The cathedral ceiling was just as beautiful as it was on the day a half-century before when – just announced as husband and wife – they had walked hand-in-hand back down the rose-petal strewn aisle.
On that day, family and friends had smiled broadly, stood proudly and clapped loudly.
The bride’s mother had unsuccessfully brushed away tears of happiness. As to her father, while his chin was square and firm as always, his pursed lips and crinkled eyes gave him away.
Bless his farmer’s heart, he had been doing his best to corral his emotions as he had watched his little helper in overalls become suddenly this so lovely, so pretty, so grownup young woman now walking hand-in-hand with this handsome young man into the life they would make.
Now on their fiftieth anniversary, as they walked hand-in-hand down a leaf strewn path, memories of their years of happiness – and some sorrow – interlaced their thoughts.
Now it was the trees that stood quietly alongside the couple’s walk, the branches above densely intertwined but exposing – like a bride mother’s tears – faint streaks of sunlight to lighten their way.
For his wife, however, the sunlight faded one day as a tumor growing on her optic nerve stole her sight and brought darkness into their world.
After a pre-surgery appointment, as they stood in a dimly lit underground parking garage, and as they started down the dark path onto which they had been thrust, her husband reached back a half century.
He took her hand.
And now like today in a cathedral of filtered sunlight and scattered glimpses of blue sky, they put one foot in front of the other and continue to walk on down the aisle of life.