Happy birthday Katie

The joys of heaven will surely compensate for the sorrows of earth. Hush, hush, my doubts! death is but a narrow stream, and thou shalt soon have forded it. Time, how short—eternity, how long! Death, how brief—immortality, how endless! Methinks I even now eat of Eshcol’s clusters, and sip of the well which is within the gate. The road is so, so short! I shall soon be there.
—Charles Spurgeon, morning thought, January 29.

Happy Birthday to Katie.

I won’t tell you how old she, although she wouldn’t mind. I just don’t want to put up with all your comments about how rude it was of me to say, projecting your insecurities on her.

But I will say this. We got married when I was 21 and we’ve been married 36 years. (Notice I didn’t say how old she was when we got married.) The point is we’re both getting to the age where we finally understand how much more we have to learn and appreciate how little time we have to learn it.

Each morning we get up and have tea together, reading books out loud. We just finished Piper’s This Momentary Marriage and we’re looking for a new book, probably a novel this time. (I’m thinking a L’Engles’ A Wrinkle in Time, no pun intended.) We’re also reading Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening and talking about whatever Scripture we may be reading on our own.

Quite frankly most mornings one or both of us has wiped a tear or two away, not because we’re sad but because we are overwhelmed with the grace of God and the opportunities we have to share in his work and contemplate his glory.

We’ve been thinking about our kids, talking about how we might encourage them in their marriages. And we’ve talked about people in our church or college students we know who may need encouragement as well.

Hospitality is a large part of this, and it seems like two or three times a week we are feeding strangers and friends, other pilgrims besides our son Pilgrim who is still at home.

And I think the thing that’s most overwhelming is that we have the strength and resources to do it. We’re grateful. And we’re grateful that God might use our faithfulness to each other to display something about his own covenant keeping love with his people.

But all week I’ve been mostly celebrating Katie. Peggy and Jim prepared a wonderful brunch for us yesterday and we had tea with Pilgrim and some of his friends today. Tomorrow we’re headed to Chicago to spend time with our son Michael and his wife Karina.

I had done some sneaking around to surprise her today with some artwork she had admired. She thought I was at the office Tuesday but I was in Ann Arbor picking it up. She was delighted.

I am too. Katie is a rare treasure, more wonderful than she ever imagines, which is part of her beauty.

I’ve been listening to her talk about Deuteronomy most mornings, grasping the big picture of God’s holiness and our need. She asks a lot of questions, which is better than having all the answers. And she is perfectly fine when I don’t know the answers either.

We’ve long since become co-journers, if I can coin a word of my own. We started our journey together aware that we were looking for a city, which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God. Frankly, the skyline of that city becomes clearer everyday.

Looking forward, Spurgeon says in his devotional for this morning, “the believer’s enlightened eye can see death’s river passed, the gloomy stream forded, and the hills of light attained on which standeth the celestial city.”

And so age is not our enemy. And fear is not our friend.

There is much joy to be had, in this life and in the one to come.

4 thoughts on “Happy birthday Katie”

  1. Wally… you so closely and clearly describe my own relationship with Barbara. Daily, no, multiple times daily, each of us feels moved to express how amazed, and how greatful we are to be together at this time in our lives. After reading Compline aloud each evening we each thank God for this totally unexpected yet wonderful gift. In our late 60s we are very much aware how brief life is, and the near certainty that sooner or later one of us will be left to carry on alone. Each day is a precious, precious gift… to be lived and enjoyed.

    You said it nicely.


  2. Wally–what a beautiful tribute to Katie, to the covenant of marriage, and to life–now and forever. Happy Birthday Katie!

  3. The two of you are like a perfect fire. One that the rest of us are grateful to sit near and warm our cold hands and faces on a cold winter day.

    When we leave, to go back into the cold, we leave having been warmed. And the warmth stays with us. Not at all like early settlers that carried the fire in buckets from one stove to another– but exactly like that.

    How many of the rest of us have you kindled?

    (Which reminds me– put Katie’s Kindle down. It’s hers.)

    Thank you (both) for being such a very, very good example of Married People. And thank you (both) for loving us the way you do and letting us love you in turn.

    Much, much Love to Katie on her birthday!

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