Sunday, March 25, 2012

Where Do 40 Years Go?

Where do 40 years go? Was it not yesterday that I met the girl who would steal my heart and change my life forever for the better? Has it been so long since we tied the knot and began our world travels? Will our eldest child really celebrate her 40th birthday next year?

They go into a book of memories, the overwhelming number of which are wonderful memories. Perhaps the bad ones go into a sea of forgetfulness, but it’s hard to remember the bad. Sure, we had our challenges; we had our struggles; we had our disagreements. Yet the good so outstrips the bad as to make the less than pleasant disappear.

They go into raising four children. It’s so much fun (and slightly scary) when they get together and share the stories of their growing up from their point of view! We often marvel at how four children born to the same parents can be so different, and yet so similar when it comes to the important things. We couldn’t have been more blessed with the children who were entrusted to our care, and we are thrilled to see our grandchildren growing to be such blessings to their communities, as are their parents.

They go into a 25-year naval career that found us living in five countries spanning three continents: Spain, Italy, Canada, and Japan, as well as the U.S., and visiting over 30 countries on five continents. Each was unique and wonderful in its own way. Favorites? We have so many favorites. Spain, Japan, Italy. All are our favorites in their own way. By sheer force of years lived there, Spain (10) and Japan (5) have the advantage over Italy (3) and Canada (2). Among other things learned overseas, we observed that the peoples of the earth have more things in common than differences. The differences are often fascinating and easily embraced or at least respected, if not adopted. We learned firsthand that differences in appearance, practice or beliefs offer no excuse for rejection of the other. Especially in Japan, where we formed close relationships with the people while singing in a local choir, we learned about true openness and hospitality to foreigners, as they embraced us, the outsiders, with open arms and hearts. They shared their culture, their manners, their likes and loves with us freely and openly and were eager to learn all about ours.

Forty years go into meeting so many beautiful people in the Navy and around the world that space prevents us from listing them all. Friends, mentors, commanding officers, bosses, leaders, seniors, juniors, officers, enlisted, chaplains, pastors, coworkers, spouses of coworkers, choir directors, YWAMers, missionaries, locals, government officials, counterparts in foreign Self-Defense Forces (navies). All of them blessed us in one way or another (and if you are reading this, you are one of them)!

They go into being and becoming better ambassadors of this great country of ours and growing to appreciate it and love it all the more. They go into having the great honor and privilege of supporting and defending her for a short time, being ready to put life on the line although never actually facing real danger like the true heroes who have fought to protect our freedoms.

They go into studying and learning how to practice our Christianity in such a way that we bless and repair the world— that we become ambassadors of the kingdom of a loving God to a needy and hurting world. They involve learning about and from the world’s religions and understanding how we may interact in a profitable manner with one another.

Of course, they go into getting to know and understand one another better and to become one. Loving the things we both love and the ways we are similar while rejoicing in our differences, Kathy and I have been able to forge a life together that has brought us great joy and well–being.

In closing, I never would have dreamt, all those years ago, that I would be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary on something called Facebook, posting pictures and links to something called youtube, by which my 365 Facebook friends (one for each day of the year?) around the world might go and listen to the words of a song that encapsulate my/our feelings about this 40-year love affair and adventure we have experienced together, but such is life in the modern world. (Nor would I have thought to be able to send a message at the speed of light to a hundred people on something called the Internet and/or to post on a place in the great, invisible, electronic “cloud” called a Weblog or blog (is that anything like a ship’s log or is it closer to the Star Trek captain’s log?).

Anyway, Kath posted this Turtles song: The lyrics are forward–looking, both then and now:

I can’t see me loving nobody
But you for all my life
When you’re with me, baby
The skies will be blue for all my life.

Me and you and you and me
No matter how they tossed the dice, it had to be
The only one for me is you and you for me
So happy together.

I posted this song by the Beach Boys, which nicely sums up my perspective 40 years later:

But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I’ll make you so sure about it
God only knows what I’d be without you.

We have certainly enjoyed “fair winds and following seas” in our lives together, for which we are mightily grateful.


Bonnie said...

i loved this post when i read it on facebook. i loved it when i read it again on facebook. i loved it when i posted it to my facebook and so read it just one more time. and i love it now ... on your blog !


Sabba and Nanny said...

I love that you commented on my blog.