“I am done with travelling," I promised my aging-and-no-longer-agile self when Tony and I came home from our one-month US vacation last year.
I spoke too soon.
Early this year, son #2 called up his dad, "You have to be here for Tito Peding's 50th wedding anniversary."
Tito Peding is my Manong (older brother), a retired Pastor, who lives in the US with his family.
"Okay," my husband immediately agreed for both of us.
In these turbulent and troubled times, rarely do couples celebrate their 50th anniversary anymore. They either split up or don't live long enough to reach it. A milestone it certainly is. And son#2 wanted us to be a part of it—also to represent all the other members of Manong's family in the Philippines.
Armed with our maintenance pills and liniments, we took our 12-hour-non-stop flight (more like 20 if you add the traveling to and waiting time at the airport.)
Manong's guests flew in or drove from faraway states—a demonstration of their affection for the couple, whose long years of ministry touched their and many others' lives. The 10,000+ miles Tony and I traveled were a small price to pay to witness this:
The look of love at 50!*
"What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." Mark 10:9 (KJV)
The renewal of vows took place in a lush, sunny garden, with the couple's children, daughter-in-law (who saw to every detail) and two grandchildren, with several pastors from different Christian churches, participating.
At the reception (indoors), there was much music, laughter, time for connections and re-connections, and reminiscences over Filipino food like lechon.
I was asked to say a few words during the program. Instead, I showed a video of how Manong Peding came into our lives, when he was fifteen. A distant relative of my father, he sought out my dad to help him go to school—the least of his blood family's priorities. From that day forward, he became my and my four siblings' Manong.
That’s all in the past. What of the future?
I think that when a husband and wife have been together for 50 golden years, it is certain they will be together as they promised, "Till death do us part."
Then after earthly death, to those who believe in the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, forever will be the ultimate promise fulfilled.
*Captured by G, my daughter-in-law