I used to think 50 years was forever. My grandparents were in their 50s for goodness sake. I suppose I didn’t really think about “a long time” or “being old” all that much; but if someone would have asked me, I’m sure I considered half a century pretty close to eternity. Living 50 years meant you were old! Being married 50 years meant you were ancient! I do remember hearing old people talk about “time going faster the older you get” or some such foolishness, but just chalked it up to senility. Then one day I turned 50, and was not entirely sure how that happened. I didn’t feel 50 and I sure didn’t look 50, but the cake still said, “Happy 50th.”
Then, wonder of wonders, last week all the anniversary cards said, “Happy 50th.” I realized the old people knew what they were talking about – time does speed up. Being married 50 years didn’t take that long at all. Just cut the cake, have some kids, watch them cut the cake, enjoy some grandkids, and in a twinkling it’s the big 5 – 0. And time to follow Solomon’s advice: “Rejoice with the wife of your youth.” Here’s an appropriate quote: “Our wedding was many years ago, but the celebration continues.” Let me propose two reasons we made the big 5 – 0. First, I was blessed to find a true “helper suitable” for me. Cindy has always put me (and the boys) above her needs and wants. She has denied self for my good for 50 years. She has somehow put up with me while managing to make me better in the process. Her example, advice, and encouragement have gotten me to where I am – vastly better than I was 50 years ago. Second, we had the advantage of an amazing spiritual family for almost all of those years. We were married on Jackson Street, and except for a few years after college in other states, have been Northsiders our whole married life. Few people understand (much less experience) the benefits of long-term membership in a healthy congregation of God’s people. Cindy and I were loved from Day One of our marriage and have been taught, rebuked, corrected, and trained by the generations that make up this family. Hopefully, we have sown some good over the years, but we have reaped far more from the flock called Northside. We might have made 50 years without the help of this family, but it is hard to imagine how.
Solomon said, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” I’d add that it’s even better to find the perfect wife AND a great church family.
(P.S. Thanks for the amazing number of cards we received from this family!)