My parents were over for dinner the other day - they sat side by side opposite Allan and I at the table.
It was a typical family dinner.
There was lots of loud conversation, lots of debate and dissenting positions. My dad raises his expressive eyebrows as my Mom adds some of her unique "irishness" to a story, she swats him with her napkin and he chuckles quietly. He corrects a detail or date in the story, she pauses and looks at him, makes a decision about whether to argue or not, decides not to, and carries on with the story.
As I watch this familiar patter between them, the looks they exchange, the way he pushes her buttons and she rarely disappoints in her reaction, and then how they mostly often end up laughing together... I see in them the truth of the heart of marriage.
The two have become one and yet neither is any less for that fact. The becoming one has made each of them more completely who they are.
They challenge one another, frustrate one another, push one another, create space for one another, champion each other, serve one another, pray together, take long walks and great adventures and while occasionally there are tears, more often there is laughter.
Today they have been married for 50 years.
I could not be prouder of their perseverance and integrity, for the hard work they have done on this 50 year journey and for the family they have raised, the friends they have gathered and the rich and nourishing life they have made together.
While obviously I owe my existence to this marriage, I owe a far greater debt for the lesson of love it and they have shown and taught me.
Mom, Dad.... Thank you for choosing love for 50 years. For showing up in your own lives and in mine and Jill's and our families. For modelling love, acceptance, accountability, integrity, faith and making the most of any situation.
I love you both more than I can every properly express and today I am humbled and grateful for you, for 50 years of your love.
As we celebrate today, as we laugh and no doubt debate and dissent, as eyebrows raise and looks are exchanged - we will know that this journey was sustained by more than just you, more than just us...that God has been, is and will be the author and perfecter of all things.
I love you.