40 years (and 1 month) ago, my parents started their wonderful life together. There are many reasons I’m thankful for my parents, but since most of this blog has been focused on our year of traveling, I’m going to focus on that. My parents have been the biggest supporters of the decisions I’ve made in my life. Maybe it’s because I’ve often chosen to do things that already were important to them – my dad was a runner in high school, they both graduated from Cornell, the Detroit Tigers are our family team, I married a soprano. But I think more importantly, they recognize the importance of learning, growing, exploring, and loving others and they have always encouraged me to do that. I’m thankful for the way they not only have tried to instill those qualities in me, but the way they have been amazing examples.
Both of my parents went to school with a focus on education and while they have never taught in schools (save for a year of my dad teaching that likely solidified the notion he would be happier in ministry than high school), they both have spent their lives teaching and encouraging people of all ages to grow and learn more about the world around them. My parents have been focused on bridging social gaps and, Mom especially, has spent time contributing to and leading programs which bring together people from differing socioeconomic backgrounds to discuss how they can overcome those differences and live together in a more meaningful way. Dad and Mom have both given a lot of time and energy loving, caring for, and encouraging people who much of the world writes off and may be difficult or frustrating at times, but my parents have found the patience and the love to continue to be there for those that need them. I have often taken this as a challenge to live for others in a similar manner. I fall well short, but I pray that over my life as a grow and mature, I will be able to set a similar example for our kids.
So how does this pertain to our trip specifically? If you haven’t already watched it, there is a video on our About Us page that we explain some of why we are taking the year to travel the world. One of the big reasons is to understand more about people in our world that don’t look and live like us. For the first five years of our marriage, we lived in Dorchester, a mostly low-income, minority neighborhood. We may not always spend our time serving or even interacting with our neighbors, but it has helped us to fight some of the stereotypes that come when we see people as “those people”.
In case you hadn’t noticed, we are back in the states now and one of the reasons why we decided to spend a bit of time here, was to be able to celebrate this huge milestone in person with my parents. We had the opportunity to live with them for 3 weeks (not sure it’s every parents dream to celebrate their anniversary by having their jobless 33 years old and his wife come back to live at home, but I guess they did appreciate it). My wonderful wife spent much of the first two weeks planning and coordinating a celebration with family and friends, many who had been able to celebrate their wedding day 40 years ago. It was a wonderful time of catching up and hearing some special stories about that beautiful day.
Dad and Mom, thanks for being a true inspiration to both of us as we travel and for encouraging us in those travels. We’re looking forward to crashing in the guest room on our way back!