Initially, my mom and dad didn’t care much for each other but that began to change during adolescence and their interest in one another increased as they entered into adulthood. Coming of age during the turbulent decade of the 1960’s, my father enlisted in the United States Marine Corps while my mom, who is two years my dad’s junior, entered community college upon finishing high school.
They wrote to each other regularly while my dad was in Vietnam and saw each other the few times he was able to make it home. Over time they realized that they had fallen in love. Months after my dad finished his time of active service in the military, my parents were married in May of 1970 and officially began their life together. Less than a year later, my brother, Chip was born. I came along in 1973 and my sister joined our family in 1975.
Life seemed good as they began preparing for the years ahead as a family. But for reasons known only to God, the road ahead would not be an easy one. An unspeakable tragedy struck our family in February of 1976 when my brother, who had contracted some type of viral infection, unexpectedly stopped breathing on that fateful Valentine’s Day evening. They rushed him to the hospital and my father, who was working the midnight shift at a brass factory at the time, hurried to the hospital. By the time my dad got there my brother was gone.
They raised my sister and me in a loving and supportive environment and modeled a God-honoring marriage. They cared for us, provided for us and perhaps, knowing that we could be taken from them at any moment, had a greater appreciation of the blessed gift that children are. They provided a spiritual foundation that no doubt has contributed to what I am doing with my life today. I can say with a fair degree of certainty that had my parents given up on their marriage that I would likely not be where I am today.
They demonstrated the grace of God to me in a way that helps me to relate to my heavenly Father as a caring, nurturing father. I have seen that even as my parents have walked through death and loss (and they have lost a lot of loved ones), that their faith in God has remained strong and that He is at the center of their marriage.
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for your faithfulness to God, to one another and to our family. Thank you for being such great grandparents to our kids. And thank you for being a living demonstration that God can take the suffering of our lives and turn it into His good. Congratulations on 40 years of marriage and I pray that you will have many more together. I love you dearly.