My parents just celebrated their 42nd wedding Anniversary yesterday by going to lunch at their favorite seafood spot. When I called them to ask how it had gone, my mother was in tears. 

42 years of marriage is quite the accomplishment, especially this day in age. Marriage is work, if you've ever been married, you know this. Hell, maybe that's why i'm divorced.

Most of my friends come from divorced families, i've always felt lucky that my parents stuck it out. Let's face it, it's not easy. People take one another for granted when they see them everyday. Add in all those irritating little quirks and resentment and 42 years can seem like a prison sentence. Still, my folks have persevered and their love has grown through the years.

Sitting in the booth at the restaurant just about to order, my father very sweetly tells the waitress they are celebrating 42 years of marriage. The waitress genuinely inquires about their life together in a quick little trip down memory lane. She then takes their menus, congratulates them and says she will put their order right in. As she walks away, a tiny voice emerges from the booth behind them. "Excuse me?" My parents peek over the booth to see an older woman sitting alone behind them. "Did I hear you are celebrating your Anniversary today?" My mother responds "yes, we have been married 42 years." The older woman smiled sweetly and revealed "I am celebrating my Anniversary too." My Father then asks "Oh, that's wonderful, congratulations! How long have you both been together?" Thats when the woman tears up and says "My husband just passed away recently and yet I still felt like I had to come out and celebrate our love. It would've been 47 years this year and I miss him so much." After a nice conversation about each other and their Anniversaries, the food came and they both went back to their own business. My mom and dad were so touched with this woman's story that they decided to pay for her meal. What a beautifully compassionate gesture in the true spirit of what an Anniversary is all about...love. The woman was in tears from their kindness but let's face it, she reminded them of how fragile life is and maybe those quirks can be overlooked with a bit more patience and appreciation.

We just don't know a stranger's story. I wish we could all be a bit more gentle with one another. We all have struggles and sometimes taking the time to get to know someone else's can give us a new perspective on our own.