I remember our scandalous beginning. Strangers pretending to be high school sweethearts until everyone in the piano lab believed it. I had never even said hello to you before that day.
I remember speaking briefly on the sidewalk outside the Olt Student Center on picture day. You had caught my attention and I was wearing black jeans that apparently had caught yours.
I remember your face in a sea of sophomore guys while you held up a kiwi. And I thought I would die of embarrassment with a one word declaration about a fruit.
But I didn't know it was the beginning of a love story.
I remember late night phone calls, shy smiles, and first kisses that took my breath away.
I remember the tiger t-shirt, the worn-thin one you still wear to bed, and your question about submission that really was just an awkward prelude to speaking your love for me.
I remember our days as a couple in chorale, as Park Place youth workers, as ministry majors (finally), and then those painful days we weren't a "we" anymore.
But I didn't know it was still the beginning of a love story.
The love story that was sown on the campus of Anderson University began to sprout as we commited our lives to one another. We stood, hand in hand, while Shirley Coolidge worked her magic on the organ. Before a room full of people and all of heaven, we chose each other.
June 6, 1998 became our day of choosing.
But I didn't know that was still the beginning of our love story.
Funny how the wedding is still the beginning. Hollywood would beg to differ. Don't get me wrong, I love me a romantic movie. You wouldn't have to suffer through all those Hallmark movies if I didn't. There's something special about the early butterflies of courtship and the breathless excitement of getting to know someone, but most romantic films are set up to end the moment the couple chooses each other.
The older I get and the longer we are at this crazy little thing called love, the more I realize that movies end before the love story takes hold. The unfolding of love is not in the candlelight of newness or the infatuation of dating. Love unfolds itself every day after the choosing.
That's the love story.
Our wedding day is the day I chose you and you chose me.
In the good and the bad.
When we have love bursts and when we discover habits that drive us crazy.
For the days we have patient smiles and the days steam comes from our ears.
When we could run the Crim and when we are hospitalized from pneumonia or childbirth.
In the moments of triumph and defeat.
When we are confident of our tasks and struggling to face the day.
When we are caught up on housework or we've run out of underwear.
For the predictable and the unexpected.
When we speak words of healing or words that wound.
I chose you and you chose me.
We chose each other that sunny June afternoon.
In the seventeen years that have spanned since then, we have still chosen each other.
Every single day.
And that is the story of love.
Every day of our marriage has been a choosing day.
Love unfolds itself every day we still choose each other.
That's our love story.
I still choose you and you still choose me.
I am still chosen and so are you.
A love that unfolds and blooms each time we choose one another.
And with each sunrise, we have a new opportunity to choose each other again.
I am pretty sure there is nothing more romantic than the choosing.
Nothing more powerful or life-giving than the choosing.
Choosing love. Choosing you. Choosing me.
No matter what.
but I am ever more grateful for our choosing each other every day since.
Happy Anniversary, Stud Muffin!