On bended knee, with fairly certain hopes for an affirmative response, I invited Terry to be my wife. It was then, and still is today, called engagement. Ours took place exactly 54 years ago today, August 15, 1965. By now you know she said yes.
Part of the proposal was that we would move from Austin, Texas to Springfield, Illinois. That was the location of the Lutheran Seminary that would accept graduates from a secular university. That was me. Bachelor’s Degree. Texas A&M. Animal Science.
Terry has occasionally mused about the dual nature of the proposal, with a slight twinkle in her eye, wondering aloud what I would have done had she said yes to the first part and no to the second. I quietly and teasingly respond by saying, “I guess we’ll never know, will we?”
How could we have known what personal experiences, family events, vocational challenges, and career opportunities would come from that invitation and its acceptance more than half a century ago?
- Eighteen different residential addresses.
- Two children, one son-in-law, two grandchildren, all genuine blessings from God.
- Seminary in Springfield and vicarage/internship in Charlotte.
- Sixteen years of mission development and pastoral ministry.
- Fourteen years of Christian estate planning and higher education development.
- Nineteen years of regional and national church body presidency.
- The passing of parents, grandparents, other relatives and friends.
Along the way, both of us have worked hard, individually and together, in the home, in the world, in the marketplace, in the community, in the church. We’ve done things we didn’t really know how to do. None would have succeeded without the grace of God.
Our family has brought and continues to bring great joy, laughter, fulfillment, and godly pride. Flavored with occasional seasons of uncertainty, anxiety, tears, and concern. Navigated with imperfection, faith, hope, trust, and love.
Our many, many friends have been and continue to be remarkable sources of encouragement, camaraderie, stimulation, and companionship. All of them are gifts.
Sin and imperfection have led to times of disappointment and pain, both from outside and also from within our church body. Yet by the grace of God, our faith has provided hope in times of despondence, comfort in times of sorrow, assurance in times of doubt, inspiration in times of discouragement.
These are merely a few highlights of more than half a century together, with lots more to tell. It all began 54 years ago today. With a heartfelt invitation. And a trusting, loving response.
Regrets? None. Would I do it all again? Absolutely. And I’m fairly certain Terry would still say yes.