To Have and to Hold

They’ve spent 50 years together

as husband and as wife.

50 years to have and to hold

through every part of life.

50 years of hanging on

in good times and through bad.

For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,

through happy times and sad.

50 years of sickness and health

until death shall they part.

50 years of holding these vows,

from this day forward, in their hearts.

Happy 50th Anniversary Blessings to my Parents, Dennis and JoLane Filkin

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. -Genesis 2:24

Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate. -Matthew 19:6

 

 

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A Toast from the Mother of the Groom

When my son asked me to give a toast at his wedding reception I knew it would be emotional. After all, I had been battling random tears and joyful sobs since my baby became engaged.

How did he get here?

Grown up.

Married.

It goes way back actually. I think it started about the time of potty training!

Oh yes. I remember that moment when he decided to go in the potty like a big boy. So proud of him. Learning and growing and making good choices is hard work!

Some days were more difficult than others. Because learning to choose is so hard, from time to time we offered a reward.

His favorite? Matchbox Cars.

How proud he was to stand in front of that great big toy aisle. His little eyes scanned the huge selection. His tiny finger pointed as he said, “Mommy, I want that one!”

And my baby boy continued to grow.

Ready for Kindergarten now. How could it be? So proud of him. Learning and growing and ready to make good choices with the help of other teachers.

This was a big step. He would need a backpack.

He was so proud to stand in the Back-to-School aisle. His nervous eyes examined the display. He knew how important this moment was. This one choice would carry everything he needed between school and home every day! And as his finger pointed he said, ” Mommy, I want that one!”

And my little boy continued to grow.

Those school years passed by so fast. He did such a fine job, my son. We were so proud that he found a job and learned to be responsible.

One day  he announced he had found  a car he wanted to buy. He had saved his own money. He wanted to buy it himself.  As we drove into the lot, his eyes beamed with pride. His finger pointed as he said, “Mom, I want that one!”

Oh. How he did grow, my boy.

And the time? It continued to pass. He came home one day with a girl. She was lovely and sweet. I watched them grow closer together. I could see them learning about each other. I could see love grow in their eyes.

In time, my son looked at this girl with eyes filled with deep love.

He knew.

And I knew.

He proudly said, “Mom, I want that one!”

And so here we are. My little boy has become a man. And after a lifetime of learning to choose, we are so proud!

Here’s to “the one”!

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Cor. 13:11-13

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

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Always Look Back

Someone I hold very dear in my heart has gone home to be with the Lord. I loved her. She never knew my name, but she knew my heart. And though I never heard her speak the tender words, I know she loved me too.

I met my friend in a memory care unit. We visited weekly, sharing stories and laughter and tears. Our relationship grew from acquaintance to friendship to love.

While I spoke with words, she spoke mostly with her loving eyes, her warm smile, and the grasp of her hand.

So how do I know she loved me?

She always looked back.

Let me explain.

As a young child, growing up on the farm, my parents always reminded me of how fragile life can be. They taught me never to take for granted the time we have to spend with each other. We don’t know when our time here is complete, and we should take every opportunity to show our love for one another. One way to practice this was to simply remember to always look back.

Look back when you are leaving.

Look back and say I love you.

Look back and wave goodbye.

Look back with hugs and kisses.

Just look back.

I still practice this today. When I am leaving home I remember. When I am leaving my parents’ farm I remember. When I am leaving the memory ward I remember.

That’s how I know my friend loved me.

You see. We always found each other looking back.