Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Candle

Our honeymoon was a brief stay on a beach in Florida. Not as spectacular for us as you might think since we lived just across the state. He was nineteen and I was eighteen. We thought we were pretty grown up. We weren’t. We grew together over time, learning about life and love and balancing college and work. Eventually, we learned about parenting and trusting God with our daily lives. But all of that is another story.

This Christmas I Spend With You
The song was old. I don’t remember where I first heard it. The lyrics were something like, “Mark this holiday; mark it well. Note how perfectly right it fell. All my wishes at last have come true, because this Christmas I spend with you.”

I could look up the words if I wanted to, but they may be different than I remember and I don’t want to spoil the mood.

We were married one week before Christmas. The pianist couldn’t find the music to that special song, so we had her play “The Twelfth of Never,” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Tom sang the Christmas song to me. Just me. On our honeymoon. “Mark this holiday; mark it well…”

For my gift, Tom bought me a wedding candle. I gave him cufflinks. Our mothers lit the candle that Saturday night in December at our wedding. We burned the candle every anniversary. I don’t know what happened to the cufflinks.

The candle was supposed to last for twenty-five years. We lit it every December on our anniversary. It burned as we ate dinner. We would dance in the candlelight. We took it with us when our anniversary was celebrated on a ski trip in Colorado or when we traveled to see our parents over the holidays. We never missed a year of lighting our special candle.

Our Candle with Pics from our Wedding
 and the weddings of our girls.
But a strange thing happened. It never burned down. A little maybe… but, not very much. We passed the twenty-five year mark, then the thirty. The candle was still tall as we crossed the forty-year line and showed no signs of melting away to nothingness. Forty-one, forty-two. We joked about it. We said it would last eighty more years.

And then early in November, just weeks before our forty-third anniversary I burned it for six hours one night and another hour the next morning. A thousand people witnessed it. It still stood tall. But that morning; that sun drenched November morning when I blew it out, I followed the Hearst to the cemetery and buried the only man I ever loved.

Yes, perhaps I was a bit melancholy when I first wrote this story of our candle, but I cherish the gift I had in being Tom’s wife. I treasure the forty-three years we celebrated life together. I’m fully aware there are people who can’t lay claim to even forty-three months of a happy marriage. Recently, someone asked me if I continue to burn the candle on my anniversary. I don’t. Surely one day my children will burn it to nothingness and celebrate the fact that I’ve joined Tom…that together, we are experiencing joy beyond measure in the presence of Jesus.

Now that’s cool.

To give to the Thomas R. Waters Memorial Scholarship Fund, follow this link and use the "Make a Gift" button on the right. On the form, use the drop down feature on the box to direct your gift to the Thomas R. Waters Memorial Scholarship: Thank you.

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