you first.

In a hot church in northern Wisconsin 51 years ago, a young couple each pulled up to this sign. After a brief conversation, they climbed into the same car and drove away into life, a life which has tested their resolve to follow the rules of the road.

A yield sign is a challenging sign. It suggests that someone has determined that the road you are on has to defer to the road someone else is on. It also exists as a suggestion, to be applied with interpretation. If there seems to be enough space to move, you can move. If there doesn’t appear to be any traffic, you can keep moving. In a yield sign, there is none of the harshness of a stop sign; yield is more about willing surrender.

My parents understand willing surrender. Three children (who made it full-term), countless church meetings, band concerts, plays, building projects, job disappointments, disappearing friendships, chronic illnesses. Five homes (not houses, homes) providing decades of decorating decisions. Years of eating out, providing even more decisions. A couple life-and-death medical times, providing even more decisions.

After all that yielding–to each other, to God, to their children, to the world around them–you would expect them to be, well, consumed. I mean, if you are always giving up and giving in, don’t you eventually find that there is nothing left of you?

I watch them look at each other. I listen to them talk to each other. They look at each other and get the giggles. They take each other’s hands, painfully at times, and slowly walk. They spend hours together, just the two of them.

And here’s what I think.

If giving in to each other and to God means that there is nothing left of who you were–and the result after 51 years is quiet, giggling, slow-walking love–then I want to know where to sign up.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. See you next weekend.

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3 responses to “you first.

  1. Did you ever notice that some of your most beautiful descriptions come forth when you’re writing about your family?

    This is lovely…Thanks for sharing it. I’ll be in line right behind you for the sign-up.

  2. Thanks Amy. I guess I’m inspired by the deep love of those around me. And grateful.

  3. This is beautiful Jon. Please pass along my (day late) best wishes.