Last Saturday my family and I were in Astoria… we were there to celebrate my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. A few nights before we left I was on the internet and discovered that the annual Scandinavian Festival was taking place while we were there. Now - I grew up in Astoria and only remember going to this festival once or twice… it wasn’t huge on my radar, since I am not of Scandinavian heritage. I had lots of friends who were, though, and I knew it was a big event in their lives, so I spent some time online looking at the offerings of the fesitval. On the website, I saw that they now do a race/walk on the Saturday morning of the festival called the Running of the Trolls. And since I have a son who is a runner, and because I like to walk, I went ahead and signed Kyler and I up to do it. Kyler needed to be running anyway, since he was going to miss several practices while we were out of town.
The Scandinavian Festival (and the Running of the Trolls) is held at the Clatsop Country Fairgrounds, which has moved from it’s downtown location where I used to know it to a lovely country setting not far from town. It’s out on Walluski Loop for anyone who’s familiar with the area.
As we drove there Saturday morning, I found myself marveling at the beauty of the region… the watery marshes, the verdant greens, the smooth glassy surface of the bay. I lived there for the first 18 years of my life, and yet it’s only in returning as an adult that I could appreciate how lovely it really is there. This revelation made me realize that the same can be said for my parent’s marriage. As a child, of course, I took it for granted. Just as I never noticed the amazing beauty of the area I claimed as my childhood home, I didn't recognize the gift of my parent's faithfulness to each other. Of course my parents were married. What else would they be? Divorce was fairly uncommon then, so the possibility of anything different never entered my mind.
Now, many years later, I understand that no marriage stays together by default.
It takes effort.
50 years is a really long time to be any one of those things with one person.
But my parents have done it. And because of their faithfulness to each other, my brothers and I have been blessed.
Blessed with a really clear knowledge of what God intended marriage to be.
And blessed with 8 beautiful children who also can see a clear picture of faithfulness in their grandparents.
We come from a heritage of successful marriages, which in today’s world is no small thing.
In the three generations that include my grandparents, my parents, my brothers and I, there are over 215 years of faithful marriage represented. Add my aunts and uncles to that mix and you can add well over 100 more years... and that's with just two uncles and one aunt!
That’s a pretty strong heritage - one I’m proud to pass on to my nephews and nieces and my own children. So thanks, mom and dad. Thanks for sticking it out. For staying true to an institution that is losing ground in our today’s disposable, easy fix society. For loving each other through all the years of child rearing and rebellious teenagers, middle age, empty nesting, retirement, and beyond.
I will never take your faithfulness or your commitment to each other for granted. I thank God for the rich heritage I have and the clear understanding of why it’s worth it to work it out… to push through the rough seasons with my own husband and to cherish this thing called marriage.
Your marriage is a marvel in today’s society and I am so proud to tell people about your accomplishment of sticking together for 50 years.
I love you. (And just in case you were wondering, Kyler won the Running of the Trolls! First place in the youth division - second place overall! Here he is with his Troll Trophy!)