Finally Fitting Together

So if you happen to have marked on your calendar, you’ll see  that we’re just about 4 days to our 50th!  Wow.  As you can imagine, the excitement level is picking up around here.  Last night Tony dreamed there was an elephant in the house and it was looking for him!  (He said apparently he was cowering in the shower) ……well, you can draw your own analogies, but at this very moment I’m torn between writing this to you and cleaning the linen closet!  The party isn’t till Saturday the 3rd, but people are going to start arriving soon.

I guess you’re wondering about that “evening-spoiling” kiss I mentioned last week.  Yes, we both realized that our “mateship summer” had blossomed into something more, which prompted a little more kissing before I headed off to college in Omaha Nebraska, again about 500 miles from Tony.

We were pretty committed to each other when we parted, but I left saying, “There’s just one thing holding us apart,” and of course not telling him what the “one thing” was. Mean ol’ me, but you remember, I was determined not to tell any guy I was going into full time Christian service and then have him “coincidentally” pull up with a similar decision.  I needed to know his decision was generated by God and no one else, and I really believed (and hoped!!) that God could make it happen.

Tony’s parting words to me were, “Now don’t expect a letter every week from me; you know I’ll be very busy.”  He was, and sure enough, I didn’t get a letter every week…… I got two or three.

We fell more and more in love and it was getting to be painful. What should I do?

Drastic situations call for drastic measures. I was just 18, but I remember suggesting to my roommate, Patti, who understood the problem, that we had better just pray about this.

So there in the dorm, like two old spinsters in our room on a Saturday night, Patti and I prayed that Tony would come to his senses!

Well, now you need to pan the camera 500 miles over to Colorado State University. There’s Tony in the basement of the Baptist Student Center, where he lived.  He was pouring over a chemistry book because there was a major exam coming soon.

As he told it, he was flipping through the pages, trying to imagine what questions might appear on the test. “What are the properties of a filtrate? What’s the formula for a bromide? Why not go into Christian service?”

“Hold it;” he thought,  “Where did that last question come from?” Tony looked back through the book but could find nothing like the question that had just smacked him upside the head. He tried to ignore it, but it wouldn’t go away. Finally, for the first time in his life, he got onto his knees and prayed, “God? Was that You?”

The rush that came over him was not to be ignored. He went to bed thinking about it, went to church the next morning and shared his experience with everyone there, then came home and wrote me a letter (remember these were the days before email). He spelled it all out, like I just did with you. Keep in mind that we had NEVER mentioned ministry in any conversation to this point.

Toward the end of the week I got that letter.  If I was the nice, trusting little girl you may have imagined me to be, you’d think that I smiled and thanked God; but unfortunately by now I’d become a certified cynic. My first thought was that Patti had been unable to keep the secret and had called him or something.  Even though she denied it, I was convinced that he was up to no good. So naturally I broke up with him.

Tony says that my letter I sent back to him was smoking when he took it out of the mailbox. I can’t remember exactly, but he insists that the words, “stupid”, “crazy” and “throw your life away” were featured. Harsh.

The next week I got a surprise in the form of HIS letter that said, “I can’t imagine why God would take away the person I love the most, but this is a decision I believe is from God, so ‘good bye’ to you too.”

I’ll never forget the sound of the quarters tumbling into the pay phone as the operator waited until I put in enough to make the call. My first words were,

“Did Patti tell you?”

“Tell me what?” he asked.

“That I’m going to marry a minister; that’s the ONE thing I’ve been taking about all this time!”

We got busy getting married.  A year and a day from that disturbing kiss, we became man and wife. And now that’s been 50 years ago. Not a bad foundation to start a life on. And God has always been faithful.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee”.    Isaiah 26:3

Marsha

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