60 years ago today, with mountain laurel gracing the Baptist Church in Winchendon, Massachusetts they said “I do!” and they lived it. My brother has set up a website in honor of their anniversary so friends and family can send congratulations. As much as we wanted to celebrate all together, three gatherings for family weddings since April has made it impossible to bring out the crystal and candles in person so we are doing it circa 2011 – online! There is so much I could say about this couple but my daughter Stefanie articulated much of what I feel in her on-line tribute. I have quoted it below and it captures the spirit of my parents and their marriage. Enjoy!
“Sometimes, when conversing among friends or strangers, I get deep enough into the conversation where not just my immediate families history pours out, but the history of my parents’ parents pours out. I remark on the fact that two separate people, from two different families, joined together in marriage and by this, you changed generations and generations of individuals.
When you listened to God’s calling on your life, you changed all of us, even the little ones that can’t even speak yet. When you took that boat to Pakistan, you set a fire in the souls of all your children, making them passionate about different cultures. You set a fire that dwells in me. The uniqueness of your story gives me great hope to know that two people, who listened to God’s call, effected their five kids, who, in turn, effected their kids (17 kids!) and now, some of us are affecting spouses and even grandkids!
You sparked inside all of us an appreciation for a good curry and a deep sense of belonging in airports. You may not see your commitment to Christ as such an inspiration, but your marriage truly is incredible and what you did, even through the difficult times, is a testimony to God’s amazing hand on each of our lives. You persisted and remained dedicated, allowing all of us to explore the possibilities on this earth, the possibilities of traveling and seeing different ways of life. Thank you for sparking an eternal flame in my heart, and the hearts of all my cousins. You changed generations of people.
Love you so very much and so glad to call you my very own. What a beautiful relationship you have and I hope one day I will celebrate my 60th with someone as amazing and funny as Grandpa!
Infinite love and Congrats!
Stefanie S. Gardner (#16)