Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Gift of Love

The day was different 20 years ago – overcast and rainy, the air cool and the sky a gray to match.

For most people, it was an ordinary Saturday in June – nothing more.

For me, however, it was a day of demarcation, one that would separate the period of my life “before” and “after.”

On that rainy Saturday morning, I stood in front of several hundred family members and friends, looked into the brilliant green eyes of the woman beside me, and pledged to love her – “through sickness and health” and “through good times and bad.”

I promised to love her and cherish her “all the days of my life.” And she, looking beautiful in a dress so perfect for her, pledged to do the same. Much to my relief, I might add.

While we didn’t realize it then, we were incredibly young – I was 24, she was 21 and newly graduated from college.

By the standards of yesteryear, we would have been considered “old.” Through the life lens of someone now 20 years older, I know otherwise.

What we knew of love then could be equated to a thimble of water beside a flowing river. It was simple, encapsulated and possessing the naïveté of our age.

We knew we “loved” each other, but I don’t think either of us knew exactly what that really meant.

Two decades later, I think we have a much richer understanding of what love is and should be.

Together, we have grown both as individuals and as a couple. We have struggled with finances, job transitions, the loss of parents and the loss of unborn children.

We have encountered lows that neither of us could have anticipated on June 19, 1993 when we dressed in our finest and said “I do.”

And, conversely, we have cherished the “highs” that our marriage journey has brought – the birth of three wonderful children and a home and community in which to raise them, the support of loving family and friends, good health and many blessings both seen and unrecognized.

These collective experiences have challenged our marriage at times and strengthened it at others.

And now, looking at a photo of the fresh-faced people we used to be, I fully understand and appreciate the vows I took on that cool, rainy morning.

I am a much better person because of the gift of love I have received from my wife Missy.

It is a gift often simple – a smile, a shared laugh, cups of coffee and conversation in the quiet morning hours before the children awake or a yard full of wandering chickens – that has great magnitude when given repeatedly, every day, for 20 years.

It is a gift to which no price can ever been attached and one that, indeed, can be considered “priceless.”

And those who have been fortunate to receive such a gift during their lifetimes can truly be considered blessed.

I know for certain that I am.


  1. Beautifully written John! I was honored to be a witness to that special day 20 years ago and even more thankful to have you both in my life today! Happy Anniversary to a great couple! Love you, Nancy

  2. We were fortunate enough to be on the guest list and although I didn't know either of you that well, felt extremely welcomed and happy. You two have made a wonderful life with each other and should be congratulated for a life well lived. Happy Anniversary.

    PS...the reception was a blast!

  3. Beautifully written. Happy Anniversary!

    Rick Fortin (another cousin by the same name . .)