November 17, 2008
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Faith Editor
If your father misses me, say, "David asked if he could run down to Bethlehem, his hometown, for an anniversary reunion, and worship with his family."
-- 1 Samuel 20:6
We all have special (and not-so-special) days from our pasts we mark, and remember. Most important among these are weddings, birthdays, things you just get in trouble if you don't plan for.
Then there are the days that are deeply significant to no one but you. For me, I'm currently smack in the middle of the 11-year anniversary of the greatest one-month period of my life. Here's what happened...
October 19, 1997 - In the middle of my college recruitment swing through the Southwest (always a real treat to have that territory since I get to say with my favorite aunt, uncle, and cousins in Albuquerque, and then with my parents in Tucson), I learn upon landing in Tucson that I can upgrade to a convertible for only an extra $2 a day. As I used to drive a convertible around my hometown as a teenager, this is of special significance. I drive to see the folks that night completely high, looking at the stars. Was completely driving 'under the influence.'
October 20, 1997 - Mom and Dad have landscaped the backyard and put in a hottub. Nice. I get up early, and soon they join me with their coffee. We discuss how things are going with this girl I've been seeing, and I announce my intentions to marry her. Mom takes off work that day to take me to a reputable estate jeweler she knows, where I instantly see the ring I want to purchase. Heart is singing.
October 22, 1997 - I have to fly home this day, so before work, Dad comes in and sits on the edge of my bed. We're very close, and I tell him for the thousandth time in my life of the peace I have over a decision. Knowing he is stressed about things at work, I mention he can have that peace, too, if he'd only surrender to Christ. He takes that in, we talk some more, he hugs me good-bye.
November 4, 1997 - It's still College Admissions travel season, so I'm on the road again, this time in Tulsa. From my hotel room, I call home to check my messages. It's my father. He's crying. Tells me that morning he and Mom prayed, and after 17 years of waiting and hoping and praying and trying to live out an example for him, he has accepted Jesus into his heart. The process was slow, at first painful. He and my mother almost divorced over the issue of Christianity in the early '80s. God softened his heart. Humbled him. Revealed many years ago to my mother a promise that "Dan would be saved, and your children will walk in victory." And here it was.
Day before Thanksgiving, 1997 - Somehow, I have kept the secret that I am carrying an engagement ring from Valerie (though I haven't kept it from anyone else, as I have a big mouth). I fly to Virginia to spend the holiday with her. I suggest we sit on the couch to listen to a cheesy mix tape (yes! a cassette tape! Even for 11 years ago this seems outdated to me now)... After a couple songs on the tape, my voice comes on telling Valerie how wonderful she is, how I've found my soul mate, blah blah blah. Tells her to look in my briefcase. I am going to close my eyes while the next song plays (Stephen Curtis Chapman's "Go There With You"). When it's over, I hope to have her answer. Song ends. I open my eyes. Look at her. She is still speechless, and dumbfounded. But manages to say yes.
Oh to have a month like that again!
But then, I kind of just did. As I typed those words, it was like re-living it. The victories our Lord grants us during the mountaintop periods of our lives are soul sustenance in the valleys. Memories like this are refreshing. Marking the days is reflective, and encouraging. What anniversaries will I be celebrating 11 years from now?
Intersecting Faith & Life: Think about the greatest period of your life, and what the Lord did for you at that time, and how He has used it to make you who you are today. Go back and kneel at that altar in appreciation and restoration. Amen.