Thursday, April 30, 2009

60 years...and counting.

April 29th, 1949. Mr. LD Cannon was married to Miss Alma Nell Harris in Dallas, Texas. The next sixty years would be a story of a commitment. A commitment for better, worse. Never a thought of divorce; never a hint of infidelity, regret or turning back. Three children grew up in this home knowing three things. Mom would love them more than life; dad would always come home at night; and if you got out of line, you would catch it from both of them. This environment produced three responsible adults; all with college educations and all in long-term marriages.

A commitment for richer, for poorer, (more of the latter) at least I don't remember the "rich" part. But, would someone define rich for me. He was never without a job; often two jobs. She, with only high school, eventually landed a position with a major insurance company. At retirement she was replaced by two people who were required to have a Bachelor's degree to qualify for her job. The children always had clothes on their back, shoes on their feet, food on the table and a roof over their head; none of which was provided by a government program.

A commitment in sickness and in health. Sickness was part of the package with three children. The Cannons endured and survived measles, mumps, tonsillitis, bronchial pneumonia, influenza, numerous cracked heads, stitches, dog bites and even, in one case, thyroidal cancer. How did they endure? They just did. When you are committed, you just do what you have to do.

This is not to say there was no "BETTER" involved in those sixty years. These year
s were laced throughout with family holidays, trips to the lake lot, family outings, laughter and lots and lots of love. After their children were out on their own, LD and Alma became "world travellers" seeing just about all of the United States, then Canada, Great Britain and even Israel and the middle east.

Yesterday they sat in a restaurant with their two daughters and one grandson, laughing about times past. Later that evening from 965 miles away, I picked up the phone. I am the youngest and the only son. God's calling has taken me far away in miles from this close-nit family. We spent more time on the phone, laughing about times past.

One would scarce dream of entering into such a commitment if they had any idea how perilous and difficult the journey would be. This is why the divorce rate is over 50% in the United States. The, "I didn't sign on for this!" mentality permeates our nation. But, the Cannons signed on and stayed because of a thing called commitment. Last year, I joked with my mother about getting married on the same date as Adolf Hitler & Ava Brawn.

"You know mom, Their marriage only last eight hours, and then they committed suicide." She responded in her classic tone, "I might have considered murder a few times, but never suicide." Humor was always our family's coping mechanism.

It was not perfect. It was not always smooth. We did not always get along, and we were not without our fair share of family drama. But sixty years of living, and loving, and working, and enduring and staying deserves recognition and honor. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. Thank you for committing for better or worse for sixty years .... and counting.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Thawing out

Recently my beloved bride, my grand boy and I found it warm enough to go for a walk on a path along the Mississippi River. Such outings are long anticipated. Winters are harsh in this part of the mid west. Sometimes it feels as if winter will never leave. But spring always comes.

Bettendorf, Iowa is right on the river. Its a pretty place any time of the year. In the winter, hundreds of bald eagles fish the icy waters. In the spring, pelicans rest here on their northern migration. Summer brings the barge traffic and river cruises. This is a great place to live. The people are friendly an down-to-earth.

When God moved us here five years ago, I had no idea what He was doing. I must confess, I spent too much time trying to figure it out. The battles we endured before and after we came here had left many deep wounds. Some are still healing. But spring always comes.

I have learned that, if we are not careful, sorrow, grief, despair, can become a comfortable place. We huddle up in our personal valley and lick our wounds, while becoming more and more focused on our own pitty. We can come to feel quite at home in our depression or worse, our bitterness. It takes time for the coldness of a bitter heart to pass. But spring always comes.

Yes spring always comes. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."(Psalm 30:5) I have lived through some terrible winters here. We have all lived through winter seasons in our lives, but spring always comes. I am ready for spring. I am ready for warm air, green plants and sunshine. I believe we are coming into a new season. I am encouraged...

...because spring always comes.

Just a thought. Thank you for reading.