression of it.
There was a time when it was doubtful this marriage would see 25 years, much less a 50th anniversary… but Love never fails. Through patience and never giving up, Daddy and Momma persevered through the turmoil I brought to them during my young adult life. Tensions experienced while working through what it means to “not have one’s own way” were a testing time for love at one stage of their marriage journey, but love is hopeful, keeps no record of wrong doing and rejoices when truth wins out. Love won that test of Floyd and Sandy’s marriage.
A partnership that had been strengthened by love tested was essential upon the arrival of son, Jonathan, in 1986. Walking together through those years that followed was a time of even deeper strengthening of the bonds of their love and would prove critical for an even greater test that came with the tragic loss and passing of daughter and sister, Candy. Only the grace of God and the maturity of tested love could have carried our family through these times, but love never fails…and with Floyd and Sandy it has endured, seemingly, through every circumstance.
Today, on this celebration of 50 married years, I do feel that I have witnessed and been a part of a marriage and family that is deeply rooted in love. Has it been perfect? Is any relationship perfect? I think the answer is no on both counts, but I know I have witnessed and continue to witness a love that is in the process of being perfected… and this comes from people who are committed to the process of being perfected—not easy, not painless, and sometimes not very pretty. It is a process; however, that is based on mutual surrender and submission with unconditional acceptance of the other’s faults, foibles, and flounders always quick to forgive, looking forward with hope because love endures through every circumstance and most importantly: Love never fails.
Gold is precious. Gold straight from the earth isn’t nearly as coveted as gold that has been processed and refined…polished and adorned. I’m fortunate to have been a part of this process with my parents. I’m blessed to have witnessed their refinement and to witness today the “oneness” they share with each other. I am a very blessed man indeed. I have included a small gallery of photos from the evening we celebrated my Dad and my Mom.