Sixteen years ago today, I was standing in the back foyer of the church I was serving at the time, waiting on the music cue so I could go and prepare to meet my bride Holly. My groomsman buddies tried to convince that we should have gone to the courthouse instead of standing in tuxedos in front of a church. Today I look back at some things I've learned in 16 years.
It sounds so cliche these days to say, that "I knew the moment I met her, I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her." As cliche as it maybe, I can honestly say that's true. We met in college of all places in one of my ex-girlfriends dorm. Holly was a freshman and was meeting people in her "village" living quarters and I was hanging out with some friends. From that point forward I sought to get to know her and convince her that I was worth taking the risk on. Less than two years later of dating, we were married.
Many told us that we should wait until we could afford marriage. It's true, we had nothing. I only had some mismatched furniture, TV and a twin size bed. (Obviously that had to changed). I remember my grandfather asking when I was going to ask that nice girl from Stanford to marry me. I said "when I can afford it." He laughed, he said "honey, I married your grandma in the great depression, nobody can afford to get married, you just do, and you make it work."
Apart from the Gospel those were, and remain the most liberating words I have ever heard. I bought a ring that wouldn't impress anybody, and we were headed to the alter.
As I look back, maybe we weren't "ready" to get married. We were ready to commit to one another. we exchanged our vows, promising to be there for one another, through better or worse, richer or poorer, til death and only death to separate us.
As I look back, I can see the intense joy that made it into our lives that never would have made it in our day dreams about the future. We loved those late nights eating Tony's pizza's, cause that it all we could afford. We loved taking breaks from Seminary and class studies to watch Frasier re-runs. We loved holding each other in a hug embrace because we were uncertain about ministry and life.
Truth is, there’s no way we could have made that budget work. And there’s no way we could have grown up enough to be “ready” for what God had for us. We needed each other. We needed to grow up, together, and to know that our love for each other doesn’t consist in our having it all together. It didn’t start that way, and we still had us.
Now, sixteen years late I look at pictures that pop up on our Facebook feed, I see people that are gone from us, including my Papa. I see two young kids, who were unsure about a lot of different things but not their love for each other. Were we ready? No, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Happy Anniversary Holly