Dearest Debbie, My Dove! August 20 is your birthday. You and I know how many-th this one is. But, what it means to me is that it is another year I have had the privilege and pleasure of sharing and enjoying with you!
So, when I went to look for a card to give you, I did what I always do: I just began pulling and reading the cards to myself, and when I find the one that moves me and makes me start to tear up with emotion, I buy it. That’s what I did with the one I gave you.
I welled up with tears because the card says what I say so often. Here is the text of the card:
“There are moments when I catch myself saying, ‘WOW! That’s my wife!’ They seem to come in the most ordinary times – when you’re laughing with our family, when we’re having dinner with friends, when you and I are together doing nothing at all. I’m still amazed that out of all the men in the world, I’m the one who gets to share life with you. After all this time, I still don’t know all the reasons why God trusted me with one of His most amazing gifts…but I’ll be grateful every day for the rest of my life that He did! Happy Birthday! I love you!”
And then I wrote some other little personal notes and signed it the way I always do: “Forever and a day – Dave!”
But, what so attracted and bonded me to the card was that line
“There are moments when I catch myself saying, ‘WOW! That’s my wife!’ ”
Because I do. I think that to myself. I say that to myself. I catch myself saying to you, “WOW! You’re my wife! I haven’t gotten used to being married to you – and enjoy being with you and living with you!”
You have been “WOWing” me and making me say “WOW!” even from the first time I laid my eyes on you and met you. Your Dad invited me to preach in the church’s Youth Conference that February of 1972. He picked me up at Bluegrass Airport and took me to your-all’s home. We stepped inside the front door, and you walked through the living room. I said to myself, “WOW!” It would still be a few months before we even began corresponding with one another. But I was impressed from that first sight! It may not have been the proverbial “love at first sight,” but I was very impressed! To quote William Wordsworth: “She was a Phantom of delight when first she gleamed upon my sight; A lovely Apparition, sent to be a moment’s ornament; Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair; Like Twilight’s, too, her dusky hair…” and so forth. I was like “WOW!” even that “first time ever I saw your face”!
While I was staying with you all and preaching for those few days, your Dad and I drove around town running errands. One of those errands took us to the old Turfland Mall. There was a Kodak kiosk out in the parking lot, and we picked up your Senior class pictures. He laid them down on the front seat of the car between us, and there you were again! “WOW!” I really wanted one of those pictures. But I wouldn’t have thought about asking your Dad for one since I had known you all for only a couple days! That would not have been appropriate! It would be a few short years later before I actually got one to carry.
Then, we were married! And we have shared the last 41 years of our lives together! We have been together everywhere we have been…and everything we have been through. Much of it has been difficult…some of it has been painful…often it has required you to make huge sacrifices. But, I think about all the times you have taken my hand, and looked at me, and said: “Go where you think we need to go. Do what you think we need to do. I am with you…and we are following Christ together.” I think about all those experiences, and I say, “WOW! She’s my wife!”
And much of that time and shared experiences has also been joyful. Yes, so much of what we have done together has been in the contexts and activities of our shared ministry. But that is where we have invested our lives – that is where we looked for our joy, and that is where we have found our joy. And still do! And for that, I just say, “WOW! She’s my wife!”
Time after time after time, I have either admired you from distant places during times of temporary travel separation, or from across the room, or as I observed you ministering and serving others in and out of the church, or working your creative gifts, or as I gazed into your eyes – and have said to myself, and to you: “WOW! She’s my wife!” or “WOW! You’re my wife!”
To think that out of all the billions [I guess] of other men who are in the world, God gave you to me! And gave me to you!
So, here’s to you, my Sweet Dove! “WOW! You’re MY wife!”
And to anyone else who may see and read this – “WOW! That’s my wife!”