October 1-2, 1970
Indian Summer was over, and the first frost had blanketed Champaign. We were delighted to be using our fireplace again and often ate dinner in front of it.
Both of us were glad we hadn’t succumbed to the summertime temptation to move. I had wanted to exchange our fireplace for Country Fair’s swimming pool, but now their pool was closed after just 3 months – and we would get to enjoy cozy fires for the next 6 months.
We continued our evening walks (dressed in jackets and shoes now) while talking about the many decisions we would soon have to make. When our lease ran out in August of 1971, we’d be moving… but where? Which city? What address? And would Nate be a civilian, or would the Army own him? If the Army, where would he be stationed? Which state? Or… the worst question mark of all… would he be sent to Vietnam?
If he wasn’t on active duty, might he be working at a law job? And just to be prepared for this possibility, when should he take the Bar Exam? Would he pass it on the first try? And if not, where would he work before being able to re-take the exam? And where would I be working? Without certification and with provisional openings now eliminated, what would I be doing?
Nate and I would lie awake in bed long into the night pondering these questions. But no matter how we guessed what might happen, not one question had a firm answer. The process was exhausting, and though we knew God would eventually replace every question mark with a period, the not-knowing was wearing.
Finally, we decided the best approach would be to dwell on whatever had been decided – the things without question marks.
Our faith in Christ came first and was strong. We were being spiritually nourished at our church and enjoyed a mentor-type relationship with Pastor Ralph and his wife Lottie. We had supportive, loving families on both sides and a bright future. And with friends galore, our calendar was full of happy get-togethers.
As we talked quietly in the safety and comfort of each other’s arms, we counted our marriage as one of the very best things without a question mark. Our newlywed year was almost over, and through the months we had become more and more attached, never bored or frustrated. Actually, there were many days when we just couldn’t get enough of each other.
Both of us felt free to be ourselves with no need to play any relationship games, which made for a stress-free marriage and a happy home. Though the list of questions loomed large and sometimes seemed to threaten, as we drifted off to sleep their influence almost always faded — having given way to the rock-solid affirmations that didn’t have any question marks at all — and never would.
“You have been called to live in freedom… Use your freedom to serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)