Sixteen Candles

No, I’m not referring to a Brat Pack film about unrequited love and a forgotten birthday from the early 80′s. Instead, I’m privileged and delighted to celebrate the 16th anniversary of my wedding to the girl of my dreams.

Kathy and her Dad, minutes before our wedding ceremony
“Daddy, I’m not sure I want to go through with this … “

As we stood in the hallway this afternoon, sneaking a quick smooch, Kathy asked me, “Doesn’t it seem like yesterday, that we were living upstairs from Nancy in our little Stamford apartment?”

It does seem only a few years ago … I remember when it was just the two of us, and we still felt like kids, just pretending to be married people until the real grownups came home and sent us off to our rooms.

Wedding Recessional
Mr. and Mrs. Edgren take their first few steps together …

Time’s relentless current has swept us through the years, and here we are with five children, less energy, a very full and busy life, and just a little more wisdom, than when we started. In all this I have learned one important thing: to give thanks. We have so much to be thankful for, so (as any good parent will agree) I should write a thank-you note.

A Thank-You Note to God

Thank you, dear Jesus, for loving us and for saving us from our sin through your death on the cross. Thank you for adopting us into your family and giving us the Holy Spirit to guide us in joy and righteousness. Thank you for arranging our lives so that we could meet at a time when we were both capable of loving and being loved.

Thank you for protecting us from being too intimate (with others and with each other) before we were married. Thank you for blessing us with good communication skills, and with a good marriage. Thank you for teaching us how to fight gently, and for restraining our speech so we didn’t say things that would hurt each other deeply.

Thank you for giving me the ability to work and earn a good living, and thank you for helping us manage our money. Thank you for blessing us with the courage and desire to raise five children, and for giving us the fertility to conceive them and bring them into the world. Thank you for growing us in maturity and grace, and for helping us to build our faith and our love for you.

Thank you for giving us excellent examples in our parents, of marriages built for the long haul. Thank you for allowing some trouble in our lives, so that we could learn to hope and persevere. Thank you for sixteen great years of life together.

I have some regrets about my life. I wasted some years in high school, fighting spitefully with my parents. I spent nearly a decade getting through college, carelessly losing my scholarship and taking a lot more time to grow up than I should have needed. But I can’t say that I regret any of the years since I found my sweet Kathy — she has filled up my days with fun and joy and purpose and meaning, as we build our family and present it as our offering to our Lord.

Kathy at Crim Dell
They say that if you kiss a girl at the top of this bridge, you’ll be with her forever. Kathy and I took extra care to make sure.

Indeed, candles are a poor metaphor, burning out so quickly and dribbling inedible wax on the cake. Perhaps it would be better to speak of jewels in a crown, one for each year that we have enjoyed, loving and serving each other as unto the Lord. A few months ago we had the chance to honor a couple at our church who had been married some sixty-plus years. As the applause of the congregation washed over the white-haired pair, I quietly resolved, “unless the Lord takes us home, there’s Kathy and I in fifty years.”

These days many think that when marriage gets tough, they are free to walk. Others don’t bother with marriage at all, and some misguided folk even think same-sex relationships should be called ‘marriages’. Kathy and I place a high value on marriage in the sight of God, between a man and a woman, and we continue to honor our vow from that day, sixteen years ago: ‘Til death do us part. My heart still skips a beat when I look at her sometimes … not because she’s still a 21-year-old hottie, but because our love and trust and investment in each other has grown and grown over these years.

Happy Anniversary, Beloved.

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7 thoughts on “Sixteen Candles”

  1. A very sweet and touching ode to your beloved!!! We love her for sure!!! Ya did good big brother…….

  2. So, so beautiful. I love the way you love Kathy. Why won’t you guys move here and be our friends?!

    That first photo thew me for a loop. I thought, “That guy doesn’t look ANYTHING like Tim! I’m so confused.” Thanks to the miracle of captions, I figured it out. :)

  3. I was there with you when you wed. How precious it was- and even more so 16 yrs later. Congratulations. We have friends who just celebrated 70 yrs of marriage. WHEW.

    I love you both and your wonderful kiddos. Aunt Kate

  4. Thank you all, for your many well-wishes.

    Cindy (Still His Girl) — sorry, but we know too much about your home state — they let snow actually fall on the ground where you live. Maybe you should move here?

    Funny about Kathy’s Dad — he looked so young in that picture, that I knew I would have to identify him in the caption, or people would think he was the groom. :)

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