In a couple of years, Jan and I will approach the 50-year mark of marriage. That span of time has included a lot of anniversaries and birthdays. Over those many years, Jan has saved all the cards I bought for her to go with flowers and gifts honoring her special days. Someday, boxes filled with those cards will be left behind for our kids.
The cards are filled with affirmations of love and commitment. They don’t include details about our seasons of challenge and struggle. There is no mention of our struggle as a young couple learning how to live with each other or the financial obstacles God miraculously overcame for us as young pastors who lived from offering to offering or the unexpected health challenges that paid unwanted visits later in life.
Half of the cards were written in our 20’s, 30’s and 40’s when our bodies were young, supple, and without any evidence of aging. Those years were a time of raising our kids and following our calling while trying to figure out what we wanted to be when we grew up. The other half of the cards record messages written in our 50’s, 60’s, and now as we enter the decade of our 70’s. Our final decades of life will leave behind a record of a maturing love, one that is preparing to finish well awaiting our entrance into eternity where one of us will be waiting for the other’s arrival.
Someday after Jan and I are gone, and the kids look through hundreds of cards written over time the cards will affirm important life lessons. They will remember all the issues of life that were in play at the time of writing. The words recorded will affirm for them that love is so powerful that it grows stronger and healthier during seasons of life’s challenge if a mutual commitment is strong and in place. They will see that love always desires to take the higher road even when heartache and the pain of living are present. Hopefully, the messages left behind will affirm for our kids the power of a loving commitment made over time between two people, a commitment that only grows stronger under the loving Lordship of Jesus Christ.