If you are like me, most of life is made up of small routine events that seem like pebbles in the road. Every so often, however, things happen that represent markers or memorial stones in our lives. They are so important that they help us to stop and recognize the enormity of what is taking place.
I have shared before that I do not like surprises, but I may not have mentioned that I am also not very good at keeping secrets. This week we celebrated my son, Mike’s 8th grade graduation with a big surprise. Several weeks ago I was asked to be the speaker at this momentous event and felt compelled to keep it a secret. On the big day, my parents were able to attend as well as my sister and her family and Mike’s brother Ken. Somehow, I had done such a good job in keeping this secret that neither my mom nor my dad or Ken knew what was going to happen until they opened the program booklet and saw my name. Mike was so surprised that he thought it was a misprint at first.
What a joy it was to share with these bright young graduates about the value of making wise choices. They have been blessed with a great education at Open Door Christian Academy and are well prepared to be ambassadors for Christ wherever they attend High School. As I was speaking, I could not help but remember the many parents and children in Liberia (where I visited in February) that so greatly value education that they regularly prioritize school over other basic necessities of life.
Twenty three years ago tonight I was preparing for one of the most momentous days of my life. Rain was predicted for that night and I was worried that my wedding day would be a total wash out. Instead, we woke up to a beautiful sun filled day that can only be described as glorious and was made even more so by the rain having stopped just in time. Little did I know what the years would hold in store for Deb and I, but I did know that I did not want to experience one moment of them without her by my side.
Marriage is one of the biggest commitments that you can make in life and as a young 21 year old, all I knew was that I could not imagine growing old with anyone other than Deb. This may have seemed a naive thought for such a young person, but it has proven to be more true with every passing year. Doing life with my best friend has been a remarkable adventure so far and each season of life gets more interesting. As in any good friendship, there are ups and downs, but the enduring love she has expressed over these years has been far more than I could have ever anticipated. I am a truly blessed man.
While we often try to avoid the boulders in the road before us and generally prefer the smooth ride of a newly paved highway, I think that God often uses these big events to get our attention in ways that the routine things of life do not. I am so grateful for the 14 years that my boys spent at ODCA (Open Door Christian Academy) and will miss many things about this period of our lives. The reality of my life is that things do not remain the same. Children grow up and graduate, siblings get married and have children of their own and parents move away from where we grew up. In the midst of all this change, I have the privilege of experiencing each day with a spouse who brings new joy into my life at every turn and serve a God who has been faithful to my family for generations and will continue to do so as I learn to trust Him more and more.