This past weekend our family celebrated ninety years of life for my wife’s Oma (grandmother). Oma’s party was an absolute success, and the smile on her face looked like it was built on a foundation of a lifetime of happiness. Generation after generation of the family filled the room, and it was good. It was good to see Oma’s kids showering her with love. It was good to see Oma’s grandkids laughing with each other as they told stories of their latest adventures. It was good to see Oma’s great-grandkids playing with each other in the back of the room as if that was the only reason they were there.
As we celebrated throughout the afternoon, there was something I began to notice: it was the people. When someone talked about a particular time, it was the people they remembered. They didn’t remember the work, the material goods, or even the success. They remembered the relationships. I quickly began to realize that ninety years of life isn’t worth it if you don’t have the people you love around you to celebrate. Oma’s joy wasn’t from being alive for nine decades; instead, her joy was rooted in the love she had for the people in the room and for the people she held in her heart.
There was one person who couldn’t be there, but whose presence was never more felt. That person was Opa (grandfather). Oma’s husband was called to be home with the Heavenly Father several years ago, but at this party he was there. You could feel him in the room. You could feel the love that Oma and Opa have for one another, a love that brought them from Holland to America on the greatest adventure of their lifetimes. While Opa wasn’t physically there, his legacy was spiritually everywhere. Oma has had ninety years of life, and she spent more time married to Opa than she did single. They had a love that lasted a lifetime.
Oma and Opa possess the kind of legendary love that people dream of, and it was clear to me that this legendary love created a legacy that will be felt forever.
After ninety years on this earth, Oma had a room full of people who loved her, the love with a man she will always keep in her heart, and a legacy that stretches across generations. After ninety years of life, Oma has joy.
What will you be celebrating on your 90th birthday?