There is something about mature, long lasting love that outshines the passions of young love.
My parents were married for 71 years. Jay’s parents were married for 63 years. They enjoyed life together, weaving a blanket of memories that warmed their last years and brought comfort to the one left on earth after the other was promoted to Heaven.
They survived wars, the depression, deaths, and numerous other challenges that caused major disruptions in life. When they got knocked down, they helped each other up and soldiered on together.
They saw each other change from young people into middle aged people and on into old age. They were still just as beautiful and handsome to each other as they always had been.
They were affectionate to the end, holding hands, hugging and kissing. As they aged, they were constantly at each other’s sides. They were there for the final earthly goodbyes.
They taught us how to live with God as The Center of Life. They taught us, not only with words, but through their lives. They prayed in front of us, they prayed with us, they prayed long distance. They asked us to pray for them.
Especially in their latter years, all four of them were transparent about the struggles they had experienced in trying to live a Godly Life. They shared honestly about their weaknesses, but affirmed with Joy how strong God was in lifting them up.
They acknowledged that relationship building that goes the distance takes work. It is a commitment to persistence. It takes being willing to sacrifice “me” for “us.” It is a Promise kept to always, always be there and never quit.
I still smile when I remember what my father told me about never giving up. When he was 96 years old, I told him I never really remembered he and my mother arguing much.
He laughed and said, “Oh, there were plenty of times when we didn’t agree. We’d get mad about something, usually something silly.”
I asked Daddy how they settled things. He said, “Well, I would get out and walk up town and back … and then we would try again. I was usually pretty tired by then, so I didn’t want to argue too much.”
I asked him if that happened very often. Again he laughed and said, “Well, it happened enough. How do you think I got to 96? It was all that exercise!”
Jay and I have been married for 43 years, a drop in the bucket next to our parents. But we have already shared a lifetime of experiences that have taught us and refined us in the fires to become who we are today.
We are blessed by the great legacy our parents left us, and we hope to be adding to the Jones story for as long as God allows us to be the Jones team together on earth.
May we all be blessed as our parents were, and as David described in Psalm 92: 12-14.
“Righteous people flourish like palm trees and grow tall like the cedars in Lebanon.
They are planted in the Lord’s house.
They blossom in our God’s courtyards.
Even when they are old, they still bear fruit.
They are always healthy and fresh.”