Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thirty-two Februaries

For the first time since beginning this daily adventure through scripture, I will not be writing about the passage I've read today. Instead, I want to tell you about the man you call Pop. Tomorrow, we'll continue to mine for nuggets from Deuteronomy, but today I am going to share with you about your grandfather.

Thirty-two years ago, on February 25, 1977, your Pop invited me to go on a date with him after school. It was a gloriously beautiful spring-like afternoon and he wanted to take me to what was then called the Southern Living Show at the local Merchandise Mart. He'd helped landscape a display there and was eager to show me the project.

We were seniors in high school and had been in a Psychology class together since the beginning of the school year, but one night in November at a football game, Pop (George) playfully predicted to me that we would be dating before the school year ended.

I thought little of his prediction until Saturday, February 19th. That was the night your grandfather crashed the cast party I was hosting after our school's spring play, "Our Town". I'm told that he'd brought a date to the play, taken her home, and then made his way to my house just as the party was about to wrap up. That night, Pop asked me to go with him to the Southern Living Show the following Friday, and I accepted his invitation.

One thing I'll mention here is that we both had after school jobs. I worked at a department store uptown, Montaldos, in the display department. Pop worked at one of the local skating rinks. I had that Friday afternoon off, but Pop was supposed to go to work that evening, so our "date" was only going to involve a couple of hours at the show.

When we were almost at merchandise mart, one of the tires on Pop's Mustang went flat. He managed to pull the car into the nearest parking lot and proceeded to change the tire. As he fought with the ancient-styled jack, I felt sorry for him, and also pretty helpless and useless, but I was impressed by the way he took it all in stride and didn't seem fazed in the least by the inconvenience.

After dusting himself off, we went into the mart. Remember, these were the days before cell phones, and Pop told me that he needed to call his mom. I stood nearby as he dialed his house from the rotary pay telephone and listened to a one-sided conversation, imagining what was being said on the other end. Here's my best guess:

George/Pop: Hey mom, I need you to do me a favor...

Mrs. Broome: Okay, what?

George/Pop: Call work and tell them I'm going to be a little late, I had a flat tire this afternoon.

Mrs. Broome: Where are you?

George/Pop: At the Southern Living Show with the girl I'm going to marry.

Seriously. That is what he said. At that moment, I thought he was the most audacious, crazy, funny person I had ever met.

The rest of our "date" that afternoon confirmed that Pop was very different from any other person I'd known. When he showed me the flowers and shrubs he'd planted in the exhibit, he knew the botanical names of each one, and when we walked the aisles looking at other displays, the things that drew his attention spoke volumes about this young man who had just announced his intention to make me his wife.

Of all the unique qualities that stood out to me however, none was more remarkable than his faith. At eighteen, Pop (George) had the deepest, most sincere commitment to Christ of any person I'd ever met, exactly the kind of man I knew I would be very fortunate to marry.

As our relationship evolved, I started praying. Not that God would grant me the desire of my heart and that I would indeed become George's wife, but that if there was any reason at all that we weren't God's will for each other, He would reveal it to one or both of us. I confess to you that it was one of the most difficult prayers I've ever prayed. We had encountered a few rough spots that every couple eventually faces as two personalities attempt to determine if they are compatible, but despite that, I was in love with him.

I'd read in the Bible in Jeremiah 17:9 that the heart is deceitfully wicked above all things. Popular songs, movies and books encouraged me to follow my heart, but those messages contradicted God's Word, so their advice, although appealing, could not be trusted. Somehow, I knew that it would be spiritually suicidal not to ask that God reveal HIS plan in such an important matter, and that I had to be genuinely willing to walk away if He said no.

Thirty-two years later, I celebrate that God said yes. I have learned that He can be trusted, that He delights in giving good gifts to His children, and that He only says no when there is a very good reason--even if it isn't initially clear.

Through the years my love for George (Pop) has grown exponentially as I've seen God's work in his life, my life, and in our marriage. I am eternally grateful that God allowed us to be together and that he blessed us with beautiful children who have blessed us with you. There are few things more amazing than a marriage that is built on the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ. Scripture puts it this way in Ecclesiastes 4 verse 12: ...A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

My prayer for you is that if God wills for you to marry some day, you will be as fortunate as I have been to be loved by and married to someone whose love for you is exceeded only by their love for Christ, and that all your days on earth together will be blessed.

Thank you Father, for thirty-two Februaries with the best man I know. I am unworthy and haven't the words to properly thank you.


  1. Sandy, that is so sweet! I love how he said he's with the woman he is going to marry on your first date!

  2. Sandy -
    Lindsey and I enjoyed reading this story. You know, you and George have been the most stable married couple throughout my life. I truly appreciate the love you have for each other, and am so glad it has lasted for 32 years - 3 years longer than I've been alive. Thanks for being a great example for us to follow. Have a great one!
    P.S. - Still can't get the picture out of my head of George in the hula girl outfit at the summer camp where I collided with God. Scary!

  3. Emily, thanks! He's still not right! :)

    Fred, one day I am going to scan that hula girl photo and post it online. The world should see the real George, shouldn't it?

    We are so proud of you and your family and I love that there are already 150 kids signed up for your camp! THAT IS AWESOME!

  4. Sandy...such a sweet story. Thanks for sharing! You guys are such a great example.