You were good-looking when we married August 22, 1975. You still are. Your beauty runs deep. Your life is beautiful to watch. I appreciate the way you love your parents, your siblings, children, grandchildren, me. The legacy is moving forward. You have helped to shape children whose lives also speak of beauty. They still enjoy spending time with you, because you are a giver, not a taker. You add to their life. Your girls especially look to you, learn from you, laugh with you, trade stories.

You have added beauty to my life. You have slowed me down. I see more when going twenty miles an hour rather than sixty–and get fewer tickets. I am much better off for having married you. I thought I was a musician, but you have enriched our lives by singing your prayers, singing prophetic words, singing in the car, singing table grace, singing in the Spirit. I get choked up when I hear the solos of a young Karen. It is so beautiful that I cry. God made you a singer–I am the benefactor!

You have added an international component to our family life. You are more Japanese than American. Americans are “those people.” I still enjoy telling people that I married a Japanese. “Funny, she doesn’t look Japanese.”

You have loved your parents well. Go ahead and claim the promise of a long and good life (Ephesians 6:3). You honor them, enjoy them, show gratitude for their sacrificial life, care for them, call them, and pray often for them. They love being around you, because you serve them well, laugh at your dad’s jokes, and appreciate your mom’s grace and kindness.

You give people the gift of time. When I am done in an hour, you are ready to go for two. You don’t watch the clock. You don’t even know what time it is. You use the calendar more than the clock. That makes me proud of you–and nervous when it’s time to board. We haven’t missed a single flight, but we’ve come close! I’m glad you’re not like me–most of the time.

I am amazed that you didn’t complain when I left for church at 7 AM on Sunday mornings–leaving a houseful of kids. I was an idiot. You were a mother. Thank you for the many times you had to put up with my inconsistencies. I thought I was doing right. Wrong! Being religious and being right are often quite different.

Things improved in our life together when I quit trying to change you and began to better love you and appreciate who you were. I am thankful that I have finally learned how to live above offense. (Well, most of the time).

You both root for me and stand up to me. If you are at a different place, I hear about it. Better than stuffing it and taking it out in a different way. Thank you for being truthful, loyal, absolutely trustworthy–and fun.

We have had a really rich life–to this point. At 73 and 68, this is the oldest we’ve been so far. I have this crazy feeling that it’s going to get even better. Fasten your seat belt. I think we’re in for an exciting ride. Happy 42nd anniversary, dearest Karen! Thankful that you said yes–through the tears.                    

Much love to you,  Paul


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