Silver anniversary sharing
Marriage is a covenant, but it is also a test. It is a test to see if perseverance will win over capitulation, whether faith is stronger than doubt, and if unconditional love can triumph over unforgiveness.
Last week, I featured the message that my son, Jake, delivered to his parents, on the occasion of our silver wedding anniversary. This time, I will share my own message, in the hope that this, too, shall inspire other couples to persevere in their own journeys.
1993 was a very memorable year, as far as memorable years go.
That year, the first Jurassic Park movie hit the theatres, overtaking ET as the largest grossing film of all time.
Also that same year, William Jefferson Clinton became the 42nd president of the United States.
The Chicago bulls won the third title in their first of two three-peat NBA championship runs, after which Michael Jordan retired from basketball, to pursue his dream of playing his favorite childhood sport of baseball.
And of course, 25 years ago tomorrow, Dingdang and I exchanged our wedding vows in a church not too far from here, a young couple about to embark on our life’s journey together.
A quarter of a century hence, we can tell you what a truly fantastic journey it has been. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing--as no human activity with more than two people involved ever is. Marriage is a covenant, but it is also a test. It is a test to see if perseverance will win over capitulation, whether faith is stronger than doubt, and if unconditional love can triumph over unforgiveness.
Indeed, as I look back over the course of 25 years, the word that comes to mind is purification. The 25th milestone in a marriage is called a silver anniversary, and the famous story of a silversmith refining his silver perhaps describes best where the name for the event may have come from. The story is entitled The Refiner’s Fire, which narrates what a woman witnessed as she watched a skilled silversmith make fine silver jewelry. The story goes like this.
The Refiner’s Fire
As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: “He sits as a refiner and puri- fier of silver (Malachi 3:3).”
She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?” He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy-—when I see my image in it.”
And that’s the only way I can explain to myself why Dingdang and I are still here, committed to the same vows we made to ourselves, to Christ and to the Church all those years ago. There were indeed times when we were, like the impure silver, subjected to the hottest fires. And in spite of it all, our marriage was never consumed by the flames, because the Great Silversmith who constantly seeks to purify us all from our imperfections, never for a moment turned his loving gaze away from us, patiently waiting to see his image upon that silver.