Pastor Don's Journal Articles
My Funny Valentine
“...You make me smile with my heart”
A few days ago we were in Farmville, Virginia, for the funeral of an aged lady who was a part of my very first pastorate. It was a privilege to conduct her service, and it was a joy to greet many old friends at the service from those long ago days.
While in that town, Audrey and I drove through the campus of Longwood University and stopped in front of the little apartment adjacent to the school, on Buffalo Street -- where we lived in the earliest months of our marriage. I was already living there and she moved in when we returned from our honeymoon. It was bitterly cold that January, and a snow storm had cut our trip short. We had to dig a path to the door.
“Let’s see if we can look inside", I said last week. Audrey was up for it, so we parked the car, climbed the steps to the second floor, and knocked on the door to Apartment C.
A young woman opened the door. "We hate to bother you", I said, "but we lived here a long, long time ago when we got married, and we were wondering if we could see the place again for old time's sake." It never hurts to ask, you know.
We looked pretty harmless, I guess, and she was so gracious. “Sure! Come on in", she said with a smile. The place looked much smaller than either of us remembered it having been, but all kinds of other memories came quickly to mind. Mostly of the very small kitchen -- still too small for two people to work in at one time or even to turn around. There were some cabinets now, though, something we didn't have. The bathroom had been modernized, too.
This had been our two room "love nest". And even back then, Audrey and I shared it with others, entertaining guests almost constantly. Establishing a pattern of ministry around the table that we still maintain today. And we are still using the same table and chairs today that we bought and used in that little apartment (our first family purchase, from Town and Country Furniture on HWY 15).
We told the college student living there now that she had something else that we didn't: HEAT. Our landlady in those days was very stingy with that (and the thermostat was downstairs in her apartment!). We had to make our own, cuddling together for dear life under thick, heavy blankets.
These few moments in the old place made for a special stop on an already sentimental journey and sacred pilgrimage.
Today is Valentine's Day, and I have taken Audrey back to that original honeymoon spot for a little getaway. We are in beautiful White Sulphur Springs, WVA. That hadn't been the original plan for our wedding trip -- we didn't have one -- but the snow storm had us stranded there so we made the best of it. All we could afford then was a room at a small motor court. This time we are at the world famous Greenbrier.
The agenda: To remember the past and the days that were -- and then to make new memories for what we expect to be a next chapter in our marriage that is every bit as rich and exciting.
Something like what we were doing at First Baptist on Sunday in those remarkable services. I say it almost every day now: For all that has been, thanks; for all that will be, yes.
" ... Each day is Valentine's Day".