Sandy was 19, and I was 21 when we were married in Dallas, Texas. Tomorrow, September 10, it will be 32 years. During that time we have raised 3 outstanding children, began 3 church plants, been the Sr. Pastor in 3 pastorates. For 2 years we represented an international ministry. Our successes have been many and our failures fewer. Unspeakable joy and seemingly unbearable heartaches have been ours. We have soared to great spiritual heights, and we have plumbed the depths of despair. Many of the mysteries of life and relationships remain unsolved. Questions? Many. Answers? Fewer. Both friends and adversaries are ours. To many, we have been a great source encouragement. Speaking for myself, to many, I have been a great disappointment. To advance the Kingdom, we have stayed in the homes of Gypsy, Bulgarian, and Greek families in Northern Europe. We have built a school for the deaf children in Mexico. Concluding the greatest adventure of my life, I celebrated Easter--in 2005--on the banks of the Mekong River. We have discipled Chinese on their home turf, and navigated the tensions and chaos of Venezuela in the city of Caracas. We have ministered in the warmth, opulence, and exotic beauty of the Bahamas, and we shoveled snow for 6 years at the top of Maine. I have seen the ravages of Katrina, and the rage of Mt. St. Helen after she blew her top. Together, we have watched a thousand sunrises and sunsets. Sandy's mom died in our home. Her dad and step dad died unexpectedly. Nearly all her aunts and uncles are with the Lord. Grief has been no stranger.
Our union has had all the elements of a great adventure. Excitement--discouragement. Fear--exhilaration. Rough waters--smooth sailing. We have gotten it right--we have gotten it wrong. We have known clarity--and wrestled with mystery. We have been strong--we have been weak. We have laughed--we have cried. We have run--we have fainted. We have stumbled--we struggled to our feet. We have had insight--we have had no sight. We have been in awe--we have been amused. We believe there is more--not less.
How do you sum up, or explain, 32 years of marriage? Is not a a single life immensely complex? Then are not two lives, becoming one life--an unexplainable paradox?