Happy Endings!

I have a confession to make. I’ve never even admitted it in public before.

I enjoy romantic Hallmark movies.

Yes, I know they all have the same plot: A beautiful, successful city girl visits her small hometown, where she meets/gets reacquainted with a rugged, handsome guy, who has nothing better to do than help her every day until they fall madly in love and drive off in his pickup.

I simply love happy endings.

In fact, I really don’t like to watch any movie that doesn’t have one. I guess it’s because I see so much sorrow and sickness in real life.

So, may I share a personal story with a very happy ending?

I have gone on only one blind date in my life: April 6, 1973. I was 19 and finishing up my junior year of college. My friend Janet and her husband Tom set up a next-day double date for me with the assistant manager of the Christian bookstore that Tom ran. I already had plans to play table tennis with a guy who was perfecting my forehand slam, but I broke that date (another first).

We saw the movie Doctor Zhivago and had sundaes at Friendly Ice Cream afterward. I remember I ordered a junior hot fudge because I didn’t want my date to think I was a big eater.

Apparently, my small appetite impressed him because on June 4, after two whole months of dating, Ralph proposed. I immediately said yes–basically the first and last impulsive thing I’ve ever done in my 70 years.

We married Dec. 29, 1973, which makes this Friday our 50th anniversary.

We’ve had our share of struggles–trying to make ends meet while paying my tuition and Ralph’s seminary loans, as well as hospital bills from his late wife’s battle with ALS.  The ending of our first pregnancy with a Mother’s Day miscarriage in ’77. The diagnosis of my colon cancer in 1990  with a 40-percent chance to survive.

Ralph has endured replacing two shoulders and three knees (not a typo– one got infected and had to be redone after I gave him six weeks of daily IV antibiotics). Most recently I developed a small bowel obstruction, which could have taken my life, but thankfully was successfully resected.

We’ve weathered the ups and downs of more than three decades of pastoral ministry and spent years caring for aging relatives who had neither the strength nor the finances to care for themselves.

I married Ralph because I believed that together we could serve God better…and by His grace I think that has happened.

It’s incredible what one blind date has led to: three daughters, three granddaughters, four grandsons, two sons-in-law, and half-a-century of getting to know and love God more, while trying to help others do the same.

And that’s my happy-ending story.

Of course, we don’t know how it eventually ends here on earth, but praise God, we do know that an unending happily-ever-after awaits us in Heaven.

Please rejoice with our love story as you listen to this love song, which I’m dedicating to my husband…and to my Savior.

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