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.