ANNIVERSARIES…are a time of remembrance, reflecting back on what has gone before, what has brought one to this time and place. And I believe the longer the period, the more revered it is. We have had many over the life of our nation, and more keeps getting added. 4th of July, Pearl Harbor, D-Day, 9-11, you name it.
Recently, actually December 27th, Joanne and I celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary with our daughters and most of our grandchildren. Then Becky, our eldest, planned an amazing event where we celebrated with family and lots of our friends who have walked with us some portion of our years. The neat thing is, Joanne and I were here to celebrate it together, in person.
During the evening I read a very short poem to her. I’ll share it with you.
I met you at a sock hop, you were 14 and cute as a bug;
And on that dance floor, you could really cut a rug.
That very night you captured my heart;
And five years later we vowed, ‘till death do us part’.
Has not been perfect, but it has been great;
Remember, you wore blue velvet on our very first date.
Two daughters and five grandchildren whom we dearly love;
Like you, each one a gift from heaven above.
God’s grace has been evident in every circumstance;
Now, Evelyn Joanne Paschall Dotson, may I have this next dance?
(Followed by the song, Blue Velvet by Bobby Vinten)
Why am I sharing this with you? Some people are amazed at long-term marriages, especially today. Many ask, ‘how did you make it this far?’ I hope you will see the answer in the poem. Marriage of two fallen sinners, two genders with each having certain expectations, varying agendas, hopes and dreams; coming together for life is far from a walk in the park. But is it worth it—you bet! Someone has said that each spouse is God’s sandpaper for the other. I agree. Shaping us into one!
During this time of celebration, Joanne shared some verses from Lamentations that got me to thinking. The message comes right after a familiar verse—3:23. “They (his mercies) are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness”. It goes on—“The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him! The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone and keep silent, because God has laid iton him; let him put his mouth in the dust—there may yet be hope.”
When a husband and a wife are in the early years, much stress falls upon them as they move, hopefully together, into the formation of a family; into the journey of oneness’. I think that is what the writer is saying to us. ‘It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth. Sit alone and keep silent!’ During these years, the tendency is to throw in the towel, hit the road and be relieved of the enormous responsibilities, or differences. At least that is what their false mindset seems to be telling them. I ask you—did Jesus avoid the cross? NO!!!
I can remember numerous times, because of my issues, when I simply had to go to my empty church and be with God. I didn’t want anyone to see me or talk to me. I traveled to Sky Ranch one time just to sit under a tree next to a lake and meditate. Why? I have not a clue, but it seemed right to do it at that moment. To pray, and weep and beg him to hear me! (Let me tell you, it’s far better than the local bar.) As I reflect on the verses above, God was ‘putting my mouth in the dust’. And there you start receiving hope. At least I did.
Endure and prosper
Dads, husbands, do you want your marriage and relationships to endure and even prosper? Guard your ways, bear up to your responsibilities, stay the course, seek his mercy—it is new every single morning. It has been for me, and for Joanne. It won’t be perfect, but it will be great! Your kids might even throw you a party.