Friday, July 24, 2009


Today is my 33rd wedding anniversary. Suzy and I were married in downtown Orlando, Florida, on a blazing hot July afternoon in 1976. We said our vows in the Reformation Chapel of First Presbyterian Church. Charlie Horne, who had been Suzy's youth pastor, officiated. My dad was my best man.

It was a long ceremony. At the time, Suzy and I belonged to a house church that was, to say the least, a bit on the intense side with some of our practices. So we had chosen all these Scripture verses for the pastor to read during the ceremony. We wanted to be sure there was lots of Bible in our wedding!

A friend of ours sang a special song, "One Hand, One Heart" from West Side Story. The congregation also sang a hymn. Oddly enough, we had chosen the hymn "Be Still My Soul." We picked that hymn because of the lines
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
...which is a fine hymn, except that it's very somber and has more to say about death than about marriage! I remember standing up there thinking that hymn would never end. Could the organist have played it any more slowly?!

My biggest memory from that special day, however, was seeing Suzy walk down the aisle toward me. Before that, I was shaking like a leaf I was so nervous. But when the doors opened and Suzy's dad began walking her down the aisle, all nervousness disappeared. I was overcome that God had brought this woman into my life.

After the reception, which was at the church, we changed and ran out through the crowd to the VW camper which I was driving back then. At the time, people still threw rice at weddings. I remember I never got rid of all the rice inside that car. It was even in the cuffs of my pants legs for months. We drove to Cocoa Beach for the first leg of our honeymoon. The rest of our honeymoon we spent at Ormond Beach and my parents' house at Lake Murray in South Carolina.

Thirty-three years later, I'm a very blessed man. I love you, Suzy.
Make of our hands one hand,
Make of our hearts one heart,

Make of our vows one last vow:

Only death will part us now.

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