I will always remember June of 1980. The sun was brutal, we forgot what a rain cloud looked like, and the electric bill was impossibly difficult to pay. Weathercasters will be talking about it in their news broadcasts this week. The summer of 1980 is recorded as one of the most devastating natural disasters in US history. More than 1700 lives were lost because of the heat and massive drought that occurred that summer. That season is listed as a billion-dollar disaster. It is also the summer Jim and I got married.
June 7th, 1980 was incredibly hot in Houston, Texas. Our home was full of family who had come in for the wedding. We left for the church in the heat of the afternoon and arrived to find that the church janitor had only just arrived to turn on the A/C. It was still about 90 degrees in the building and I don’t think it cooled down below 80 degrees by the 7:00 p.m. “start-time.”
My florist arrived with a couple of extra bouquets and many apologies. The heat wave had caused the A/C in the shop to break down and all the flowers looked about two days old. The cake arrived at the last minute because they were afraid for it to sit out for long. I was dressed in my mom’s wedding gown, waiting to go in and wondering how to have a reception without cake. The crowd in the auditorium looked wilted and used the program to fan their faces vigorously and the preacher was wearing a robe over his suit and was probably trying not to pass out.
My wedding would not have been considered a “social success” by most. But, thirty-seven years later, it does to me. My strongest memory of my wedding was none of the things I mentioned above. In fact, I remember thinking that I probably should be caring about those things. But the only thing that mattered to me was that June 7th had arrived and soon I would become Mrs. Jim Denison.
We had been dating for two years and engaged for six months. We had both graduated from Houston Baptist University two weeks earlier. During the engagement period, I was a student teacher, worked part time and took two extra English classes so I could graduate. And, I planned our wedding. If there had been no flowers, no cake, and no A/C I think I still would have been excited about my wedding. I was happy to hear the music we had chosen that our good friends sang. I was happy to see the smiling faces of our families and friends who came to celebrate with us. Mostly, I was happy to see Jim waiting at the end of the aisle. It was hot, miserable and not everything I had planned the day to be; but none of that mattered when the organ chimed the seven o’clock hour.
We have been married for thirty-seven years. Two sons, nine homes, several churches, many friends and one internet ministry later I can honestly say it has been mostly wonderful. There are still things in life that I wish had gone differently but those things are almost all like those semi-wilted flowers. They just don’t seem to matter very much, in light of the fact I still get to come home to the same face I walked down the aisle for in June of 1980.
As I sit typing a blog post and remembering the summer of 1980 that is my only thought. The electric bills just about killed us that June. We were so poor we could have filed for government assistance, but we never gave that any consideration. We just found extra jobs and cheap housing, and ate a lot of hamburger and beans. But we were married and that was about the only thing that mattered.
Perspective is a great thing, and it is good to remember what things were like so we can be grateful for the way things are today. But this life, compared to eternity, is a lot like my wedding day. If I look around, I can notice that several things have not gone quite right and could have been better. But, I know one day the doors will swing open and the only thing that will matter is the one who is waiting, smiling at me from the other side.
Whatever is happening in your life, try to view it from God’s point of view. He views the earth from an eternal perspective. Things like wilted flowers won’t matter very much to God because He knows they don’t matter very much forever. God’s perspective will give truth to anything that happens today and to every day that follows.
Thirty-seven years later, I know what mattered most thirty-seven years ago. One day, I will view my entire life from an eternal perspective. And I am grateful to God for giving me Jim for this earthly life, and most especially the fact we will be together for all eternity. I am blessed!
“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” –Charles Spurgeon
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