Yesterday I stepped off the plane, returning from a visit with my parents. The highlight was celebrating their 60th anniversary—WOW, 60 years! And we love each other more deeply with every passing year. I’ve been in awe the last couple days, pondering, How did we become a loving family?
The last couple weeks I’d invested every spare moment into planning the open house. I even put together a movie which we played in the background throughout the evening, starting with the old slides of us kids as babies and family vacations, up to the modern day photos of celebrating Dad and Mom’s birthdays with us wearing hillbilly teeth and dark sunglasses. (And yes, when possible, we’d sing Happy Birthday after taking a deep breath of helium so we could sound like the chipmunks…some folks never grow up.)
Last Friday night the three of us kids decorated the Youth Building at Mom and Dad’s church with balloons and flowers. The caterer brought in food, cake, and a punch fountain then a couple of Dad and Mom’s friends came to help. I was hoping for a good turn-out in spite of the fact that it was Memorial Day weekend and besides the fact that Mom is 86 and Dad’s almost 85, most of their contemporaries are long gone. But I needn’t have worried. The fun began when they and over 150 of their friends filtered in. Even Mom’s Maid of Honor—from 60 years ago graced us with her presence (what are the chances of that?). I was honored and humbled that so many came to pay tribute to them and again I pondered, Why?
At the end of the evening I felt like a part of the royal family as we sat on the stage and the cameras flashed. Perhaps we even looked and sounded like the perfect family. But how can families be perfect? When you take imperfect man and pair him with an imperfect woman then sprinkle on a couple imperfect kids who grow into wild teenagers…that’s a recipe for disaster.
But families and friendships aren’t about agreeing 100% of the time or being perfect. They’re about supporting each other by having the mercy to forgive and the grace to love…in spite of. And the only way that it’s possible is through Christ. Tonight when I place my head on the pillow, I’ll be marveling at how our family’s faith in Christ has held us through the storms of life and that God will continue to faithfully support us with each passing year.
And I’m praying that your faith in Him gives you hope, grace, mercy, peace, and most of all—love in spite of….