Weathered Well Together

This is a special place to be…

You know your marriage has weathered well when love brings you to the place where you bear the other’s sharp word or dark mood, knowing as you do that these raw places cover a weary or wounded soul and require tenderness, not scorn or assault. Forgiveness is given, easily, before it’s ever asked, the scuffle brushed away, no more bother than a stray piece of lint.

via winncollier.com.

… and it takes time.

It takes understanding over the long haul.

It takes listening first, second and third more often than not.

I confess, it means I should mute the TV or turn it off to keep traveling towards this space in the journey together.

We went to Greenville, SC last Friday, just the two of us. We walked. We ate wonderful food. We saw Falls Park and all the upgrades around the Downtown area.

Mostly, I enjoyed that we were there together. The walking, the words, the silence – all coming through as part of the long haul kind of  life we’re living out together.

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Mr. Ron’s Message, Easter Saturday 2012-04-07

We are here this afternoon to celebrate and remember Ron Vernon. He’s been a friend for many years, family in the best sense of the word. We share grief in his passing even as we share in the joy of having him in our lives together.

In John 11:
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” (John 11:25-26 NLT)

It’s no coincidence that this is also Easter weekend. It’s the Saturday between Friday’s death on the cross and Sunday’s triumphant resurrection. Where most gatherings like this would focus on the cycle of life to death, would bring focus to the examples of our own mortality – today we have the unique perspective of seeing death head towards life. The cycle is turned on its head. Jesus lived life here with His disciples, here with us. And in dying and then overcoming death and all its power, He lives with us still. He offers life abundant here and to come.

The reality of our memories and the warmth of Ron’s life with us brings hope in the midst of broken hearts, brings comfort to our hurt. Today, we smile through tears and heavy hearts. We remember Ron, and we feel the life well-lived and well-shared all over again.

Father, Lord God – we thank you today for Ron and for his life shared here with us. We thank you for giving life to all of us, for enhancing that life by giving us time together. Even now, we thank you for Jesus, lovingly giving Himself that we may share in life fully and beautifully with each other. Forgive us where we’ve chosen less that that shared fullness of life. Embrace us as we move forward together from here with memories of our wonderful friend. Heal the broken places and fill the voids as You have shown you can. Comfort and encourage us on toward adventure and our own life lived together. And thank you for Ron Vernon – may we continue to live out the joy and friendship that’s been shared with us. In Jesus’ name – Amen.

THE LORD’S PRAYER, Jeff & Kim

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21 NLT)

Christmas Present

Decorating the tree brings a all kinds of memories of Christmas Past. Then until the presents are out in the open, there’s the anticipation of Christmas Future. In the middle of that, Christmas Present is the right now that maybe we lose sight of too often.

This morning, one child is sound asleep while the other is sleeping on a terrible painful ear infection. Our Christmas Present included a late night urgent care run and pharmacy conversation. Mama bear has been taking care of baby boy. Shopping is just about done, just a few more stops and some wrapping today. One family event down, a couple more tomorrow to go. Right now, there’s some hustle and bustle in our world but, honestly, it’s just life moving on.

I’m not a fan of sentimentality. Remembering and learning from the past is good, and looking forward expectantly is good. But there’s something about being in the moment, trying to be aware of what’s going on right now – that’s where I think we can listen and see the real magic of the season…

… and I think that magic is in the midst of relationships; in the waves of pain from earaches; in the smiles of kids watching Rudolph on TV and Linus reciting the scriptures; in the tastes and smells of sugar cookies and egg nog lattes; in the warmth of South Carolina “winter”…

There’s so much to look at, to talk with, to see together this year. I’m glad we’re not missing Christmas Present right now because right now is the most wonderful time of the year.

Merry Christmas.

Grateful much…?

As I get older, I hope I am more grateful. Hope – because in reality I know I take much of this life’s blessing for granted. Even in this short workweek, I’m thankful for my family and all we’ve been able to enjoy; for my job and the challenges that keep it fun; for opportunities to build on the past and learn going forward.

But then I also want to take a nap, to be selfish with my coffee, to find the remote and surf the channels for a few good days. Is that so wrong?

Maybe. Being grateful is one of those character traits, I think, that must be fed, that must be exercised and worked out from within. I can’t make someone say, “thank you” – you can try with your toddlers, but if they don’t get that gratitude is more than the words, then you’ll have a selfish teenager on your hands.

Not that we’ve got selfish teenagers. Somewhere along the line, we did it right. Or they did. Or something beyond us did (my vote is actually on that one), because they’re good kids who have their moments but by-and-large are grateful and caring.

When we start with Thanksgiving, and we start with family, it’s cool that we get to see firsthand how being grateful pays off with the folks who know you the best day in and day out.

Happy Birthday, Sweet

Today is Vicki’s birthday – and honestly, I cannot think of her any differently today than when we were both younger, both falling in love, both looking forward to a life together.

With so much to look back on, I still look forward to her youthfulness, to continued falling in love, and to much more life to be lived together.

Happy birthday, Sweet.