The Dancing Puritan

Friday, November 1, 2013

27 Years Ago

27 years ago tonight, I walked on this golf course with a lovely young lady. That night was the beginning of a journey, an unexpected journey. Why were we walking on a golf course on November first, 1986 in Villa Rica, GA? I was working at the Georgia Tech Baptist Student Union (BSU) as the Campus Minister Intern. The BSU planned an event, for students, at the golf club. There was dinner, music, and dancing. As a leader with the BSU I was not allowed to date any girls from Georgia Tech. However, the young lady that I walked the golf course with that wonderful evening was not a student at Tech. Therefore, I received permission (from my supervisor) to bring this young lady to the BSU dinner/dance.

That being said, neither of us viewed our going to the event together as a date. We were just friends, getting to know one another, and neither of us had an "official" date, so we decided to just go together, as friends. However, as the evening went along, we talked and laughed and began the process of getting to know one another in a deeper way. We enjoyed the conversation and company of one another. After an evening of dancing, walking, and talking we began the journey home. We were hungry again, and so we stopped at the Waffle House for a late night "snack." I should have known, at that Waffle House moment, that I had met the love of my life. After all, she was willing to go to Waffle House.

That providential evening, across a crowded room (oh, I am sorry, I am getting swept away). Lets try again. That providential evening a friendship deepened and a relationship began that has had a transformingly positive impact on my life. When I spent time with Lori Hudson that evening, I was surprised with joy (to borrow a C.S. Lewis phrase). One of the things that I most remember about the early days of our friendship was the laughter. Lori laughed at my jokes. Laughter filled the air and bubbled out of the heart of Lori Hudson, whenever we were together. That evening led to weeks and months of getting to know one another that included our engagement in early February of 1987 and our marriage on August 15th of that same year.

This morning as I sat around the breakfast table, I told a part of our love story to our children. I said, 27 years ago I had a date with your mama. We could have never known that 27 years later that there would be a house full of children sitting around the table with us. I have a wonderful wife and you have a great mother. It has been a fantastic journey. Lori is the love of my life and my very best friend. I hope to live a long life. I want to grow old with Lori Rhodes. I want to better treasure, honor, protect, and cherish her. I want to better understand that the life that we have together is all pointing to the generosity of God in the provision of Jesus.

So though today is not our formal wedding anniversary, it is an important date on our calendar. 27 years ago our brief friendship took a turn for the best. I am prayerful and expectant that the best is yet to come.