August 20-21, 1970
She loved our entertainment, the “This is your Life” tape complete with tales of her past and a few surprise guests. Mom had pulled out her best dishes and silver, and Lynn’s bridesmaids had shared in her work.
Lynn unwrapped a mountain of goodies, and the whole event was pure pleasure. The only negative, mine alone, was having had to leave Nate… again. With the newspaper route and his difficult law school class, that had been our only choice.
The 24-hour separation was difficult, and I looked forward to the upcoming school year with its regular routine. My hope was that the second year in our Champaign “nest” would be as blessed as the first.
A year earlier in August of 1969, our apartment had looked far different. Footsteps and voices had echoed in the empty space, and stale paint had covered the walls. We’d done the work of transforming it from a drab place to a warm home, and now the whole space reflected the happy relationship unfolding inside.
As I drove the familiar route from Wilmette to Champaign knowing Nate was waiting for me, I was filled with a sense of contentment. There wasn’t one thing I would change about our lives together.
Nate greeted me with a long-stemmed red rose. “I missed you so much,” he said, handing me the pretty flower and nuzzling my neck. The feeling was definitely mutual.
We still had one more special event before summer officially ended – a visit from Florida friends Carole and Reggie. Carole and I had much in common. We met at Wheaton College and both ended up teaching school in Chicago. Her city apartment had been near mine back then, and we both attended the singles ministry at Moody Church. Our two romances had heated up simultaneously, and both couples married in the fall of 1969.
Carole had a gorgeous singing voice and often soloed in church and at weddings. Now they were driving from Florida to (of all places) Danville, Illinois, for her to sing at another wedding. We were thrilled when they said they could spend a night with us.
Within a couple of hours of my arrival back from Wilmette, they and we were settled around our dining table sharing stories of married life and love. After dinner, Carole worked on hemming the dress she would wear at the wedding, and the boys adjourned for sleep. She and I talked well into the night, almost till morning — 4:00 AM! Close friends never run out of things to say.
Not long after breakfast, though, Nate and I were giving and getting goodbye hugs on the street in front of our building — yet another farewell.
After waving them off, we sat on the porch steps in the morning sunshine talking about the multiple changes of the previous year, acknowledging there were more to come. We and most of our friends were in a phase of life that required continual change and included lots of goodbyes.
As we climbed back up the stairs hand-in-hand, we wondered aloud how long that phase was going to last.
“If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter… he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.” (Psalm 91:9, 11)