Today I celebrated my 17th wedding anniversary. There was no fancy dinner, no roses, no quiet hand holding.
Instead, today was a day of action, and it reminded me vividly of the “why” behind those 17 years.
Our special day started at 6am, when we bounded out of bed to head into the cold dark to finish the setup for a youth adventure race that our kids’ school was organizing as a fundraiser. Although unquestionably a huge team effort, David was an integral part of the race, having spent many hours figuring out the nuances of the course, creatively naming the obstacles after the classical theme of the event, staking and taping off the 1.2 mile route, assembling the best playlist in the history of amateur races, and generally problem-solving a 200-person, 10-obstacle, slightly dangerous and logistically challenging race involving children as young as age 2 that had never taken place before.
He was into it. Why? Because he believes in the fundamental mission of our school: to raise intellectuals for Christ. He is passionate about our children knowing Jesus and one day being the most well-spoken, well-educated people in the room, able to defend and articulate their faith. The school is all about such goals, and this race was designed to support its mission.
But for David, it’s not enough merely to have a sound opinion about something. He doesn’t believe in things politely, stand aside, and leave it at that.
He is a person of innovative ideas and trustworthy actions.
He spent his time today (and many days prior) dedicated to working with the team and making that race a smashing success. And it was phenomenal. We had children from all sorts of origination points—public school, private school, homeschool, our student body. As he released coordinated 2-minute wave after wave of age groups banded with the color coding he set up, running through stakes that he personally had buried to define the race course, listening to tunes he had thoughtfully selected (Aaron Copland, Toad the Wet Sprocket, U2), his fingerprints were all over this event, and it was a resounding accomplishment.
There is no doubt that David is a doer in the utmost sense of the word.
But this just takes us to 10:30am on our 17th wedding anniversary. For my husband also chairs another board, which he doesn't take lightly. He rushed off to change in the race parking lot, Superman-style, and head to the public ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new 37,000 square foot Salvation Army headquarters that has been in the praying, purchasing, fundraising, and renovating stages ever since he joined the board.
So, imagine David at 11am, wearing slightly wilted khakis and a button-down that I half-pressed last night and standing in front of around 100 folks in dark suits and tie-pins from the mayor’s office, numerous Salvation Army officers in their full-dress uniforms from chapters from Atlanta to South Florida, various members of the press and dignified officials and businessmen. As he set aside the thoughts and concerns of the race earlier that morning, his clothing ceased to matter as his words connected with the crowd and he delivered from the podium on the gleaming front steps of that building a rousing, inspiring, call-to-action-type speech. “Jesus tells us to serve the poor and needy, and this building is not only a place where the poor and needy can turn to be served, but a place where those desiring to serve Him can come and live out those words. If you desire to serve Jesus, come here—do it here (gestures to beautiful new building).” His words, spoken with great emotion, caused many (who pastor their own SA churches and speak regularly) to seek him out afterwards and thank him heartily for expressing what was in their hearts.
Looks neat and tidy, but we still have mud spatters on our faces from the race.
Would I take this man to be my lawfully wed husband, to have and to hold from this day forward? I am thankful that on my 17th anniversary, by lunchtime, David reminded me many times over exactly why on November 9, 1996, I said yes and continue to say a resounding YES to that question. Why I can't help but respect and admire him more every single day. His thoughtfulness about faith, service, parenting, business, relationships, education and every matter that has any importance always translates into real-life execution of his ideals. There are not enough people like that in the world.
And I’m here to testify that there is something magical about waking up with a godly man of action. You know that the days with him will have meaning greater than your wildest hopes and dreams, and they will be an adventure ordained by God, satisfying beyond measure.
So a quiet day, some roses, and a restaurant dinner are always nice, but somehow David took this day and make it into a vividly illustrated, live-action card painted in broad and living strokes with this bold message: