To Love and to Cherish
Updated: Jan 2, 2019
Over the past few months of watching my father-in-law fight a battle with cancer, my husband and I have become more aware than ever of how important family really is. It’s not that we didn’t already know that family is important. It is just that we suddenly realized how preoccupied we have been with many things in our busy lives as the weeks, months, and years fly by in what has seemed like a blink of an eye. Time. Time we cannot get back. And time is short. Shorter than we realize.
Tuesday of last week, my fifty-six year old husband came home from spending time with his father. His father had been talking to him about the days when he was in diapers. He referred to them as the “real” diapers. He said, “Mama used to put those real diapers on you and then you would mess them up. She would wash those things out and hang them on the clothes line. I would pick them off the line and they would be stiff as boards. Your bottom would get so red from those things that we would have to just lather you up with Desitin.” And he laughed and he smiled.
As my husband was telling me about their conversation, he said, “I thought that was so odd. Dad doesn’t talk like that. Where did that come from?” The following day, his father passed on to Heaven.
Funny, what a man thinks about when he looks back over his life and reminisces about how good it was. A man that has served in the navy, traveled abroad, knew many people, saw many things, accomplished many things and had many things… yet when he looks over his life, it’s those little things that have been the most important, even the things that were messy.
He looks back and smiles in his heart about the days he and his bride were raising little boys with dirty diapers and red bottoms. He envisions himself picking cloth diapers off of a clothes line in the back yard and feels satisfied that he has lived a happy life.
It’s a full life of a man and a woman who carry on through good times and bad, prosperous times and lean times, healthy days and days of sickness. A man and a wife who didn’t quit, didn’t give up, didn’t throw in the towel, didn’t walk away when the going got tough, but built a home together, built a family together, and built a life together. It’s a husband and wife who enjoyed the little things. They enjoyed raising their children together, spoiling grandchildren together, birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, and family gatherings…together. A man, together with his wife, who has pressed through a lifetime of little things, even messy things, looks back upon his life and he smiles upon those same little things as the most treasured of all.
Today, I am writing to every wife who is sweating the small stuff. I have a message for the wife who refuses to let go of the insignificant things; the things she has allowed to drive a wedge between her and her husband. I am writing to the wife who has been wasting time with her pouting, with her grudges, with her determination to punish her husband for some misstep that he has made along the way, when instead she should be building a home, building a family, and building a life. I am writing to the wife who has allowed the disappointment of yesterday to keep her from making today count; the wife who has not been able to see past her present struggle. She has been unaware that the very things that are not easy today, are the building blocks of the treasured life that she will one day look back upon with satisfaction and a smile. So hold on. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Don’t throw in the towel. Keep building. Recognize what is really important and of real value. Revisit your vows.
I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part…
When we said the words “to have and to hold from this day forward,” did we consider how many days that might be?
My husband and I are coming up on our twenty-eighth year together. Where has that much time gone? It seems like it has passed by so quickly. A woman married fifty-six years was not ready to lose her husband. It seemed to happen so quickly.
So my questions for us all today are these: Have we been so busy and preoccupied that we have forgotten to cherish our time together? How often have we stopped the rat race long enough to give our children moments of our undivided attention? Have we let days, weeks, months, and even years pass without spending any quality time with our parents whom we only have a short time left with? Have we lost relationship with our siblings? Do we really even know who they are anymore? And most importantly, have we been exercising our wedding vows to love and to cherish our spouses? When I say cherish, I don’t mean cherish these things somewhere in our hearts. According to the definition of cherish, to cherish is not a feeling or an emotion. It is a verb.
Cherish one another now. Reflect on what is really important. Reevaluate the way that you have been building. Realign anything that needs to be realigned. Consider the things that you have been preoccupied with and the things that you have been giving your time to. James 4:13-14 reminds us that life is like a vapor. It appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
Time – the progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.
Rarely, do any of us regard our time together as husband and wife as a whole. We don’t get the opportunity to live life from the end to the beginning. We can only look ahead into the unknown and the uncertain. Right now we can’t see the entire picture of the legacy that we have been building together for our families. But there is no better time than right now to protect and care for each other lovingly. Let’s remember what it is that we adore and hold dear. And then, let’s hold on to it, cling to it, and nurture it from this day forward.
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