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Ray and I are on the road again this morning. We’re on our way to spend a few days with Bethany and her family as we celebrate her birthday. We are rejoicing this morning for many reasons. One special reason is the anticipation of the pure, comfortable joy of spending time with Bethany and her family. Another is the memory of this past weekend.

Our friend Linda invited us to come to the mountains on Saturday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her and her husband John. Ray was John’s best man at their wedding. Just over a week ago, Linda decided to try to pull off a surprise for John. She invited as many members of their wedding party as she could to join them for supper Saturday night in Linda’s hometown where they were married. As the only members of the wedding party who don’t live nearby or have parents nearby, Linda also invited Ray and me to be their guests at the hotel where they also stayed overnight. Ever since I got the email, I’ve been telling everyone I could think to tell about her very sweet idea.

On Saturday night, we ended up with a party of nine, which included the bride and groom, three bridesmaids, the best man (Ray), and spouses. What fun it was to share a meal and conversation, to see their wedding pictures, and to listen to the four girls who grew up in the same neighborhood reminisce. It was so much fun, in fact, that we sat down to supper before 6:30 and got up about 9:45! By then, our waitress had come by to ask if we minded if they vacuumed the main dining room.

Yesterday morning Ray and I joined the bride and groom for breakfast before completing phase two of Linda’s plan — that she, John , Ray, and I go to church together where they got married. We worshiped in the same room where they were married. I could easily call to mind a picture taken outside of Ray and me forty years before — six months and one day after John had been in our wedding! In my mind’s eye was that picture — Ray in his baby blue tuxedo and I in my baby blue eyelet bridesmaid gown I had worn in a wedding a year or two before.

The biblical and encouraging sermon reminded me again that faith in Jesus Christ is alive in this country. It was precious to see Linda reconnect with people she knew as she was growing up in that church.

We all wanted the fun to continue so we had lunch together and then drove through Linda’s childhood neighborhood, seeing her house and the houses of the bridesmaids.

John and Linda 005 cropped
Ray and Charlene, John and Linda


After we took pictures, hugged goodbye, and were driving away, Ray said, “I’m glad we’ve stayed married. Thank you for your patience and steadfastness and forgiveness.”

I replied, “Thank you for your patience and steadfastness and forgiveness, too.”

Fairy tales end with: “. . . and they lived happily ever after.”

A better ending would be: “They were patient and steadfast and they forgave each other.”

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved,
put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone;
just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
Colossians 3:12-13



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  1. Fairy tales end with: “. . . and they lived happily ever after.”

    A better ending would be: “They were patient and steadfast and they forgave each other.”

    I love this! I think too many of us, especially we ladies, grew up with the fairy tale in mind, then wonder why marriage is so hard. I’ve learned over the years that marriage really IS hard work, and a lot of times that work is on yourself. I am adopting your better ending as my motto from here on out!

    • You are right that marriage really is hard work! But, I will tell you that it’s worth it! It’s so special to get to spend my days with the same person I’ve been spending them with for forty years. What memories!

  2. I love your fairy tale ending!:-) That’s the one that results in celebrations of 40-year anniversaries.

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