Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Parkinson's and Partnership

60 years! Now that is a partnership.

Today my in-laws celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Despite more than their fair share of challenges through life they have steadfastly remained partners. They readily acknowledge that they were far from ready for serious commitment. She was 16. He was 20. As is often the case, they were both seeking something from each other that their home life had not provided. It all started out as a bit of a fairytale. There was nothing traditional about their wedding. Few knew about the ceremony. In fact, most did not know that they were married until 5 months later when my father-in-law got a job out of town. He was not about to leave his bride behind. It was a different era.

While Parkinson's has not been among the challenges that my in-laws have dealt with (as did my parents), health challenges have been part of their struggle. But through all that they remain an example of partners persevering under pressure, caring for each other in spite of any inconvenience.

What inspires me about this accomplishment is that it seems so counterculture, even counterintuitive, to maintain a commitment in today's world. Today it seems that vows evaporate as quickly as the fog on a warm spring day. One cannot help but recognize the rarity of long-term relationships of significance. Loyalty and fidelity beyond convenience and convention are museum pieces that are not often replicated or even respected in our world anymore. Perhaps, like many other things, values such as these have become outdated, superseded by our pursuit of self-fulfillment.

A week from now my wife and I will celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary. Not quite 60, but still somewhat of an anomaly. At least in part, the longevity of our marriage is attributable to the example shown by our respective parents (were my Dad still alive my parents would be celebrating their 59th wedding anniversary this year). Of course, the most significant reason for our marriage standing strong is the extraordinary commitment of my wife. She is and has been the perfect partner for me, although I cannot say the reverse is always true.

In today's world, partnerships are more like joint ventures. When the commercial endeavor is no longer expedient, or runs into stormy seas, the relationship collapses or is unceremoniously wound up. While I know that the future may not be particularly rosy and carefree, I am confident in the durability of a partnership that has been made strong over the past three dozen years.

Good friends, my family, my fellow team members at work, and most significantly by my wife have blessed me with long lasting partnerships. Not quite 60 years, but worthy of celebration nonetheless. And when facing a future with Parkinson’s or any adversary there is comfort, community and security in those partnerships.

1 comment:

  1. My dad died 8 months short of 65 years of marriage. I remember their 60th. They took a Mississippi cruise and dad insisted on renewing their vows. Their 50th was celebrated at Nashville with my brother treating them to many concerts, with front row seats. They married at 17 and 18, daddy being the younger, and their marriage survived many hardships, including his 40 year battle with as his doctor put it "the most brittle case of diabetes" he'd ever seen. I tooo wanted such a record, but after 31 years, my hubby came home one day to announce he'd gotten an apartment. On Christmas Eve he married his best friends girlfriend. Needless to say me and my 3 children were devastated, as we had not seen the signs. But God is good and this year I celebrate my 8th year with a man who waited 51 years to get married until God put us together. I so admire longevity in marriage, so tell the parents in law congratulations from me, and let them know they set a great example to the younger generations.