They are still here. But, they’ve already left us a legacy. A legacy they are still living, day in…day out.
We sat in their living room, drinking coffee and chatting. Earlier, Victoria and I took advantage of a cool day in the midst of sweltering summer heat to photograph my grandparents. My grandparents. Victoria’s great grandparents. That is already amazing. How many people can say they’ve known their great grandparents? Truly known them. Created memories. Engaged in deep conversations. Been blessed by them, not only in love but also in verbal blessing for your life and your future. It seems so normal to us but it’s not. It’s beyond amazing.
There we sat, after a session filled with lots of laughter, jokes and a reluctant Grandma who hates to be photographed. (Don’t ask me why. She always looks elegant and fabulous). As we sipped our coffee, Granddad told us the story of a man influential in his spiritual walk who tragically died in a drowning accident in the 70’s. He told how one of ministers at the funeral said, “He married the girl he wanted to.” Then Granddad looked at my Grandma and said, “The same goes for me. I married the girl I wanted to.”
The girl he said, “I do” to 65 years earlier. Yes, these photos are in commemoration of their 65th wedding anniversary. Let that sink in.
In a day and age when relationships and marriage are considered temporary, if considered at all, they stand as a testimony to enduring commitment and love. No, they didn’t have it easy. Their story has so many twists and turns but the common thread is the grace of God. They chose each other and they chose love. Again. And again. They have been an example to so many…a father and mother not only to my family but to so many others all over the globe. They have mentored, pastored and loved on hundreds, if not thousands, of people. They have graciously opened their home to just as many…over and over. They still do.
Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, they courageously host our ENTIRE family. It’s a pain. It’s a lot of work. But, they love us. They love family. Grandma’s passion is to keep us all connected when it’s so easy not to be. Her passion is my passion as well. I learned from the best.
They have laid down their lives for the work of God. They’ve known success and they’ve known great trials. Through it all, they’ve walked out God’s love, forgiveness and grace, never wavering from God’s call on their lives.
I see where they came from and where God has brought them. I see how God breathed His new life into their family, breaking patterns repeated in generations before. Their legacy is enduring, a legacy of faith, family, hospitality and lots of love.
Though we have our quirks and irritations just like any other family, we love one another. We gather. We laugh. We talk.
I take it in.
No, we are not perfect. But, we are perfectly imperfect. What we tend to take for granted is nothing to take for granted at all. This is not “normal” or maybe it is. You know, the way God intended it to be. I do know it is wonderful, in all its glorious chaos.
My grandparents stand together 65 years later, 4 sons, 14 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren richer (with another great grandchild on the way!).
And, Pete married the girl he wanted to, his Jane.
Thank you. Thank you for loving and committing, remaining faithful to God, one another and your family.
Thank you for the legacy you are leaving in each one of us, a rich deposit we will find hard to ever measure.
“Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.” ~ Psalm 112:1-3
They always find a way to make me laugh! Grandma wanted a pose to depict how stubborn they can both be. 🙂