I realize not many couples achieve 65 years of marriage. I don't expect we will—unless we both live past 100! So this really is something to celebrate. And these folks came for a party! I didn't see anyone who looked lonely. At some point I think everyone connected with someone else from their past.
Dad and Mom stood by the door and greeted people as they poured in and trickled out. There were plenty of hugs, laughs, and squeals. It really was a delightful gathering!
And it occurs to me that we celebrated Dad and Mom, but we also celebrated friendship. These bonds were as thick as blood (about a third of us were family), as deep as the roots of a tree, and as strong as the strands of a cord. These were people Dad and Mom had cried with, prayed with, laughed with, led in the children and youth programs at church, and babysat. I was the 4-year-old flower girl in the wedding of one couple. My dad and his cousin have laid thousands of yards of carpet together. Mom has served more cups of coffee to these friends over the years than you could count. But who's counting anyway? These were the kind of friends that you hold dear, just because you are in one another's lives, and you don't want to lose the sweetness of it all. This was a celebration, all right. Dad and Mom were the cause of it, but joy was the spirit of it, and love, and all those sweet memories that we recall, and the ones we make each time we enter into life with those who happen to be there at the time.
I offer these photos, not because they are so sharp and clear and the color is so good—because they just didn't turn out very well—but because they represent the love across the generations that we experienced yesterday. If you came, thank you so much. We were so glad to have you there. If you didn't, we wish you'd been there too.
So here are the photos, in celebration of love, be it in marriage or in friendship!
Michael W Smith's song Friends is playing in my mind this morning, as I think about the friends God has brought into my life. Thank you, Dad and Mom, for living modeling friendship for us, as well as how to love well and long.