Thursday, June 16, 2011

40th Anniversary Celebration a Super Success!

     This past weekend Carl and Cathy celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Originally, they’d scheduled to go on a trip for two, but when they found out their son Luke would be home for only one week before serving in the Army in a special unit in Afghanistan, they postponed their vacation. 
     They were thoroughly surprised when they walked into a nice Italian restaurant, thinking they were meeting their immediate family, plus Kevin and me who are often included as such, for a dinner, and saw their children, grandchildren, siblings, and close friends from near and far who had come for the occasion. 
     Last week, I spent many hours putting together a photo collage that is 20 X 24 inches to present to them at the dinner.  I have several recent pictures of the family, and their children, and siblings provided me with hundreds more that spanned from when Carl and Cathy were young until now. 
     One of the most moving parts of the evening (for me anyway) was when six of their children got up and spoke about the love and unity their parents share with one another and each member of the family. 
     Each of them had something to say about
the strong foundation their parents have always been for the family.  Molly expressed her exasperation for not being able to play one of them against the other when she was growing up, a loophole all her friends seemed to use without a problem, yet, now she sees the strength of a united front.       Amy talked about the love they share, the values they have espoused and lived out, and how they have always been there for their kids.  Catherine made mention of how much she now appreciates certain aspects of their relationship and family more and more as she gets older.  Their son Carl said he might not have said it much over the years, but that he’s learned a great deal from them about marriage and parenting (as well as from the Simpsons), that his father taught him how to be a man, and that he’s proud they are his parents. 
     John shared some amusing stories and gave an overview of some of the main events in their 40 years of marriage, remarking how they held everyone together and kept things going with their love for each other and their faith in the Lord.  Luke’s testimony to his parents’ love certainly struck me.  He said that he feels their love whether he’s ten miles away or 10,000.      
     Of course, they’ve been through quite a bit over their 40 years of marriage, not the least of which has been the adventures of raising seven children, three girls followed by four boys and now the joys and heartaches of being grandparents.  The only thing that could perhaps add to the manifestation of love shown through their marriage, pouring over to their family is that not only each of their seven children, their spouses, and five grandchildren, but also the “adopted” members such as Amy’s friend Liz, Kevin, and me know we are loved.     
     Lord, thank You for the gift, covenant, and blessing of marriage.  Please help all married couples to live out this blessed Sacrament in ways that will draw them closer to you, one another, and manifest Your love, compassion, and mercy.  Amen.
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