A couple of weeks ago my sisters and I had a surprise reception for my parents 50th anniversary. Their actual anniversary was this past Friday, and it was spent like most of their lives - serving.
Since their retirement they have lived in Mountain Home, Arkansas and have been active in their support of the children's home in Paragould. They travel to Paragould several times each year to do maintenance, construction, cleaning and renovation work on the facilities of the home. A couple of years ago, they helped open a thrift store in Mountain Home to help raise funds for the children's home and on their 50th anniversary they were volunteering at the thrift store. (They did go out to dinner that evening)
This is not a pattern that began after retirement. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad doing things at the church building - printing the bulletin, painting, maintaining the mowers, shoveling snow - and doing things to help others - roofing Elmer's house, mowing Mr. Denney's lawn, cleaning up Aunt Rene's basement after the creek had flooded. Both of my parents figuratively washed the feet of the people they encountered in their lives.
Retirement did not bring a decline in their service - to the contrary, it provided more time for service. Mom works a regular volunteer schedule at the hospital in Mountain Home. Dad drives a van route from Mountain Home to Little Rock, picking up veterans and taking them to the VA hospital, and then bringing them back home. They both work at the thrift store and still make trips to Paragould.
I think their servant attitudes are one of the contributing factors to the 50 successful years of marriage. They both put the interests of others, including each other, before their own interests. Another factor is their commitement to one another. In the 48 years that I have known them I have never doubted or questioned their commitment and devotion to one another. Barbara and I are both fortunate in having that kind of commitment modeled by our parents.
Mom and Dad - I am proud of you. Congratulations on 50 years and I hope you have dozens more.