SIXTIETH WEDDING ANNIVERSARIES ARE RARE EVENTS WORTH CELEBRATING. The main reason for our down-under sojourn has been the commemoration of my parents’ marriage on May 10th, 1946, just months after my father returned to New Zealand from military service in the Middle East and Italy during World War Two. The celebration, held in Auckland last Saturday, was a wonderful mix of memory and merriment.
Guests came dressed in 1940’s fashions. Men in military uniforms mixed with the Vera Lynns and Marlene Dietriches; while military nurses in red capes tended to the ‘walking wounded’ in bandages and on crutches. Renditions of war-time favourites including ‘White Cliffs of Dover”, “We’ll meet again” and “Happy days are here again”, recalled those anxious war years.
It was all great fun – with a serious purpose. Younger generations need to hear the stories from older generations to gain perspective and gratitude. So we interviewed my parents-dad resplendent in his old YMCA officer’s uniform and cap-asking them what ten things they never dreamed of when they got married. Here they are:
1. They never dreamed there would be 60 years without another world war. To them it seemed that each generation was doomed to become embroiled in a global conflict. World War Two ended with the world falling into two camps soon eyeballing each other across the Iron Curtain.
2. They never dreamed 60 years would pass without another nuclear bomb being exploded in anger. The first and only atom bombs dropped had caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands less than ten months before this wedding. How long would it be before the next ones would be detonated?
3. They never dreamed there would be increasing prosperity without another depression. The First World War had been followed by the Great Depression. There was bound to be another after the WW2, everyone thought. Dad’s company had contingency plans to be put into action as soon as the depression hit.
4. They never dreamed that Communism would collapse before their 60th anniversary. Communists controlled trade unions in New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Canada and India. Surely this was part of the end-time scenarios preached by so many at the time: surely communism was the anti-Christ!
5. They never dreamed to see China become the factory of the world.Soon after the war, the communists took control of this giant nation which became closed to the outside world. They never dreamed that the clothing business my father later started would have millions of garments manufactured annually in China.
6. They never dreamed of the day when newly-weds would begin married life with all the modern conveniences considered essentials today: washing machine, dishwater, refrigerator, television, computers, cars, video players, mobile telephones, i-pods, and so on‚Ä¶
7. They never dreamed young people would expect to travel the world in their OE (overseas experience) before marriage. Only older people who had saved up during a lifetime of work could afford a once-in-a-lifetime world trip. My parents never dreamed they would travel the globe four or five times themselves!
8. They never dreamed they would be part of a global movement bringing renewal to the church and pulling down the denominational walls, even uniting catholics and protestants in spirit.
9. They never dreamed they would witness the greatest expansion of the church in history, which has taken place over the last 60 years, with non-western churches taking over global leadership.
10.They never dreamed that they and several of their children would participate in one of the largest missions ever, one that never even existed 60 years ago, but that now has ministered in every country.
Some say things are getting worse. But here are ten good reasons to celebrate, don’t you think?
Till next week,