Inspiration Point

inspiration-Point

My wife and I just celebrated 22 married years together. We traveled a few hours to our destination and spent three peaceful days together, just the two of us, talking and dreaming and planning and wondering. Well, mostly it was me who did the wondering. I wondered, emphasis on ‘wonder,’ at how this all came to be. How she ever saw me across this incredibly vast world of people and decided to give me that very first moment of her time. How she decided to stay for the next moment, and the next moment…and the next.

I sat across from her a half dozen times over these past three days and still can’t believe out of all the people around us, she’s with me. Every day, every year, it gets sweeter and stronger and our story grows into one more chapter. I have faith in her and our lives are intertwined in so many ways that I can only vaguely remember me without her.

When I think about all that has to occur in this great big world for just two people to actually meet and then agree to spend the rest of their lives together, I can hardly fathom it.

We begin to write chapter 23 this week…

I Love a Rainy Walk

Rainy-Book

My sweetheart and I got caught in a downpour while we were in San Antonio.  We had been attending separate conference meetings all day when we just happened to bump into each other in one of the noisy and crowded hallways of the hotel where the event was being held.  We looked at each and said, “Let’s get out of here and see the city.”

As we walked outside to catch a taxi, deep dark clouds were just beginning to gather near us to the west of the hotel.  Our goal was to walk the city’s famous (and obviously outdoor) Riverwalk and we considered the possibility that we might see some rain but, as we had packed no raincoats or umbrellas, it mattered little…and so we went.

We had no idea where to tell the taxi driver to drop us off, so we let him decide for us.  He suggested a big hotel that included a back door with outside stairs that dropped down into a cavernous walkway that would allow us to meander among a number of great restaurants and shops.  Large, heavy drops of rain were just beginning to hit the sidewalk as we paid the fare and ran inside the hotel lobby.

Eventually, we found the back door and opened it – there was not another soul in sight to question and we had no real idea where we were going.   As the door was about to close, I noticed a sign which read, “This door to remain locked at all times.  You must use your hotel key for readmittance.”  We had no hotel key and, by this time, the rain was coming down in sheets.  We looked up into the sky and down into the winding staircase that led to the river below, and then I held that door and read the sign aloud one more time.

“Are you ready?” I said.  “There’s no going back.  We let that door close and it is down those stairs in the rain, okay?”

“Where do they lead?” she said.  “Is there a place to get out of the rain once we get down there?”

No idea.  Because it was a high and winding outdoor staircase, there was no way to tell what was at the bottom.  And, it was raining harder now and the wind was starting to blow the rain through the door and into the hotel.  We had to stay or go, but close the door either way.

And then, in one of those cinematic moments that I swear could not have been scripted more perfectly, she said, “Let’s walk in the rain.”

So we did.  And I’ll never forget it.

Friends with Books

Gannaway

Each and every time the memorials of 9-11 come, I am reminded of so many things – but especially of how thankful we are to have friends.  Friends so often take the edge off of all the trials and troubles and anxieties and adversities that the world brings into our lives and it is unusual to hear that someone made it through a difficult time without at least a friend or two who has helped them recover.

My wife and I have many wonderful friends, and two in particular who are just starting out on their marriage journey. We get together just a few times a year, and it is always to help each other along on this often great, sometimes boring, sometimes frustrating, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes like a dream, sometimes like a bad dream, and all the time a roller coaster of adventure that we call happily ever after.

This couple loves great food (she is a gourmet cook) and great old records (he is a true collector) and great books and are great friends. And when they are on vacation, we sometimes get a text and photo of them visiting an interesting place – and this past Labor Day weekend they visited Cadillac, Michigan. What a great town name, right?

The photo they sent (below) is of a historic-looking bookstore originally built in 1930 as a car dealership. It became a bookstore in 1981 and is among the largest bookstores in northern Michigan. I don’t know that they would have otherwise visited it (this was after all a romantic weekend getaway for them), but they knew how much I love places like this so they stopped in and even interviewed the owner, Sherry, about her treasured store’s history and her love of books, and bought me a nice old book from the store!booknook1

There are just a few things I love more than books, and our friends and family and Faith are among them. So when I can mix those three loves with books….well, who could ask for more?