Lucky 13

Carrie and Jon wedding bubblesToday, my wife and I celebrate 13 years of marriage together.

As I look back over the pictures from that hot and humid day in Woodstock, Connecticut all those years ago, it’s hard to not get emotional as I see so many faces of loved ones who aren’t here anymore. Life has changed since we got married. Friends have changed since we got married. We have changed since we got married.

A little less than 3 months after we got married, the world changed on September 11th, 2001. It’s interesting to think about our honeymoon in Bermuda and how it would have been different had it come a few months later.

We’ve wanted to celebrate our anniversaries more significantly than we have. We’ve wanted to take another trip, but life hasn’t afforded us that privilege. The last three years have been a roller coaster, not between us, but in our family, in our church, in our life.

Through it all, I can’t think of a better person with whom to spend this time. When I need a laugh, she is there. When I need to cry, there is her shoulder. When I need a gentle word, she speaks it. When I need silence, she offers it.

She has endured much through these 13 years. She married an engineer who turned into a pastor. She left her family behind to move states away. She finished her Master’s degree by distance and travel, enduring much of the home stretch through the sickness of pregnancy. She supported my seminary education and ordination process and made it possible for me to be gone for studies and classes.

In some ways, it feels like yesterday, in other ways, as I look back over this landscape of our lives, it feels like 13 years. God has done work in both of us, we are different, I think and hope that we are better.

Yes, today we celebrate. God has made my world brighter because of who he’s given me. God has made me stronger because of the training partner that I have had. God has made me gentler because of the precious and tender gift that he has given me through my wife.  We’ve been blessed with three great kids that always keep us on our toes, pushing us, challenging us, and making us laugh.

I’m looking forward to celebrating more with you in the future.  Today, here’s to you and all that you do!

With all of my love!

An Anniversary In Heaven

tony and irene wedding46 years ago today, my parents were married.  They had met a little less than a year before, on January 23, 1967 at a roller skating rink with a church group.  They were engaged on July 4, 1967, and then on January 13, 1968, they were married.  This is their first anniversary together in heaven.

The road to my parents’ marriage was not an easy one.  Both of them had difficulties during their years of growing up.  Abusive or alcoholic parents.  Poverty.  There were certainly more difficult upbringings than they had, but there were simpler ones as well.

My grandma, my dad’s mom wasn’t fond of my mom.  He was the youngest, the baby, and it was probably difficult for her to find anyone who could meet her standards.  My dad was thrown out of the house for dating my mom.  He lived at the seminary.  My mom typed his seminary papers.  They persevered.

In Matthew 22:30 Jesus says, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.”  While there isn’t a need for marriage in heaven (the bride and Bridegroom will be together), that doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t know each other as we did on earth.  Our celebrations will be different there, they will center around the ultimate wedding feast.

So, there’s really no need for them to celebrate their marriage to each other, just their marriage to the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, but it’s a celebration.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about them or miss them.  Today, I celebrate them together.  There is sadness for me, but not for them.  There is loss for me, but not for them.

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad.  I hope you’re celebrating well.  Thanks for finding each other, because you did, I’m here.  I miss you and love you.  I’ll see you again someday…..