My husband turned to me last week and said, “It’s been twenty years.”
“What?” I asked.
“Since we met. We met twenty years ago.”
I thought back, added up the dates, and he was right. We met on a summer mission trip for teenagers, and then we went to Moody Bible Institute together. The Bible school fact never ceases to amaze people in my progressive congregation. I mentioned it to a member/Harvard professor who did not manage to hoist his jaw off the ground for the rest of the afternoon.
From the outside, conservative Bible schools may look like a bunch of students dressing the same way and believing the exact same things. You might think that everyone at Liberty University adamantly hangs off of Jerry Falwell’s words, but they don’t.
Bible schools are complicated systems. They have the true believers, but then there’s a stream of people who don’t quite fit: The ones who question everything and everyone, even though the environment doesn’t welcome an inquiring mind. There are a lot of gay and lesbians there, who are working out their salvation with fear and trembling. There are a broad array of International students who teach us about liberation theology. There are many people who are there because their parents forced them to attend.
B and I were among the questioning misfits. He was politically radical, and I stuck out because of my views on women. Our theology was shifting as well, as I was just getting interested in liberation theology and “neo-orthodoxy.” And then there were the little things, like B and his roommates always played their music too loud, until their neighbors would pound on the door, yelling at them.
Oh, and B also dressed outrageously. He always shopped at thrift stores, or dug his clothes out of the “missionary barrel” (think Goodwill castoffs, but at MBI, we gave everything to those poor missionaries).
He had conversations in the thrift stores that went like this:
Woman from the neighborhood: “Ooo! Look at what you found. Those are beautiful curtains!”
B: “Thanks. They’re actually pants. I’m gonna wear them tonight.”
I was never quite sure what he was going to show up in from day to day. Or what his hair would look like. We had a strict dress code at the college, and after B completed his first year, they had to add more rules, for B’s sake.
But things change and so do people, and even though I took him out for our six-month-dating anniversary once, now he’s much more likely to keep the calendar than I am. On most days, he wears khaki’s and collared shirts. I do less housework; he does more. Our political, philosophical, and theological positions have changed dramatically.
As a pastor, I’m rarely surprised when people come into my office and tell me that their long-term marriage is falling apart. People evolve. They’re often drastically different than they were on the day that they met. It’s a miracle when two people stay together after so many years.
And so, I’m celebrating our little miracle today. And I’m reminded that not everything has changed. After all, we spent a good amount of time yesterday belting out all of the words to Queen’s Greatest Hits.
Our daughter yelled from the back seat, “Mom and Dad, can you turn that down?”
“No!” we both answered.
photo uploaded by DigiPix