"Romance is romance, and sex is sex, but reality is reality."
That might not make much sense to you, but in the context of the conversation I just had with a woman who has been married 55 years, this makes so much sense. It also makes sense to me, who has "only" been married a little over 2 years.
I'm feeling immeasurably thankful right now for those who have walked the roads of marriage before me, most of whom are still walking it...
Vivian and Robert... married about 40 years. [then Vivian passed...]
Libby and Robert... married 17 years.
Joan and Richard... married 55 years.
Diane and Terry... married 30 years.
Trish and Frankie... married 21 years.
Josh and Stacey... married 3 1/2 years.
This is my family history, full of marriages long-lasting, still going strong, still bending and stretching; enjoying each other, rolling with the punches, hurting each other, forgiving each other, taking care of each other.
Our family knows full well what taking care of each other looks like in the last month, even the last couple of years. My grandparents are reaching their fullness, in many ways. Hearts are failing, muscles are tiring out, weary eyes are tired from sleepless nights on hospital chairs, turned fold-out bed, which in some ways reminds you of sleeping on lumpy concrete. The ending of life is a mysterious thing that takes pieces of those left-behind. But with the ending of life comes the ending of marriage. And the ending of marriage is another thing. It is the fullness of the commitment made so many years back. A promise kept. Even for all the promises you broke in between... "I will take the trash out," or "I'll stop; I promise not to do it again." There is one promise kept... "'Til death do us part."
All around me I see the rubble and dust of marriages fallen, promises unkept. And this isn't a blog about judging why others divorce; I am not speaking to the hurt of abuse and unfaithfulness (though marriages have survived that through the healing grace of Christ Jesus). This is me, so thankful for the images of marriage, so thankful for the togetherness of my family. It has shaped me, in ways I will never fully understand and am only now beginning to open my eyes to.
I am so much of who I am because of being "found" in a family, of knowing the safety and love of a family. My family.... Vivian, Robert, Libby, Richard, Joan, Trish, Frankie, Diane, Terry, Josh, Stacey. They have held me; they continue to hold me.
[I stand amazed...]