A Raindrop for Every Blessing

June 6, 1968 - June 6, 2018…

50 years of marriage, 18,250 days as husband and wife, countless adventures, more than just a few different home addresses, 4 amazing children, 13 adorable grandchildren and even 5 precious greats. A lifetime of their love for us to honor and cherish.

One year ago, our family looked forward to honoring this incredible milestone - after all, a love that lasts a lifetime is truly a gift and definitely something to celebrate.

The typical party prep and planning kicked off and details were fussed over. Decorations were purchased, a specialized menu was arranged and jobs were assigned to kids and grandkids - each according to their skills. All hands were on deck to commemorate this blessed event. We make a great team. Everything was under control… except for Mother Nature.

We felt semi-prepared with back up plans and had been (hopefully) praying the rain away all week. Finally the day came, the weatherman did not instill much confidence but the jukebox was bumping and we were ready to party! Everything was in place and guests started to arrive… and so did the rain. Gradually, the drops grew bigger and bigger. It was almost comical. More guests brought even more rain!

The pinterest planner in me was sad that special touches were literally being washed away in the mess of the weather. But it didn’t take long to notice that the smiles were still there; friends and family showed up anyway, grabbing every available umbrella to help others to the house and tent as fast as they could in their best attempts to stay dry. Greeting each other, laughing and huddling together all the way across the soggy lawn.

Paper banners may have sagged and wilted, chalkboards washed clean, balloons mostly popped before folks arrived and my favorite shoes became mud shoes that day. But at the end of it all, I felt the warmth and love of our family and the friends of my parents under the tent that day, and I was just reminded that all that other stuff was just fluff.

Perhaps the most ironic and laughable thing was all the work that had gone into grooming and refreshing their huge backyard. Plants were pruned/thinned/moved, lawn was mowed, flower pots were placed to add joyful pops of color and wood piles were, well, they were still there but we spent time directing the focus to the more ‘attractive’ parts of the yard. Wouldn’t you know that the rain came down with such a force and at just the right angle that we needed to go rent and add a wall to the tent to keep us all dry. And from the inside of that tent, under the shelter from the weather, surrounded by some of my favorite people - that ‘unattractive’ wood pile served as the most perfect rustic backdrop for this beautiful celebration!

Things don’t always go as planned, sometimes your party gets rained on, but what matters is the One in whom you find your true shelter. And those you are surrounded by can help you weather any storm.

Thank you Dad and Mom for the legacy of love, dedication and perseverance you have given to all of us - not just us 4 amazing kids. Because when two people choose to love each other wholly and completely, modeling Christ’s unconditional love for us, everyone around them is showered with blessings.

Damion Van Slyke