Once upon a time there was a young man from Maryland who met a young lady from Mississippi while she was visiting her family for one golden summer.
It was as close to love-at-first-sight as love-at-first-sight can be because when the young man laid eyes on the pretty young girl his gaze never really left.
The young girl, she fell hard and fast with a love that lasted the summer and all the seasons to follow. And sure, well meaning family and friends and older sisters would say, “Well what about him? Or him? Or him?” They’d say, “You’re too young, too naive, too optimistic to give your heart away.”
But the young girl didn’t care or mind because her cares and mind were fixed. This young man would be her first, her last, her only love.
It was an old-fashioned love from the start. Fashioned after the oldest love that fashioned the dawn of time.
The boy and the girl grew up together and loved one another with miles and states in between. They counted the days between visits that became more treasured than gold. They wrote letters so hot and juicy those letters had to be burned. They waited and plotted and planned for the day when they would be together at school.
The boy went to college and the girl soon followed and at the end of four years they had dreams, degrees, and rings on their fingers. They gained jobs, and friends, and furniture. They moved here and there and hoped and prayed for God to give them a family.
Good times came.
Together they laughed and cried.
They lost jobs and friends. They lost beloved old ones and precious new ones.
At times they lost their like for each other but they never lost their love. They never lost their faith or their commitment to God and each other.
In times of poured out tears, of heartache, hurt, and loss, they looked to the verse stitched into cloth that hung by a thread on the wall:
“For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death.” Psalm 48:14
And they remembered the One who hung by nails and poured out love for them.
It was here at the cross and the crossroads that they found love, and hope, and graceful grit that kept them right on going. Right on living with broken but still beating hearts.
And God, He didn’t leave them hanging. He came to the broken but still beating hearts and filled them with His glory.
He filled empty pockets, empty chairs, empty rooms. He filled their empty, aching arms with one baby girl, then two. Laughter, hope, and dreams were born pink, and fresh, and new.
This boy from Maryland is now 72, and his Mississippi bride is an exquisite 70. And they’ve been wearing those rings on their fingers for 50 golden years.
Those two baby girls, who filled their arms, now fill their hearts, and days, and home with two sons acquired by law and six of the grandest children.
And the girls and the grandkids and the son-in-laws, too, wish they could give this Maryland boy and this Mississippi girl the greatest gift in all the world to celebrate their golden day.
A journey to Europe! A pair of gold watches! A fabulous piece of art!
But the daughters, the grands, and the sons-in-law know the truth. The golden truth that seems unfair: The gift has already been given, not to the honored couple, but to them.
The gift of parents and grandparents who journeyed and struggled and fought through life but chose to stay together, to stay in love, to stay in the grip of His grace.
The golden legacy of vows made and vows kept.
The portrait of a marriage.
The gift of a mom and dad that would rather sleep in a bed too small than not sleep together at all.
The gift of parents who still kiss and touch and whisper secrets, who still laugh and hug and exchange I love you’s each and every day.
The gift of seeing Psalm 48:14 as more than a fancy cross-stitch on the wall but as truth, and testimony, and family tradition.
This is the gift and it is theirs and all they can really give in return are ten beating hearts full of thanks.
They can take the journey, the golden legacy, the portrait painted before them and fashion their own love stories after this love story, after the love story. After their parents, their grandparents, their God.
One love story molded from and by all the loves that went before, for all generations to follow.
Because this kind of love lasts forever. Rooted not in the soil of earth but the streets of golden eternity. Centered not on the love of man and wife but the love of a Savior and His beloved.
This is the gift of fifty years.
Forged in the Refiners fire, the gift more precious than gold.
~ Happy 50th Mom and Dad (Nannie and Papa)!
With Love From, Melanie, Jennifer, Landon, Chris, Conner, Madeline, Garrett, Aletheia, Tenley, and Cabellea ~
God be praised.
Love you, Dad!
What a precious and special couple who I have had the joy of knowing. God be praised. May they have many more years together.
Thanks, Margaret for reading! And, yes, may they have many, many more!
Well done. What a gift…your parents.
Thanks for reading, Jerry! 🙂
Wow Jennifer this is a wonderful classic love story! One of your best! Love it!
Wow! Thanks, Myrna. That means a lot to me. It was inspired from start to finish by my amazing mom and dad. I am one blessed daughter. It’s definitely something to celebrate.