What a weekend! A friend of mine was telling me about the wedding of his son and new daughter-in-law this weekend. He had several good observations. One was the joy and pride of seeing his son grown into a mature young man making a commitment to a lovely young woman. He talked about the joy of being a father and how important it has been just to be a loving presence in his son’s life. Several of his son’s friends seemed to be missing that from their own fathers and often sought to engage with him for some sort of recognition. My friend also shared how great it was to welcome a daughter into their family, noting they only had two sons. He said his wife gave a moving toast as she said this young woman had not become their daughter-in-law but their daughter-in-love.
My friend’s story resonated with my own experiences of being the father of two girls who have grown into lovely and strong women. For me and my wife, being a loving and consistent presence in their lives has been wonderful for us and provided fertile soil for them to grow in. They have both found strong and loving men to marry and are now starting their own families. It is very satisfying to witness and be a part of. We have now entered the delightful stage of being grandparents. Our first granddaughter is now 19 months old and this weekend our younger daughter gave birth to her first child and our second granddaughter. It is wonderful.
There is nothing better than indulging deeply in the fruits of love. My friend and his wife and I and my wife have been blessed no doubt, but we are not special people with unusual gifts or talents. The fruits of love are the result of planting the seeds of love early and often and then cultivating and nurturing those seeds into maturity. It is simply engaging in the practices of love on a consistent basis over time that yields results. Of course some have more difficult circumstances than others, but you can always choose love and choose to be present in the lives of those you love. I encourage you to be in it for the long term. The fruits are delicious.
As most of you know I participated in the MS 150 bike ride last week end to raise awareness and funds for the benefit of those with Multiple Sclerosis. There were about 3500 people who pedaled the 150 miles from Duluth MN to the Twin Cities over two days. It is a well coordinated event with many volunteers providing support and encouragement to the riders. It is quite an adventure.
One of my favorite moments was a point on the second day when the route turns left and then right in an area that is open farmland so you can see the string of bikers stretching out for about a mile in front you. (No I wasn’t at the front of the pack:) Another moment was at the lunch stop on day two and people were very tired and longing for the finish line just 30 miles ahead. In spite of fatigue and soreness there was a buzz in the air and it occurred to me that this was the collective energy of people with a common purpose.
I won’t push the comparison to marriage too far by talking about potholes and the ups and downs of the road. However, two things that make for a successful event also make relationships successful. The first is having a common goal or purpose. We don’t often think about it but defining a common purpose can bring zest to a marriage. Some possibilities may be purpose in raising healthy children or creating a home that nurtures the heart and soul of all hang out there. Successful marriages also depend on the support of those who care about you. Cultivating a community, which may include family, friends, and groups who are willing and able to encourage you, challenge you, and help you out when needed is a very wise investment. I am grateful to be a part of your community.