This Saturday will mark 39 years since Mary Linda Roberts and I began our marriage journey together. At that time a postage stamp cost just 5 cents and a gallon of regular gas was 33 cents. In 1967 the median household income was less than 8,000 dollars and you could buy a new home for about $25,000. LBJ was president and our cities were exploding with racial tension. The year Mary and I married both PBS and Rolling Stone were born. It was a great year for movies; The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, In The Heat of the Night, and Cool Hand Luke (one of my all time favorites). Frank Sinatra and The Beatles were fighting it out on the airwaves with Frank's Strangers in the Night winning record of the year and the Beatles Michelle being honored for song of the year. Dr. Christiann N. Barnard and his team of South African surgeons performed the first successful human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky. Mr. Waskansky, a dentist, was 54 years old and he died 18 days later. The median life expectancy in 1967 was 70.5 years.
Thirty nine years has brought a lot of change in the world and, as evidenced by the photographs, in us. We have experienced the birth of 4 children and 4 grandchildren and the adoption of another child. We have been through the celebrations of the marriages and the pain of divorces with our sons and daughters. At age 30 I began an 8 year educational journey that culminated in the ordained ministry. We have experienced the deaths of three parents and one sibling. Almost four decades of laughter and tears, joys and sorrows, successes and failures. Over 250,000 meals, 13,235 days and nights, at least 25,000 kisses (minimum 2 per day), and over 2,000 arguments (about one per week).
So, what have I learned in these seasons of love totaling twenty million four hundred ninety seven thousand and four hundred minutes? I think the lessons of a good marriage can be best summed up by the words of Antione Saint-Exupert which appear on a scrap of paper that I recently took out of my wallet and taped on the bookcase in my study.
Love does not consist in gazing at each other
but in looking outward together in the same direction.With great joy and gratitude I celebrate with Mary thirty nine years of shared values.