Bitter Vinegar or Fine Wine?

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Hi Everyone!  While I’m away, I thought I’d share this blog post my mom did for the Changing Seasons blog.  I know I’m biased, but I think it’s pretty amazing!

Last month, my parents just celebrated their 61st anniversary.  What an incredible accomplishment! The truth is that it is more accurately described as a miracle.

They met on a blind date, fell in love, and were engaged in 3 weeks and married in 3 months……and they lived happily ever after!  Not exactly.   I have always been so intrigued by their love story.  It always assured me that God is the God of Romance and He loves a good love story, especially when He is the author.

From the perspective of one of their children,  a miracle is the best word for this love story.  I remember some evenings where my parents would be arguing (loudly)  late at night.  The children would stand in their bedroom door, watch them, and for a while the heated words would continue.  Mom and Dad were totally unaware of their spectators.  Eventually, they would notice us and being filled with regret, they would sweep us into to their arms and take us back to our rooms.

The tragic death of a child, a business wiped out by the only flood in Denver since the days of Noah, serious challenges with rebellious children, were the platforms that sent my mother to her knees, desperately seeking God’s strength and wisdom.  

The fruit used in both wine and vinegar is often the same.  On a recent stroll in the grocery store, I noticed the words sherry, champagne, pinot grigio.  This was not  the wine aisle, but the vinegar row.
The recipes for  making wine and vinegar use some similar words-crushing, fermentation, strain, and store.

From the same fruit, and similar processing, can result in two very different products-wine or vinegar.  the final results depend on how it was fermented; the actions and the reactions.

As I reflect on my parents marriage,  memories of their being crushed, strained, and even fermented are still there.  They had every opportunity to become a marriage filled with bitter vinegar, but instead they determined that together, with God, they would survive the process.  God-centered choices led them to become the best example of a perfectly aged fine wine.

To this day, I still see chemistry in their love.  They have set an example of the importance of  kindness.  With the onset of Mom’s macular degeneration, Dad has become the star example of how to love and serve one another.    But to me, the most important ingredient in their love story is their dedication to pray together every day.

On a recent visit to Denver, I was heading to have breakfast with my parents.    Their voices, quietly joined together in prayer, startled me.  Like the child of years gone by watching a heated argument, I stopped and listened.  I was now mesmerized by the deep love expressed in their prayers.  Was I intruding on a private moment?  Maybe.  But on that morning, I learned like my parents, I have the opportunity to make the same daily choices as my parents.   Do I want the “process’ of my life to become a self-centered bitter vinegar or  can I decide to “ferment” gracefully with kindness, faithfulness and love?  These are the ingredients that help to determine the difference between a  life that becomes a bitter vinegar or a fine wine.  And I don’t know about you, but I’d take a glass of fine wine over bitter vinegar any day of the week!