When New Year's rolls around inside my parent's white clapboard house nestled at the bottom of a mountain in Norway, mumbled prayers can be heard.
Because on a bitter, cold New Year's Eve in 1960, my Mom and Dad got married and started a tradition..
This December, for the 59th time or so, they once again hosted friends and family while celebrating 2020.
I cherish the fact that they are still together. If truth be told, Mom and Dad have a good marriage.
At 80 and 85 years old. I think they fit together like a professional base ball player's hand inside his favorite mitt or like chocolate chips inside a warm cookie.
Have they faced hard times you ask?
Mamma would laugh at the question and maybe share how she stopped runs in her nylon pantyhose with nail polish and only served her family deli meats on the weekend. (1, maximum 2 slices per person)
She'd also tell you of church troubles and losing loved ones abruptly, of going to Brooklyn to make enough money to build a house and of barely seeing her husband who built houses while shepherding human sheep. She could also elaborate on 8 hard childbirths and not finding much time for herself.
But instead, she might simply tell you about the picnics we enjoyed beside pristine lakes and she brought her homemade cakes and a thermos of coffee. Dad would tell you about grilling hot dogs and the kids swimming in icy water.
If my parents didn't always see eye to eye, how did they compromise you aski?
Well, when Dad couldn't blueberries stand the thought of wild blueberries going to waste in the mountains Mom succumbed to gathering them and turning bucket loads of berries into juice in her kitchen.
Give and take characterized their everyday life.Truckloads of patience and kindness did too.
My mom never went without slippers because Dad faithfully gave her a new pair each Christmas. And when Mom felt run-down and weepy, Dad rushed to the pharmacy and toted a big, brown bottle of liquid vitamins home.
I often elevate the concept of love into a rather lofty domain.
My parents don't. Instead their marriage foundation is constantly reinforced by acts of solicitude and kindness. These gestures are not simply contained between Mom and Dad but extend to a community of people.
I wonder why we call marriage an institution?
Could it be because a solid marriage is like an overarching structure that brings comfort, shelter and stability to so many more people than 2 individuals?
So why did I share these thoughts with you?
I did it to remind us that although divorce is commonplace and painful relationships abound, we can still draw hope and comfort from couples who model Christ to us.
May the God of all hope and comfort be your Helper in 2020 and may you leave behind a legacy of kindness that'll still speak 59 years from now.
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