Time flies and it lies.
It seems like yesterday I went out for an easy five mile run with my cousin David, showered up and put on my blues ensured these rings were tucked in with my brother Karl and we went off to the church to meet two priests (who are like brothers to me) to get married before God and family. I remember the door swinging open and my soon to be Father-in-Law smirking at me saying "I loved her first." The whirlwind day of photos, holding hands, being the focus of attention wore my bride and I out. I remember thinking of the marriage being about the two of us, swearing fidelity to each other before God.
Today I started with rescuing John Paul (child number five) from his crib at 4:55AM, resting a few more minutes and then going for a laborious 2.9 mile run (every tenth counts now). On coming home I see three boys doing chores and enjoying each other's company. Two girls and a momma fast asleep...and I think...wow a lot happened in eighteen years. Soon we'll make a doctor's visit and I'll be off to work for the rest of the day.
Nothing could symbolize the massive change and frozen time better than our wedding bands. Nicked, bumped, worn smoother, worn 24/7 and still as strong as when new. If possible, they might even defy the laws of physics and be stronger now than ever before. It is almost like the rings adapted with us to experience, trial by fire, success, failures, responsibilities and the love of children we're blessed with.
I love my Carrie Anne, and I truly think no one else in the world would put up with me like she does. Her wisdom is sound, and heart warm. This warm heart powers our family, and keeps us on track. The self sacrificing love Carrie displays with each child she carries is simply heroic. The nine month sickness and long recovery she fights through each time has to count for something good when see meets our Lord one day! She is pretty cute too!
More than loving her alone, I love the "us" our marriage creates. Our constant lessons of agape love, brought by the opportunity to be a family, allow us to bring Christ into our family everyday. Mastering these lessons provides the spark I see in couples married and happy at 25, 40 and 50 years. This is the love which should inspire us all to holy matrimony for life, grows healthy families, and shows us how to claw our way towards heaven through better and worse a fallen world provides.
I know we have so much more to face in our lives. The world is right now in a tremendous crisis of faith, and needs Christ more than ever. I write this not to boast, but to help others see the way to heaven through Holy Matrimony and its foretaste of heaven. I had a friend who said he was surrounded by friends with failed marriages, and was scared to become married out of fear generated by those failures.
I told him what I now know is true...seek out those who succeeded. Learn the lessons of the happy 40-50 year marriages, and put them into your heart. Learn sacrificial love, and seek one who wants to give of themselves without limit as your partner. Pray over everything, and keep Christ front and center in your family life...he will guide you through the tough times which will come.
So today pray for us, pray for your marriages, and pray for those who need to find peace in self to make either a vocational commitment to marriage or holy orders. It is the best gift we could give the world!