Monday, August 11, 2014
“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” ― Mark Twain
My wife and I have been married for 49 years now. The photo at the right is on our 49th anniversary we celebrated at Pete’s in Arusha, but that doesn’t begin to tell the story. When we were young and just married, we both taught in elementary schools in a ghetto of Los Angeles. Karen taught there for twelve years, I taught for three and then worked in mental health, wrote for Hollywood and TV, and founded a mobile medical services company while picking up a Master’s Degree in Literature at California State Polytechnic University. We moved to Arkansas in 1980, so I could pursue a PhD at the University of Arkansas while Karen continued her teaching career, first at Elkins and then in Fayetteville. By this time, we had three sons, one born in Abilene, Texas, one born in Hollywood, and one in Fontana, California. They would all three go on to become graduates of the University of Arkansas (as did my only niece and nephew). While in Arkansas, I entered the ministry (my wife had sworn she would never marry a minister but ended up hitched to one). We moved to Boston for me to go to seminary at the Boston University School of Theology. Most masters degrees are for 30 semester hours, a few are for sixty, but mine was for 140 semester hours and four years of study as I specialized in Theology, Philosophy, and Ethics. After graduation, we moved back to a small town in Arkansas—Gravette, population 1,200 with twelve churches. I was the pastor and known by everybody as “Preacher.” We loved our time in Gravette and still have many close friends there. Then came two more moves, one to Rogers, Arkansas, and then one to Fayetteville. Through all this there were serious medical emergencies, financial difficulties, and a heart problem that kept me from driving for three years. Then, of course, I took my wife on a mission trip to Africa, and, well, the rest is history. We lived in over twenty houses in four states, our sons attended many schools in several states, one graduating high school in Fayetteville, one in Gravette, and one in Rogers. As a couple, Karen and I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, got trapped in a blizzard on Mt. San Gorgonio and had to be rescued. We sailed under Niagara Falls, visited with humpback whales off the coast of New England, cruised the Caribbean, sailed an America’s Cup yacht, and went on mission trips to Brazil and Peru. In short, we were not homebodies. The joy of my life is that we did all of this together. Our joys and happiness were always doubled by the sharing of them. It continues this way. Up and downs, bumps and smooth parts, medical scares and peaceful African sunsets, all are who we are and make us ever mindful of the blessing that is each other. Male and female He created them, and we are forever grateful.