It was August 14, 1982 when Priscilla and I stood before family and friends in the crowded sanctuary of Fifth Avenue Baptist Church in Rome to exchange vows, make promises, and begin the journey of marriage. Across the years we have navigated better and worse, richer(?) and poorer, sickness and health, have loved and cherished, and, so far, have managed to not kill each other!
The weeks leading up to the wedding were slammed: Priscilla finished classes for her degree from Shorter; we moved our meager, mismatched possessions to apartment X-5 in Seminary Village; and I completed my responsibilities as Associate Pastor at Fifth Avenue. That church showered us with love, as have the good people of Shively Baptist Church in Louisville, Garden Lakes Baptist Church in Rome, and Towne View Baptist Church in Kennesaw.
We returned from our honeymoon in Hilton Head (Priscilla's Mom could only call it our "trip") and traveled to Louisville, started orientation, and a week later began classes as seminary students. Within a month I was asked to serve as Interim Youth Minister at Shively (where over the next 6 1/2 years I would successively serve as Youth Minister, Associate Pastor, and Pastor). In less than six weeks Priscilla had gone from college student to newly-wed to seminary student to minister's wife!
When I enrolled at Shorter my Dad became prophetic when he said, "you're going to find you a Georgia peach up there and never come back to Florida." I don't much like peaches (except in cobbler) but this "peach" is the love of my life. I am grateful to God for providing a life-mate with the ability to help me not take myself so seriously, the compassion to invest her life in others, the love she shares so freely with the churches that we call family, the commitment it takes to parent four children (even four as bright and beautiful as ours!), and the sparkle in her eyes that first caught my attention thirty-two years ago.