Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The next 30 years

Yesterday Ellen and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.  In a way the celebration has been going on all month - last weekend we had a long visit with most of the kids and all the grandkids in celebration - but yesterday was The Day.  We had a quiet day away, just us two, running over to Frankenmuth to be "fudgies" for the day (something that Ellen pointed out we'd never done without little ones!)  It was subdued and low-budget, but all the more charming for that.  Lunch in the snack shop at Bronner's - where we took all the time we wished to browse around - and a dinner of sausages and cheese and veggies and wine at a little roadside park on the shores of Lake Huron.  Someday we may be able to do something more costly, like retrace our honeymoon route (not that that would be all that expensive), but this year a subdued celebration seemed more appropriate.

For some reason the 30th is making me stop and think more than, say, the 25th did, even though the 25th is supposed to be the more notable milestone.  Perhaps it's because our life circumstances are truly different now.  On our 25th we still had kids in school, and were in the thick of graduations and open houses and all.  We lived in the same house we'd lived in for 20 years, and things were pretty much as they'd been for most of our marriage.

Now, at 30 years, we live in a different house, are more or less empty nesters, and our focus is shifting from supporting our children to supporting our children's families.  Also, three decades is a long time - longer than some people's entire lives, and (sadly) longer than many marriages last.  It's the kind of span of time that causes one - or at least one like me - to meditate on the path traveled, and how well or poorly one has done along it.  I'm probably a poor judge standing at a poor vantage point, but I'm pondering more things.

If there's one thing 30 years has taught me it's the importance of love.  Not just romantic, "in-loveness" love, but sacrificial charity that gets up every morning and expends effort on behalf of others.  That's the love that bears fruit.  What we've achieved in 30 years of marriage has been due to that kind of love.  The feelings come and go and come again, and they're great in their way.  But the thing that matters, the thing I can build on, is that Ellen is always there, and will always love me.

That's why 30 years is, in a sense, a big deal, but in another sense it's not.  We didn't leap 30 years in a single jump, but in thousands of little jumps: each day we got up and by God's grace stayed true to the vows we'd taken to one another.  He promised to help us keep them, and He did.  That's why the next 30 aren't that intimidating: so long as they come at us one day at a time, we'll handle them the way we handled the first 30.


Ted Way said...

Congratulations and may God continue to bless your marriage! Your godly example is an encouragement to the way God desires us to live!

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