On my Grandparents’ 60th Anniversary

I’ve spent the better part of a month trying to come up with something to honor Grandpa & Grandma’s 60th Anniversary. At the same time, I’ve been preparing for years. How do you, in a few short sentences, sum up two people who mean so much, not only to me, but countless others. It’s difficult and almost impossible.

But I’ll do my best.

One of the major trends today is #relationshipgoals. We see something we like in others and make it a #goal. And it’s funny, because we set our goals upon seeing only a moment in the lives of people and determine that their relationship is enviable and even worthy of imitation. We know nothing outside the YouTube video or the article in the paper. It’s simply a sweet moment and nothing more.

Our generation doesn’t really look at the whole of any relationship. And to be honest, some are not worth peering into. We all want a marriage that is like a compass: unwavering and sure. Always reliable and, though it has been through many voyages, remains true. In the Johnson family, we don’t have to look far to find a “compass marriage.”

It’s been a little over 60 years since Grandma put on her dress and Grandpa put on his tux and they said “I do” for life. I’m sure that 60 years ago they never dreamed of where God would take them on their journey together.


So, so many stories. More than can be told. Stories about being a Pastor and Pastor’s wife. Stories about raising six unique children. Family vacations. Ministry ups and downs. Grandma is always telling me to write a book, but honestly, I think she’s the one needing to write an anthology.

And the great thing about Grandpa and Grandma is that they are not super human like they seem. They just love people. They love their family. They love their God. And really, it’s that love for God that shows itself in everything they do.

I think we grandkids can all tell similar tales: how Grandpa and Grandma love us without condition. Always remember birthdays. Make normal things seem special. Attend our concerts and graduations and performances and games. They even came up to the boonies to visit me in college – more than once! To say, “You really don’t have to…” is really absurd to them – they really want to. And there are 19 of us, not to mention 13 great-grandchildren… enough to keep a calendar full!

I remember them coming to my brother’s first birthday party. At the time, my favorite thing was to dance to ANYTHING in the Top 40. My neighborhood friends and I would come up with these fantastic routines that put shame on choreographers today. Well, my friends convinced me that my grandparents would love our tribute to Paula Abdul. Love. It. And because anything your friends say at 8 years old seems wise, we did the routine. For my Baptist Preacher Grandpa and Grandma.

They clapped. And giggled. And I thought they were tickled pink and they never let on otherwise. It wasn’t until later watching the recording that I discovered Paula Abdul really wasn’t in their list of favorite artists. So you see, sometimes their love and grace was to a fault. And I love them for it.

Grandma would let us play dress up and have tea parties. Grandpa would let us bang on the piano and help him do things at church and drive us around at midnight when we were colicky. We weren’t an annoyance to them. While these seem like such small things, these acts of love set us up for a lifetime of memories and legacy. And they give us an example of how to love without strings attached. Like Christ loves us.


The amazing thing to me is that 60 years later they are still spreading that love. Still serving and loving – a little slower- but showing us how to age well and be faithful. And I am not the only one that thinks these things. I even had a friend recently say, ” I just want to be like your Grandparents when I get to be their age.” And it is not the first time I have heard that.

I kid you not, I had just delivered our little Meredith when Grandpa & Grandma came by to meet her. As soon as they left, my nurse comes in and says, “You know Pastor and Mrs. Johnson?” “Yup. They’re my grandparents.” “They are some of my favorite people.” Mine too.

So here I sit, with immense pride and love as a granddaughter of an ordinarily extraordinary couple. Thank you, Grandpa and Grandma for showing every one of us the love of Christ and giving us such a wonderful legacy and example to pass on to our children and grandchildren. We love you.



2 thoughts on “On my Grandparents’ 60th Anniversary

  1. We have had a little taste of their big hearts, starting with your wedding week. Every time we have visited WI, they have been a pleasure to be around. Also, they again showed their big hearts when they traveled all the way to FL with Stephen, Nattie, and Mere for Brandon and Rachel’s wedding. They have always shown love and graciousness. Cindy Franklin

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