One of the unexpected blessings of my trip west was the chance to celebrate with this couple their 50th wedding anniversary and renewal of their vows today. Who are they? My great uncle and aunt, Bob and Ruth Kremer. Bob is the youngest of the Kremer clan - my grandpa Joe's youngest sibling (mom's dad).
Their daughter Karen gave a beautiful tribute to them, describing them/their marriage as an example, as teachers, and inspirational. She cited their daily walks holding hands, their time spent preparing couples in their parish for the sacrament of marriage, and the way they look at each other while listening and speaking as examples.
There is so much that I love about this picture...but, I think what I love most is that it speaks to me of a legacy of love. I hear their story of faithful love, fidelity through trial, friendship, faith, hope, and prayer - and I instantly think of stories I heard about Chuck and Tillie (Temeyer), Jerry and Rita (Kies) [grandpa's sisters] at their husband's funerals - and of my own grandparents. I think of God's promise to Moses and the Israelites: to those who love me, a thousand generations will be blessed.
I have been so blessed and touched by many of you reaching out to me after Dan's death. [I hope one day to actually write to each of you personally; today is not that day.] Many of you have mentioned how blessed/lucky he was to have me (and I feel the same)...to have cared for him - and I honestly can only say: I learned from the best.
I have had a faithful cloud of men and women witnessing to me the sacrament of marriage my entire life. They teach me everyday...and "I'm a better learner than I know; I learned the lesson."
Just a couple of months after we started at Michigan State, a graduate student (and friend) commented about how Dan and I seemed to be one of those couples who defied the odds; who could work together; who have that mystical "it." It surprised me at the time; I couldn't see it. We had problems; we fought; we didn't always see eye-to-eye - we're human. But, we trusted each other; we had that easy confidence that comes from knowing you are well loved - and we generally really liked each other's company. While I have many friends - and several, special close, heart-friendships; Dan was my first best friend. And, I think he would say the same about me.
When we were first working at the University of Arizona, we had a short walk down an alleyway from the parking garage to my building. I made him hold my hand. When we got to my building, I made him give me a kiss. He protested at first, saying, "Jessica! What if my students see me?" I said, "Good. I hope they do. They need to see a good marriage lived out."
He, too, is a good learner. He lived the lesson well.
There is no limit to love's forbearance - to its trust, its hope, its power to endure.
Love never fails. Prophecies will cease; tongues will be silent; knowledge will pass away. Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like child. But when I became an adult, I put childish things aside. Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then, we will see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then, I will know even as I am known.
There are, in the end, three things that will last: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love.
[1 Corinthians 13]