Yesterday was our forty-fifth wedding anniversary! It’s kind of a milestone anniversary, isn’t it? It seems that the more anniversaries we have, the more “special” each one feels. My grandma and grandpa made it to forty-six before Grandpa went to be with the Lord. Not quite to their fiftieth, and I suppose that made me realize that we cannot take it for granted that we will make it to our Golden Anniversary. Next year we will tie with Grandma and Grandpa, the Lord willing, and then I guess I will feel like we really made it!
Yes, Number Forty-Five felt very special to me—and a little sad, as well. It is at times like these that I really, really miss having all my children and grandchildren around me. Laurie’s family is in Ecuador and Julie’s is in California. Oh, I know they are right where the Lord wants them, doing His work and being used by Him. I can be—no, I am—content with that, but when there are special events that cry out to be celebrated together as a family, it seems very lonely without them.
Bob and Robbie and I went out to a restaurant to eat, and we enjoyed ourselves. Robbie loved being in a new place with lots to look at, and lots of new people to smile at, and best of all—lots of good food! Bob and I enjoyed just watching Robbie enjoy it all! Seeing the joy and wonder on his face at these new experiences, his eager anticipation as he watched waitress after waitress march by with loaded trays and then chuckling as his expressive face began to read, Hey-where’s mine? as he tried to patiently wait; and finally that satisfied, stuffed little piggy look when he had eaten the last morsel of good food! We just had to laugh—after all those years, watching Robbie begin to enjoy life again brings joy and wonder to us!
But still—we were only three around the table. We were missing our girls and their husbands and our thirteen grandchildren. Oh, we talked to them on the phone yesterday—or rather, I should say, they sang to us on the phone (love it!)—but I missed their presence around the table on this celebration of the founding of our family.
Something happened, though, this week that was a promise of future family festivities together! Just the day before our anniversary, the Lord blessed us with a beautiful oak dining table and chairs—perfect for our country kitchen! A friend of a friend was giving it away and Terri thought of us right away and called to ask if we would like it. Bob rented a van to go get it, and before you knew it, an unexpected blessing was gracing our kitchen and all I could think of was the next time all my little grandchildren would be gathered around that table and the ruckus and laughter and fun there would be!
There are twenty of us now when all our children and grandchildren are here with us—two more than the last time! With the new table and chairs, we will be able to squeeze all of us around the dining room and kitchen tables. Oh, sure it would be nice to have all twenty of us around one long table, but truthfully, it’s better that the wild and crazy bunch have their party in the kitchen! We adults enjoy hearing the silliness and uproar emanating from the kitchen—and have to admit, thankful that it is out there! Oh-oh! Now that I think of it, I just realized that by the time they all get home next year we will have a 22 year old, two 19 year olds, an 18 year old, 17 year old, two 16 year olds—how old is too old for the kids’ table??
As I was picturing the happy times together with my all my family gathered together around the table(s), I couldn’t help thinking of Psalm 128, Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord. (vs. 1-4) From the founding of our family forty-five years ago we have tried to center our lives and home around the Lord. We have not always been perfect, but we do love and honor and serve Him and He has blessed us with children, and now grandchildren, who love him and honor Him, as well.
I love the picture of our children (and grandchildren) flourishing like young, fruitful olive plants around our table, blossoming and budding, fresh and promising as they grow in Him. I like the way the Living Bible paraphrases it, Your wife shall be contented in your home. And look at all those children! There they sit around the dinner table as vigorous and healthy as young olive trees.
What more could we ask for? Of course it is nice to be blessed with material possessions like our new dining set, but our truly greatest blessing on this earth is to see our children and grandchildren growing and flourishing in the Lord. Yes, there is fun and laughter around our table when we are together, but there are many a conversation centered around Him as well. What a joy to share in His Word and the blessings and burdens of our hearts! What a blessing to hear the kids chime in with questions or spiritual observations of their own.
Forty-five years and counting! Twenty in the family—and still counting as Generation 3 grows up and someday soon will be starting families of their own. May we all flourish and grow in Him—and love each other around the table!
Be present at our table, Lord.
Be here and everywhere adored.