Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The 25 Year Picnic


People often say, "Marriage is no picnic." I disagree.  Picnic describes marriage perfectly.

I'm a fan of picnics.  If it isn't cold or windy, I'll pack a basket, find a nice spot, throw a blanket on the ground, and enjoy the experience.  Several decades ago,  I found a handsome, kind , and very patient man.  On May 13, 1989, a picnic basket given as a wedding gift was packed with reception food, including slices of delicious chocolate grooms cake and POUND CAKE wedding cake, and sent with us to Florida.  We're still on the picnic.

What do you love about picnics?  Do you like a quiet, romantic picnic? That's important.  A picnic won't last long without the sweet "only two of us" time.  Sometimes we invite friends and family.  They lighten the load, bring food, laughter, and an extra set of eyes and ears for the challenges that come with EVERY picnic.  

Here's a word association.  I say picnic, you say?  Ants? No matter how sunny, how wonderful, how perfect the picnic, there will be ants.  Tiny ants disguised as bundles of joy briefly distract us from the picnic.  Before you can say, "we have the ants under control," every minute of and every conversation about the picnic centers around them.  More time consuming ants, with four wheels or with a front porch, join the picnic, and our words go from the sweet "isn't this a blessed picnic?" to the realistic "when's the next payday?"

At least it's still sunny.  We're comfortable and have plans for the perfect picnic, but the forecast isn't always reliable.  Rain, more annoying than the ants, isn't what we had in mind, so we're frustrated and irritable.  Luckily, we remember our umbrella of love, patience, and forgiveness.  However, the rain develops into a storm, and we're sick, sad, afraid, and exhausted.  But, a group that cares about US invites us to their shelter, encourages us, and shares their stormy picnic stories.

We deal with the ever present, not-going-anywhere ants and weather the every-picnic-has-one storm.  Blue sky and sunshine, so we continue our picnic, but what happened? The bread is stale.  The soda is flat. The cookies are crumbled.  We've had enough of this picnic. It's time for a different location and fresher basket.  We're tempted to ignore the DO NOT PICNIC IN THIS AREA sign, thinking no creature will invade the picnic.  It's then we sense a strong cord, pulling us back, reminding us of the good, happy picnic we've enjoyed all along.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.  But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10NLT

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.  Ecclesiastes 4:12NLT

Solomon, an Israelite, knew three was the number for completeness and realized there's strength in numbers.  Some teach this cord as the Holy Spirit; in fact, some ministers include the three-fold cord in wedding ceremonies as symbolic of husband, wife, and God.  Even if Solomon didn't have marriage in mind, it is fitting. 

I've been on a picnic with David for 25 years.  Obviously, we survive on patience, forgiveness, respect, kindness and love. We lift each other up, and when we allow the Holy Spirit into our hearts, He strengthens and pulls us closer.  God sent a patient, kind and understanding man who has selflessly reached out to help me many times.

Solomon wrote of an attack.  But instead of defeat, the enemy is conquered by a triple-braided cord.  From the onset of our picnic, family, friends, and a particular group of people known as Concord Baptist Church have been part of our cord of protection and strength. Knowing the importance of the triple-braided cord, they ate cake, wished us Happily Ever After, fed us and our ants, loved us, encouraged us through the storms, and picnicked with us. They don't want our picnic to end.

Happy Anniversary,