I posted these as Facebook statuses on Saturday, but wanted to slightly expand and post them here too, where I can archive them.
 “I conducted a wedding this afternoon. It was particularly moving for the groom’s Grandma, as she had been married for 60 years and her husband died last year. She told me that she thinks the first 20 years are the hardest.”
Why did she think the first 20 years are the hardest? Because, she said, it takes time to get used to living with someone else. By which she meant, years. Perhaps 20 years. During those early years (perhaps not the full 20) there had been many times when she thought that she could not continue, but she had, and had not regretted it. Now of course, there are reasons why relationships – whether marriages or friendships or any human relationships – break down, perhaps beyond the point of recovery, and my point is not to judge us against 60 years; but her perspective was fascinating set against our cultural context, and every bit as encouraging as it is challenging. It is perhaps not surprising that our relationships cannot bear the weight we place on them...
 “One of the things that I love about being part of the Church is that I have friends - real friends - ten and twenty years older than me, and ten and say fifteen years younger. And one of the things I value most of that is that I have friends whose lives - for all kinds of reasons - have fallen apart, and who, by the grace of God, have rebuilt their life. That gives me hope, in the uncertainties of life. I feel for those who don't have such a breadth and depth of friendship.”