a 30 year rose

My husband and I celebrated 30 years of marriage this past weekend. It seems like yesterday that our kids surprised us with a big, back-yard shindig for our 25th. At the time, we renewed our vows surrounded by family and friends. I wore my wedding dress, which is not as big a deal as it sounds. Polyester knit is much more forgiving than today’s corseted glories!

Our 30th was a quieter, intimate affair. We went to a favourite bistro with our matron of honour and best man, and reminisced about the years behind us. Our children grew up together. We were “aunts” and “uncles” all around, the divide between family and friends easily forgotten. Weekly phone calls have kept us in touch with the goings on of our respective clans. Visits were always fewer than we wanted, but cherished all the more. With real friends, there’s no need for re-acquaintances. You pick up where you left off.

The following day we were treated to a barbecue by our eldest son and his wife. They are counting the days to the birth of our first grand-child. We revelled in their joy and excitement. I used my tired old line…if God didn’t make the last weeks of pregnancy so uncomfortable, then no woman in her right mind would look forward to labour! We giggled at the wee outfits packed for the hospital – one blue and one pink . Only one baby, but still a surprise! We also caught up with all the sib news and the latest on the extended family.

 After thirty years, it’s wonderful to still be crazy in love. And it’s wonderful to have the gift of family and friends to share it with. They expand that small circle of two into a life’s journey worth celebrating. 

(The Rose by Bette Midler was our wedding song.  I still get verklempt each time I hear the opening bars. And, yes, I insist on a dance with my honey each anniversary!)  



the greatest is love

minnie – the walking muppet!

Our family is celebrating the engagement of our daughter to a wonderful young man. It`s a lovely reprieve from the doom and gloom of daily news. Whether among the famous or closer to home, I`m tired of hearing stories of men and women behaving badly. Commitment and faithfulness are optional and relationships are disposable. Where is love in all the mess?

Our family is blessed with many long  marriages – love that has been tested by time and all the kaka that daily realities can throw at it. Our children have the living example of four grand-parents and their own parents. (Hmmm….among the three couples, we can boast over 140 years of marriage – yikes!)

Our children have had their share of rotten relationships and disappointments. Each time, the clan rallies to offer support. And, yes, when one of us is treated badly, watch out. We share our anger, too…don`t mess with us! We call it love. 😉

We sometimes have to go out with a rotter or two before we find the perfect soul mate.  On the plus side, it helps us recognize the qualities that are important to us. And when that one person is  finally found, all seems right with the world. We know it, and those who love us most know it too. The best of joys is joy shared.

Of all the gifts given to us….the greatest of these is love. It is the stuff of dreams, joys, and hope for a better tomorrow.

(Why the photo? Miss Minnie is our `grand-puppy`, and is standing in for the happy couple! )

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Pope Paul VI instituted the first World Day of Prayer for Vocations, on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, in 1964. The inclusivity of the term vocations varies. Most Catholics were raised to think of vocations in terms of the ministerial priesthood or consecrated (vowed religious) life. Benedict XVI`s letter for the 48th World Day of Prayer for Vocations reflects this definition. Others use the term more broadly to include the laity and our life commitments.  All are vocations and all need our prayers.

As I get older I have a new appreciation of the word, vocation. I`m at the age where peers and friends are firmly established in their professions and careers, or contemplating retirement. My own children are at the other end of the spectrum – still discerning life choices or in the early years of their careers. Discernment in the midst of uncertainty is difficult work and often a long, winding journey before all the pieces fall into place.

Because of our stage in life, we have had many discussions with friends and family about the difference between a job and a vocation. A job is an obligation and responsibility. We drag ourselves out of bed in the morning to face the daily grind of family tasks and paid work. Children must be looked after. Wages must be earned. There is little incentive to do more than the minimum requirement to fulfill our obligation.

A vocation is a calling. It identifies our gifts, talents, and passions, summoning us to use them for the greater good of others. In doing so, we find our own lives fulfilled. Do you know a doctor, nurse, or other health care provider who practises medicine as a vocation as opposed to a job? What about a teacher or professor? What about an emergency responder, fire-fighter, or police officer? What about the server, clerk or cashier who makes your day brighter by their professionalism and pleasant manner? What about the parents or grand-parents who selflessly care for and nurture young ones to their fullest potential? Our world is made better by those who live their daily lives as a vocation, and not just a job.

Our Church is made better by women and men who live faithful lives that honour commitments made to themselves, others, and to God. In a time of soaring divorce rates, women and men continue to pledge their life-long love to each other. And many celebrate silver, golden, and even diamond anniversaries.

With scandals making head-lines around the world, it is a difficult time for young people to contemplate vowed religious life or ordination. Yet contemplate it they do, and with amazing courage they answer the call to a religious vocation. They have as their mentors and models women and men who have joyfully celebrated silver, golden and even diamond jubilees in religious and ordained life.

On this World Day of Prayer, we pray for all young people that they may be open to God`s Spirit calling them to the fullness of life – in whatever vocation they are summoned to. We pray in thanksgiving for all the women and men we know who live their vocations with integrity, commitment and passion. They are our models and our mentors. And we pray that we, too, may be faithful in our own vocations that we may be models and mentors to others.