24 years ago I planted this tree in our front yard on your birthday.
Erin, Sammy and Shasta were our kids when this tree was planted.
How this tree has grown during our lives together. This tree has had to weather many storms, much like we have had to do.
I recently finished reading a book that Kelly's Aunt Linda recommended, Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom.
I wanted to share part of this story as a belated birthday present to you. It is a conversation between a Rabbi and the author of the book and I think it has a great message about commitment, faith and love.
"On the other hand, a true love can enrich itself. It gets tested and grows stronger. Like in Fiddler on the Roof, when Tevye asks, "Do you love me?".
A husband and wife whose love is proven through action, not words.
"When she says, 'How can you ask if I love you? Look at all I've done with you. What else would you call it?'
"That kind of love-the kind you realize you already have by the life you've created together--that's the kind that lasts".
"I think people expect too much from marriage today, he said. They expect perfection. Every moment should be bliss. That's TV or the movies. But that is not the human experience.
"Twenty good minutes here, forty good minutes there, it adds up to something beautiful. It's okay that the other one nudges you a little, bothers you a little. It's part of being close to someone".
"But he joy you get from that same closeness, when you watch your children, when you wake up and smile at each other, that as our tradition teaches us, is a blessing. People forget that".
Why do they forget it, I asked.
"Because the word 'commitment' has lost it's meaning. I'm old enough to remember when it used to be a positive. A committed person was someone to be admired. Now a commitment is something you avoid. You don't want to tie yourself down.
"It's the same way with faith, by the way. We don't want to get stuck having to go to services all of the time, or having to follow the rules. We don't want to commit to God. We'll take him when we need him, or when things are going good. But real commitment? That requires staying power, in faith and in marriage".
And if you don't commit?
"Your choice. But you miss what is on the other side".
What's on the other side?
"Ah.". He smiled. "A happiness you cannot find alone".
Thank you for being there on the other side for me.
Now my question for you. It's a real question :)