I have done many things in the course of my 65 years, and I hope to do a lot more. There have been many journeys, like my solo motorcycle rides on the Pony Express Trail or the Oregon Trail, but none as good or as long as this one.
Today, May 23rd, 2016, is the 30-year anniversary of marriage to my best friend, my companion, my confidant, my lover, my wife, Lin.
When you are dating, and trying to decide what your relationship is going to be with this other person, it’s not unusual to have doubts. Maybe that’s youth, or maybe it’s the fear of making a mistake. With Lin, I came to realize that this is the person I am supposed to be with. She is my soul mate. Maybe we were together in a previous life or will be again, but I know, that I know, that I know she is the one.
From the moment I met her, I knew she was unique, perhaps the most interesting and unique woman I ever met. While we were dating, she had a hand in the decision for me to enter the ministry. And even more so, she married me while I was pastoring a small rural church in Illinois. Not many women take on the role of Pastor’s Wife, but she did. She was a great PW and the congregation loved her. We left the formal ministry when decisions needed to be made and opportunities arose. We faced that together, and it gave our young marriage strength.
I am not sure if it is our love that creates the respect for each other, or the respect that strengthens our love. But, I do know this, respect is vital to a relationship and it carries over into friendships and business associations. Having respect for others is vital to building relationships, trust and community. And it is respect that motivates us to serve our family, friends and others.
We have had some wonderful travels and adventures, like our first trip to Florida together, spending some time in a condo overlooking the beach at Panama City Beach. Eating great food. Walking the beach during the day, and listening to the waves crash on shore at night with the patio doors wide open all night long.
Our travels in 2004 and 2005 took us along the Lewis and Clark Trail for the L&C Bicentennial. With our birthdays in November, two days apart, we went to Oregon to celebrate the Lewis and Clark event at the Pacific, “Oh the Joy. Pacific in view.” William Clark wrote that in his diary on November 7, 1805. My birthday, November 7. What an incredible adventure.
Then, for our 25th, we had to do some creative planning because Lin was attending a conference in Reno. So, I flew to Reno at the end of her conference to meet her. The next day, we boarded Amtrak for an 8-hour ride to San Francisco where we stayed for several nights in a motel in the Fisherman’s Wharf district.
Great food, cable cars, China Town, Golden Gate Bridge and ferries. We enjoyed it all. Then we boarded a shuttle bus to the airport, and flew home. Our 25th was truly a journey of planes, trains and automobiles.
Years ago, there was that camping trip to Colorado where the nights were quite cold. There were the birthday and anniversary weekends to see art, musicians, theatrical performances and weekends away in a cabin in the woods. The journey has been a good one, a blessed one.
When we married, I remember sitting at breakfast the morning after our ceremony. I think we were still on a cloud, and of course, we still tell this story as we did the other night when we had dinner with friends. Lin said, “I have three rules for you. No beating. No cheating. No butt crack.” It’s good to have rules.
I don’t know where the time went. It doesn’t feel like 30 years. It has not been about the destinations in our travels. Destinations like Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco, Nashville and more were wonderful travels and getaways. But it has been the every day routines of getting up, going to work, cooking and cleaning, building homes, taking walks while holding hands, and making a life together that has been the greatest journey. It has been the best journey of my life.
“This is dedicated to the one I love.”