Fiftythree years ago I was sitting in an interstate coach travelling from norther New South Wales to the city of Brisbane in Queensland. In those days such public transport had a large, full width mirror above the windscreen to enable the driver to see all the passengers.
From where I was sitting I could see most of what the driver could see, but off to one side I saw a beautiful blonde sitting by herself. I must have been staring, because she noticed me looking at her, and, with a haughty shrug of her shoulder, she moved out of my line of sight. Soon after, she alighted at her destination.
Two years passed. The girl in the mirror never left my mind. I used to think of her daily. I even made up songs about her, which I used to sing as I worked. I was, as they say, smitten! I didn’t know who she was, or where she came from. All I knew was that I could not forget her.
During this time I had started a youth group for the local young people. The young people, and their parents were left in no doubt that the primary concern was healthy lifestyle based on the teachings of Scripture. Many of these youngsters learned, for the first time, that “fun” was not a dirty word for Christians. The group was well established and there was room for more to join with us. I started visiting homes in a wider area, offering transport and an early arrival at home after the gathering.
Knocking on the door of a house, in a nearby small timber milling village, the door was opened by a rather stern looking lady, but before any introductions could be made, my attention was drawn to the very face I had seen in the bus. She was sitting at a table behind the lady at the door, her mother. I must have seemed a rather incoherent, dubious character as I blurted out my reason for disturbing the peace of this home. My message must have gotten through, though, as the lady of the house asked her daughter to come to the door. I repeated my reason for being.
She said, “I’m Valerie! Yes! I would like to come”.
No sleep for me that night!
I picked her up with several other young people, and had a great night at the Youth meeting. I carefully engineered the dropping off of all except Valerie, whom I dropped off last. Having been invited by my boss and his wife to go to a movie, I thought I would ask Valerie if she would like to accompany us.
Again! She said, “Yes!”
We had known each other for three months, meeting two or three times a week. We were talking about serious matters and seemed to be so much at ease with each other that I asked Valerie to marry me..
And, again! She said, ”Yes!”
We set the date for twelve months hence, 4th March, 1961.
Fifty years ago, on that date, we sealed our lives together “till death do us part”.
To those who talk about “falling out of love”, I say, “You never knew love !”
I still cannot find words sufficient to tell her what she means to me.
I do know that for both, love is not a bed of roses, and that it does not fail, even though each of us have.
If I know anything with absolute certainty it is this, GOD’S HAND WAS IN EVERY ASPECT OF THESE PAST FIFTY YEARS, from that first glimpse of the beautiful woman who was to change my life, to this day.
When we failed, His Spirit guided us out of the failure. When we sinned, His Spirit reminded us of what God had paid for through the incarnate Jesus. We have no doubt of His protecting hand on our five children, as they had amazing escapes from sickness, and even from death.
Fifty years of marriage, five beautiful children and their wives and husbands, seven grandchildren, two great grandchildren.
I’m the richest man in the world. No money, but so wealthy!
Valerie, my sweetheart! You are still my dream girl! Thank you so very much!
Father God, to You belongs the glory!