A few days ago (April 16), my wife and I celebrated our twentieth anniversary… of our first date. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but I’m one of those guys who remember obscure anniversary like that. I remember it like it was yesterday. Oh, not just because I was finally going out with Aime Johnson. I remember it because we had to end it short so that I could go to the hospital to see my twin brother after he had a bad pole vaulting accident. As a matter of fact, my buddy J.T. took her home and spent the evening with her. Lucky for me, J.T. was a good guy and one I could trust otherwise it could have been our 1st and last date.
My wife and I dated from the time she was just sixteen and a Junior in High School until we we engaged on her eighteenth birthday and married six months later (she was eighteen and I was twenty).
When you marry young like us you get the advantage of growing up together. To be honest, I have a hard time thinking about my life before my wife, because there really wasn’t much life before her. Eighteen years seems like a long time until you’re pushing forty. Every year since the first year of marriage, I’ve asked myself the question:
What do I want to be when I grow up?
That seemed like such a tough question at twenty. There were so many possibilities. My resume’ had everything on it from a Degree in Bible, to a vast array of coaching experiences, to a license to drive a M113 tank from serving in the Army National Guard as a TOW missile gunner.
So what was it going to be? A pastor? A missionary? A mercenary for hire? I had no idea.
At first, the decisions of life and work were easy. Just do what ever you can to make enough money to pay the bills. If the bills were paid, then your family would be taken care of and everything else would fall into place. So that’s what we did. I worked as a hardware rep. for my uncle for many years. I was also a part-time Youth Pastor at my Grandma’s church. I coached 3 seasons of sports at a local school, worked production line at my in-laws. I even went as far as buying and selling artwork on this new website called eBay, and built custom-made barn wood entertainment centers and tables and sold them at flea markets. You name it, I did it. Whatever it took.