Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Twenty-Five to Life

Twenty-five years ago today I stood in my father’s backyard in a borrowed suit and stammered out the words “I do.”

I said the words passionately, seriously. I meant them. It was the most serious sort of statement I can make. A vow.

This year I marked my 50th birthday, and as of today I have spent one half of those years with my beautiful wife, Brenda.

I was a very different guy then. I knew everything. Typical 25 year old.

I don't know everything anymore. In fact, it is amazing the immensity of my ignorance. But that is part of the fun, isn't it? Trying to drink the ocean with a teaspoon.

But back then I was pretty sure of myself.

We had been living in the small hamlet of Timber, Oregon, up in the coastal range, along the Nehalem River. Money was tight, there was very little work to be found. I did odd jobs, cooked in a local cafe, raised animals.

We did silly things then to make ends meet. There were rabbits for food, chickens for eggs (and the occasional soup), goats for milk. I had a small garden. I was an ineffectual hunter and gatherer. I was raising a goose for a special occasion, which turned out to be our wedding day. Like a couple of hicks we packed our clothes in some old suitcases and a backpack from my hitchhiking days and flew a thousand miles to be with my family (since my dad was footing the bill). I even took along the dressed goose as my contribution.

We’ve been through quite a bit. A long road. It isn’t the distance that wears these old vehicles out. It’s the terrain.

But it really hasn’t been so long in many ways. The years fly by, ever more quickly.

The dozen years we’ve had these boys seems to have sped right by.

“Until death us do part...”

A lifetime with one person is increasingly rare today. My father’s fifth marriage is ending. Brenda’s dad has been married four times.

I’ll admit that there were times when I thought we weren’t going to make it. Marriage is a difficult endeavor. But it has been worth it.

Today we finish each other’s thoughts. A few weeks ago, in response to something one of our kids said at the table, we said three short sentences in unison. We think that much alike.

So it is twenty-five years down, and the rest of my life to go.

But then it ends. Jesus said something about not being married in Heaven (Matthew 22:30).

Then we will have different lives to live. Eternal ones. And twenty-five years will seem a very small thing.

Just as I seriously swore to love only one woman until we are parted by death, I have sworn to love only one God, and that vow stretches beyond the grave.

Some may see marriage as some sort of prison sentence, lack of freedom, lack of choices. But for me it is a gift.

I’m glad that I have received “twenty-five to life.”

I love you Brenda.


Jim said...

This is a nice Thanksgiving eve post. You are taking inventory and realizing how much you really have to be thankful for.
Your Dad--when I turned 70 I was going to run away for a couple of weeks. Seventy is a hard birthday. I even prepared Mrs. Jim for that. Then daughter, Karen, invited both of us to NYC to watch her run the NYC Marathon. Running away ideas were ended.
My ex has been married now for about fifteen years on her fourth marriage. It takes some longer than others to be happy.

Ame said...

Congratulations! I love the pic :)

Marriage is a gift ~ a beautiful gift. One I would love to open again someday.

May God continue to bless your marriage in deep and meaningful ways. May you continue to be the kind of husband Brenda needs, adores, and loves.

jel said...

Congrtulations, this is a cool picture! May you 2 hve many more together!

Happy Thanksgiving
may it be a Blessing to you and your family!

MMM said...

Happy Anniversary! Man, I would have loved to be there; you guys look like the coolest hippie couple ever! :)

Anonymous said...


It's nice to know some people still recognize marriage for the blessing it is and take their vows seriously.

Julie and I just celebrated our eigth anniversary last month and have been together for eleven years. Neither one of us could imagine ever being apart.

Happy anniversary and....

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


curious servant said...

Thanks for your comments. Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving.


Looney Mom said...

How awesome. A rare feat indeed. Congratulations on 25. I pray you have many more together. Happy Thanksgiving.

see-through faith said...

terrific post.

happy life together.

Blessed thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

What a great post. It is so inspiring to here words like that from someone who has been married for 25 yrs...instead of the cynical, sarcastic stuff that so many people seem to say.


Cinder said...

Congratulations...awesome post...hope you had a very Happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

jollybeggar said...

hey cs, great to read your voice again. i missed you. i was just thinking about you yesterday.

yes, congratulations and blessings, my friend.

by the way, great 'before and after' shots!


Kathleen Marie said...

Oh my does that photo and outfit look familiar! Ha! We got married in my hubbies parents backyard. We knew "everything" we now, four kids and one grandchild later "no nothing".

God is so good! He keeps us hungry and humble for him. Loved the photos!

Coco said...

Congratulations on your 25 years of marriage! WOW!! This is so awesome!!

*marriage is not easy, and at times it is very difficult-
but with God's love/help, marriage as you said is a "gift".

Blessings to you and your family.

Take Care!

thank you for sharing the pictures

Anonymous said...

Dear C.S. Thannk you for visiting.
Congratulation with the silver jubelee nad a happy Thanksgiving to you all.
I'm well, but busy and so it will be for at least a year. I am, however very much enjoying reading Job's Tale and Judas Hate.
The two of you make a rare pair of writers.

squirrel said...

How beautiful and touching she says choking back tears!!!!


Anonymous said...

hi, CS. that was beautiful! happy anniversary!!! that's just so sweet. God bless you both. =)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the two of you. Dearest one and I will be celebrating #25 in February.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for another blessed 25 years!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry I am a bit late for the congrats to you both! Wow! This was a most wonderful loving post you wrote and I'll bet your loving wife feels much the same way. You are one romantic guy! She's a blessed gal and I'll bet she is a sweetheart! God bless you both and may you have many more years to come. Take care. Suzanne
from SincerelyMyThoughts