A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year. Paul Sweeney
This month my husband and I will be married 40 years. When he asked me to marry him, we had planned a June wedding after his first year of ministry school at Melodyland School of Theology in Anaheim, CA . I was in Denver and progressing in my air traffic training program. A June wedding would have been at a more routine phase of my training and would include the option of taking some time off.
However, the first part of October, just as I was entering a critical phase of training with no option of time off, David called. He said “I think we should get married when I am home for Christmas break”. We had not planned a big to-do, just a family and friends day church wedding with a cake and punch reception, but still 10 weeks? Seriously?
There were some logical reasons for this request, which are beside the point right now, and in spite of all of the reasons to the contrary, I said OK. It only meant:
- getting a dress – which I ended up making
- assembling an invitation list
- ordering invitations and a cake and flowers
- Oh and bridesmaids dresses, tuxedos
- and of course, continuing my studies in air traffic
- with absolutely no money saved
But still, why not? Indeed….
Celebrations Need Help
Fortunately, God gave me an awesome friend, Beverly, to pull it together. We also had a strong church family of talented musicians, cake makers and decorators, as well as family on both sides who rallied to make sandwiches, mints, punch and, of course dresses. My sister, my matron of honor, became the seamstress for the wedding party.
I made a trip to California on a long weekend, to see David where we bought our rings on sale at J.C. Penny. I also bought material (on sale) and, with the help of my great Aunt Eunice, with whom I was staying, we made my dress and veil. David arrived back in Colorado a few days before the wedding and with medicals in hand we got our license. On December 17, 1977 we were married over the weekend at The Happy Church with family and friends to witness. We had 24 hours to celebrate at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. I was then back to work learning how to keep airplanes from colliding.
Celebrations and Obstacles
It sounds like all went off without a hitch, but there would be no story if that were the case. The wedding was scheduled on a Saturday between my high altitude and low-altitude pass-fail non-radar problems at Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center. (did I say pass/fail?) I had been through this process once before at the FAA academy, but that did not make this phase any less daunting.
As with each of the 13 stages of training, I had to pass this one or I would be out of a job. That meant at least one of the two final graded problems for the low and high altitude sectors had to be flaw-less. If I passed the first graded, which was on a Thursday, I would not need to take the second one on Friday and could take the day of to be a bride. But….
…I failed. Two of the 30+ aircraft got closer than required 10 minutes apart . Ten minutes that changed everything, I would have to go in ant take the last problem on Friday morning and pass or our wedding would take place under a cloud of uncertainty regarding my employment situation.
Celebrations in Spite of….
Needless to say, I unraveled down to my toes internally. I walked out of the facility, drove from work to my apartment, where David was waiting to celebrate my achievement. My face said it, and once I saw his, the tears came. In between sobs (which does not happen often with me), I told David the status of things. I will never forget his response: He took me in his arms and said something to the effect, “You are an amazing person. I do not know many women who could or would put themselves through this, I am so proud of you”.
Those words melted away all the fear, doubt and care about our future. Any doubt about this man I had decided to marry or the leap of faith we were about to take disappeared. No matter how things went, it would be Ok. I knew God had things in hand. The next morning I went to work, and with every ounce of focus I could muster, passed the last problem. I then took the rest of the day off to be a bride.
Remembering to Celebrate
Each December, in the midst of this special season, David and I celebrate our lives together. This being our 40th, all year long we have saved up, thinking about what we could do to make special. Nothing seemed right.
A few weeks ago, a call came that made us realize why we couldn’t seem to get any plans together. For the three weeks prior to out anniversary I will be on the other side of the world helping an organization with a much needed project. It is a God thing and we are excited and peaceful about it.
We will still celebrate and maybe even take a trip later – like our wedding trip to Hawaii eight months after our wedding. But, this anniversary will be sandwiched in between last minute Christmas preparations and, I suspect, jet lag. Some things never change.
More than that, we celebrate God’s plans and dreams. Jesus, God come in the flesh, as Savior, Redeemer, Comforter, the Reason for Hope. Love Demonstrated. God the Father, Son and Spirit, the three in One dreams about you. Really. No matter what this season is doing to or for you, let that truth soak in.
We send our warmest and most sincere prayers for you and yours this season. Let us hear from you in the comment section below.