“. . . to each one of us grace has been given . . .” – Ephesians 4:7
It was on a blind date arranged by a mutual friend that Tee and I first met. That was fifty and a half years ago. Skeptical at first, we both almost declined the invitation having had rather poor experiences in the past with such arrangements. But, “oh well,” we each decided, why not try it one more time. And when our eyes met for the first time there was an instant connection, like no other either of us had ever experienced. By the end of our second date we were bonded, bonded for life as it turned out, for on September 4, 1971, fifty years ago this very weekend we were married. Together we have raised a family, supported each other through all kinds of trials, laughed a lot, cried a little, suffered through scarce times and rejoiced in prosperous ones, tried things that didn’t work and some that did, shared meals together, traveled, read books and watched movies, worked together and played together – and most importantly, loved each other.
Sometimes I shudder to think back on the beginning of our relationship, how immature, unprepared, and ill-equipped I was for such a serious commitment. Although freshly discharged from active duty in the military and gainfully employed, I was still sponging off my parents, not what one would consider totally self-sufficient. Neither had I quite yet completed my college degree, nor sure what I wanted to do with my life. With my head not screwed on exactly straight, I was hardly the model of a prince-charming fitting for such a fine young lady as Tee to present to her family. But she did, and they could not have been more gracious, loving, and accepting into their family.
Such is God’s grace, isn’t it? Blessings and mercy and forgiveness and love and joy and acceptance in abundant supply, freely offered – often unexpectedly – even to the immature, undeserving, ill-equipped, and ill-prepared, like me fifty years ago. But as the Apostle Paul assures us, “to each one of us grace has been given.”
And just as it was grace that brought us together, it is grace that has bound us together these past fifty years, that has prospered us in many ways, blessed us with two fine sons and their lovely wives, who have borne us five beautiful granddaughters. And it is grace that will surely lead us on in the years to come as every day we love each other more and more.