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A wedding ring

by davesandel on June 3rd, 2021

Thursday, June 3, 2021                      (today’s lectionary)

Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs

A wedding ring

After receiving the gift of her grandmother’s wedding ring, my friend’s daughter wrote a remembrance. Her grandparents were married more than 70 years. Now they lived in the same care facility, but covid had kept them apart. On their 71st wedding anniversary, her grandma’s dementia receded for a day, and she persuaded the nurses to let her spend an hour with her husband.

She died the next day.

Now Lord, you know that we take each other for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on us, and allow us to live together to a happy old age. They said together, “Amen, Amen,” and went to bed for the night.

She cherished her grandmother’s ring, and wrote about what she was thinking, about everything this ring was present for. The day my grandpa proposed to her, the day they were married, the first home they moved into, the children they raised, the grandchildren they helped raise too. How this ring was present when a little frail 92 year old woman said she needed to go see her husband for the last time.

And sitting with her words, I thought about how Margaret and I were married on Sunday morning, in kind of a new way. We responded to our pastor’s invitation as a couple, and then invited the congregation to stay for our wedding. Most of them stayed. Afterward we had a church basement potluck and then left for our honeymoon.

I remember how welcome we felt wherever we went, especially in Kentucky where Margaret’s friends and family poured out the blessings on us. We canoed on Table Rock Lake, slept and dined at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs. I remember dancing at a roadside restaurant on the way to Madisonville, as the server did everything he could to make us newlyweds happy.

Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways. For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork, blessed shall you be, and be favored.

We drove home to Lincoln, Illinois after a week or so. Our friends had painted and wallpapered the kitchen in our not-too-fancy farmhouse, up on top of a hill on my dad’s second farm. The next year we planted a Christmas tree dedicated to Chris, who was born on December 17. Marc was born there a couple years later, in August. Our HVAC friend from church in Mt. Pulaski said no mom should have her baby in August without an air conditioner, so he brought us one, and made sure it worked before he left.

Andi too, born just before we left for Waynesville and then Champaign-Urbana. Our kids grew up, … right, like kids do? Into their own lives. We dip our paddles into their worlds from time to time. Pretty often, actually. It’s wonderful. Such amazing men and women they’ve become.

Paddle across the lake, Hiawatha, learn to love in all these different kinds of ways. Jesus shows us how. The story in Mark 12 teaches us so much.

A scribe asked Jesus “Which is the first of all the commandments?” And Jesus told him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and all your strength. But there is another. And that is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

So … not offerings or sacrifices, not financial prosperity or even generosity, but giving ourselves to each other, and to our kiddos and their sons and daughters, that’s the thing. Love God and love your neighbor. Love your family.

Under our forty plus years of joy and pain, peace, wonder and confusion, this story provides us bedrock, on which we can stand today. Whatever happens next, we will keep learning how to love.

(Tobit 6-8, Psalm 128, 2 Timothy 1, Mark 12)

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One Comment
  1. Shannon Reeves permalink

    An especially good one my friend!

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