Wednesday, June 16, 2010
The best day of my life
I awoke on June 16, 2000 for the last time at 360 2nd Street SW in Plainview, Minnesota. I had lived in that church-provided house for seven years—but my life was changing forever on that day.
June 16, 2000 was a beautiful June day—a Friday. Bill Clinton was president; it was the second day of Tiger Wood’s romp at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach; Brad Radke pitched a four-hitter as the Twins defeated the Mariners at the Metrodome. Community Presbyterian Church in Plainview broke ground on a 1.1 million dollar building the Sunday before.
But none of that mattered as I awoke that day. June 16, 2000 was my wedding day.
I had met Amy Gilman on the Monday after Father’s Day in 1998. We walked around Silver Lake in Rochester. I was immediately in love. I got down on my knees and asked Amy to marry me at a bench near Silver Lake on the Monday after Father’s Day in 1999. We were married at First Presbyterian Church in Rochester on the Friday before Father’s Day—June 16—in 2000.
That day—June 16, 2000—was the best day of my life.
We were surrounded by all sorts of friends and family in the sanctuary at the church. Many in the congregation I served at Plainview attended the service; many of my friends from around the country came to celebrate this day. Amy’s friends and family were all present.
Amy and I had carefully planned the wedding service. We wanted to mix properly our Catholic and Presbyterian traditions. Our wedding service was the most powerful service I’ve ever experienced.
I’ll never forget Sister Rosemary singing “There’s a place for us.” The song from West Side Story is one of my favorites. As I heard the song during the wedding I freely wept. It’s one of the few times I’ve cried in my life. Later Rosemary sang a Psalm for us. As she looked into our eyes and sang the Psalm I felt like an angel from heaven was delivering a message to us.
Later we heard Sister Carlan Kraman read a passage from Ruth. The story was Ruth’s response to Naomi when Naomi asked Ruth to leave here:
“Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
Where you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God my God.
Where you die, I will die—
There will I be buried.
May the Lord do thus and so to me,
And more as well,
If even death parts me from you.” Ruth 1:16-18
This Scripture shares my feelings about Amy. The two of us wrote our own vows based on Ruth’s devotion to Naomi.
A memorable part of the service was when my sister—who officiated—dropped my ring. The ring rolled at least ten yards on the hardwood floor. I can still hear that sound. It provided needed comic relief to the strong emotion in the sanctuary.
Being married is the hardest thing I have ever done. I believe that God called me into my marriage. When I experience the inevitable struggles of marriage I remember this call.
I can’t imagine being married to anyone else. This morning I made a top ten list of my favorite qualities about Amy. I’ll share them with her tonight as we celebrate our tenth anniversary. I am a fortunate man to be married to her. At our reception on June 16, 2000 I invited everyone in attendance to Amy and my 50th wedding anniversary. I look forward to at least forty more years of marriage to her!