Tuesday, June 10, 2008

23,010 Mornings and Counting

Today is my parents' 64th wedding anniversary. That means (except for the year or so they spent apart while my father served his country as captain of a US Navy ship during WW2) that they have gone to bed and waked up approximately 23,010 times and counting. They still - after all these days and years - go up the stairs to their room each evening together. They may not always get up at the same time, but they always disappear to bed at approximately the same time.

Last night when I spoke with them they were planning to do their traditional wedding anniversary thing of driving up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, having lunch and "taking a hike." They are both 87. I was thinking about that hike a little while ago. I don't think I plan to be hiking (especially on a hot June day in North Carolina) when I'm 67 much less 87.

Their love affair has brought six children, 21 grandchildren and 12 plus great-grandchildren so far. Their love has lasted through good times and tough times. My father has always described my mother as "the most beautiful woman in the world" and I'm confident that she is exactly that to his eyes! He still opens doors for her and carries things like groceries in for her.

One day I was talking to them on the phone from Pittsburgh to North Carolina. My mother said she had to go get ready to go to her water aerobics class. All of a sudden I realized I was talking and no one was on the other end. Mother had gone to get ready for her class, and my dad immediately put the phone down and went out to start the car for her. Never mind that I was talking on the phone to them!

They met almost 72 years ago on a hot summer afternoon near where they now live. My dad was at the Naval Academy, and my mother was a counselor at a Christian camp. Daddy stood looking over "the girls" with his cousin. He picked out the girl in the green checked skirt as the one he wanted to meet. And, as they say, the rest is history!

What in the world does this story - sweet as it is - have to do with A Restoration Church? Well, a lot because, you see, my parents know what God's restoring love and grace is in their own hearts. They model His love and grace in living color to all who know them. When I think of my parents and their years together, I can't help but also think of the words Steve Green sings in "Find Us Faithful":

We're pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift though all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find.

What an awesome legacy! It's one restoration heart leading the way and modeling the way for others! It is family love and bonds that show our broken world just what family needs to be!

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