It was my parents-in-law’s Golden wedding anniversary this weekend. To celebrate, they invited friends and family to a wonderful weekend in Wales, where we all stayed in a hotel which we had to ourselves.
There was something special and magical about the whole occasion. The sun came out. The views across the valley were revealed as the morning mist cleared. Everybody had something lovely to say about the happy couple on the 50th anniversary of the day they married.
During speeches at the celebration lunch, my father in law told the story of how he met my mother in law when they were just teenagers, and still at school.
Luck played its part, as he was too shy to approach her. They happened to bump into each other outside the local Post Office where they were both posting letters for their parents. They talked for over an hour. Finding courage he didn’t know that he had, he asked her to go the Fair with him that night and she said yes, despite the fact that she hated Fairs, and still does.
‘And that was it’, he said.
They got married seven years later, in their early twenties. Their marriage has outlasted the Beatles, video recorders, the space race, fax machines and the Berlin wall.
Life – sadly – is not always so perfect. My own parents never made it to their Golden Wedding Anniversary. My dad died many years ago, before I had my own children, and I never got to see him as the wonderful grandpa he would have been. Nearly 50% of children today have to go through the pain of seeing their parents divorce.
Yet it is because life is so imperfect, that we have to celebrate stories like theirs. We have to believe in fairy stories and celebrate each new wedding and each birth of a child. Come together as families and communities and be grateful whenever there is something to be grateful for. Love your family, however many Christmas dinners you have to eat. There is no such thing as ‘normal’ anymore.
We can’t choose what sort of a hand life deals us, but we can choose how we react to the life we have, and make the very best of it.
Which is why in today’s blog I am celebrating the story of two teenagers who met outside a post office in 1956, and found that they did not want the conversation to end.