Today is my 22nd unniversary. Let me explain.
After I graduated from high school, I chose not to go to college. I turned 18 in July, decided I was a grown up, and moved out. As the summer wound down and as most of my friends set off for campuses far and wide, I cast about for new ways to occupy my time. I decided to throw myself wholeheartedly into the charismatic, evangelical, fundamentalist church where I’d been working as a childcare provider for the past two years.
At a time when every part of my life was changing: my home, my daily routine, my access to friends, my theology – M became my friend. He was a good guy: loyal, reliable and funny. While he wasn’t the type to whom I’m typically attracted, I was attracted to the attention he gave me. Soon we were dating; soon after, engaged. What else did I have to do? I was under-employed and without homework for the first time in years. Planning a wedding seemed like a viable alternative for how to spend my time.
With a diamond ring on my finger and a stack of wedding magazines full of frothy dresses and shiny cakes, I repressed any feelings of doubt and set a date: November 3rd, 1990.
Winter became Spring became Summer and still I pushed onward, despite the myriad signs that M and I were ill-suited for one another.
Then the week of Power Source camp arrived. M and I were both camp counselors at this five-night adolescent extravaganza of rock-n-roll worship songs, gross skits, silly team competitions, barely-held-in-check-hormones, tongue-talking, and lots and lots of sobbing teenage girls. There was little sleep and many “revelations” from God.
I look back now on those times with equal parts nostalgia and horror.
Whatever was really going on there, one of those “revelations” gave me the courage to do the thing I knew needed to happen months earlier: I broke up with M, telling him that I knew that it was God’s will. Regardless, it was the right thing to do. Frothy dress be damned, the two of us should not get married. We were too young, too different, too clueless.
Now, 22 years later, I don’t have any God-sent revelations anymore. But I’ll always be thankful to whomever that I didn’t get married all those year ago. I love my life just the way it is – messy theology and all.
So each November 3rd I raise a glass to M, to my life, and to grace – whatever the source.