The last few days have led me to reflect on the state of life I find myself at on the occasion of my 40th wedding anniversary along with my bride Wendy. Something led us to a desire to renew our vows in church and to invite family, a few friends including those who were part of our wedding party. I must admit, as the event drew near, it was Wendy doing all the work and paying attention to all the details. I, for my part, have been up to here with work concerns over these past three months and trying to keep up with various ministry responsibilities. Having just finishing up a wedding for a fine young couple, I did suggest various prayers, readings and songs to Wendy for the vow renewal ceremony.
All would come into focus as the big day to renew our vows was just a day away. Somehow, someway, I managed to get away from work on what would prove to be a very busy Friday and I walked in to my home only to see my son Jimmy and #1 grandson Calvin at the table. I'm not sure how I reacted because it was such a surprise! I never thought that Jimmy could arrange such a surprise with his work and family dynamic but there he was along with our first-born grandchild. We had a delightful Friday night get together over crawfish and shrimp. It was so incredible to realize what an incredible gift of self this was and how much unexpected joy both Wendy and I experienced by this surprise visit.
On Saturday morning I met both my children, and Calvin, at the church hall to prepare for the event. Jimmy and Elizabeth worked very hard to set up the hall, get the food ready and drinks iced down. Meanwhile Elizabeth's husband Mark was home making delicious food to be enjoyed at the event.
Despite a heavy rain that fell intermittently, Wendy and I were ready to renew vows. We greeted family and friends and yes, several old friends from the wedding party. It was quite moving and appreciated that so many worked so hard to be with us for our event. Guests came from Texas and north Louisiana, others delayed a vacation by a day; all were present with us. The best man at our wedding, now a Deacon, presided at the vow renewal. Several of my brother Deacons and their wives were also present.
Deacon Ray struck all the right themes in his homily and in offering a special blessing for us. Before we knew it, the vows were renewed and we were over at the reception. Our gathering was intimate enough that we were able to visit with everyone, especially the friends we have not seen in more than 10 years.
We had a great time and so much lagniappe in still having more visit time with Jimmy and Calvin before they returned to North Carolina. Wendy and I enjoyed some nice time together over the course of Sunday and Monday too, not worrying about work or the world around us, just spending time together as we cherish the gift of 40 years of sacramental love.
I thought a lot about what these days have taught me; love truly must be patient and kind, our lives together must be salt and light, to one another and to all those we encounter, friends are priceless, even if presence is not always an option, and we do(well I do), worry about too much I can't control.
I am very blessed to have found the one God created for me oh so long ago and that we still cherish our "oneness" as man and wife. I am so thankful for the love of children, grandchildren, family and friends. And most importantly, as I shared in my little talk Saturday; we are thankful for the love of God, the belief that marriage takes three with God in the center, that we both acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior and as the one who walks with us in our married life and that the gifts of the Holy Spirit strengthen us to live out the love that God calls us to, as a husband and wife, relying on the graces of this beautiful Sacrament!