This August, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. What a milestone! Our entire family gathered on Labor Day weekend to celebrate with them.
My parents’ marriage has been marked by much joy–six daughters to raise, sixteen grandchildren, wonderful friendships, and rich experiences. They have weathered significant storms as well–caring for children with chronic illnesses, a job that was at times very stressful and demanding, the death of a newborn son and a 35-year-old daughter. The loss of a grandson at birth. Through the sunlit days and the dark storms, they have remained faithful to their vows to love and support one another. Their marriage has been a source of joy and strength for them and for our whole family. Their example of love has breathed life into my marriage and those of my sisters as well. We are so grateful.
The weekend was wonderful. It is difficult to get such a large group together since we hail from many different cities and states. But when it happens, it’s fabulous–a time full of joy and celebration. Our family has been so blessed.
Jaime and I were talking about the experience one evening, a few days after we returned home. After a brief silence, he asked, “Do you think we will have 50 years together?” I felt my throat tighten. We don’t often have these types of conversations. They are frightening. And of course, we can only guess at the answer. But sometimes, those questions that weigh on our hearts but rarely make it to our lips, have to be voiced.
When Jaime and I were married, I was experiencing excellent health. My lung function was comfortably in the 80s. I had very few limitations, if any. I knew my health could change. Jaime knew my health could change. We had front row seats to the devastating effects of cystic fibrosis. But my reality was so different at the time that it was hard to imagine the struggles that have since invaded our lives and our marriage. At that time, 50 years seemed possible. But now?
My favorite Psalm is Psalm 139. It speaks of God’s intimate love for us and His faithfulness to us throughout our entire lives–from the moment He gives us life until our last breath. Verse 16 says,
Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
I don’t know how many years of life I will have or how many years of marriage we will enjoy. But God does. My days may be cut short by human standards, but it will still be a full, complete life. I will live not one second more or one second less than what God, in His sovereignty, has already ordained. I will be here until the work that He has set out for me on this earth is done. That brings so much comfort.
Will Jaime and I have 50 years? I hope so. I want to experience the same type of long, satisfying marriage my parents have enjoyed. I want to pass on that legacy of love to my son. I adore my life, my husband and my boy. I want to be here to experience all the joys and all the struggles–to share those sunlit days and dark storms together. I want to see my hair change to gray, the lines on my face deepen, to have the joy of holding a grandchild in my arms.
We pray for miracles–that God might heal me, and that a cure might be found. We pray that medical advancements will be made that will greatly extend my life, or that God would simply give me the strength to continue on with a compromised body. In the meantime, we give thanks that our lives are safely held in God’s hands. Fifty years seems unlikely right now. But no matter how many years we have, we are so grateful to spend them together fulfilling our vows to love and support one another in sickness and in health.