The pictures circulating through my digital photo frame just projected a sepia tone picture of Dave’s parents with him as a two-year-old sitting on Mom’s lap. Shortly after that, a picture comes up showing Grandma and Grandpa Gibbs with their family of three girls, one of them being Dave’s mom. In retirement I find myself having the time to savor experiences rather than merely race through them. So when Dave’s aunt and uncle stopped in to spend the night on their trek from Florida to Upstate New York, we four talked genealogy, faith, and family. Their visit and the photos streaming through digital frame reminded me of the treasure and stability of lifelong marriages.
Dave’s maternal grandparents, Grandma and Grandpa Gibbs, married March 27, 1912 and spent the next 66 years together — from Western New York to the Pacific Northwest to Japan to Indiana, and back to New York. In the next generation, Dave’s parents tied the knot on June 9, 1938 and had 61 years of marriage.They raised three boys, moving from New York to Japan and back to New York. After all the boys went out on their own, Mom and Dad even spent seven years in Honolulu. And Dave’s aunt and uncle will celebrate their 61st anniversary this June.
When Brent and Becky married, almost 12 years ago now, Becky’s Dad and I sang a duet of Steve Green’s song, “Cherish the Treasure.” We practiced and even had the kids stand in the choir room during one of our rehearsals to see if we could sing the song without tears. The lyrics I can recall remind me of the commitment we each make in a marriage. “I cherish the treasure, the treasure of you; life-long companion, I give myself to you. God has enabled me to walk with you faithfully, and cherish the treasure, the treasure of you.” Marriage begins with a vow we make before “God and these witnesses.” As the years pass, we learn to value each other in a myriad of ways. However, as humans, we can always fall back to sheer self-centeredness. It is God who strengthens us, teaching us to remain faithful to each other. So Aunt Betty and Uncle Nelson, we loved having you visit this week, and we draw great encouragement from your marriage. Thanks for the example you set for us all.