I’ve had a sentimental night tonight. Earlier this evening Christy and my girls and me were looking through yearbooks from when Christy and I were in Jr. high and high school. It was a heavy thing for me to look at those old pictures and read what people wrote in my books. I realized I was liked by many more people than I realized at the time. I wish I’d have seen myself more realistically when I was a kid. A lot of the pain of my childhood had more to do with my perceptions than with reality.
But the best part of the evening was when I came across what I wrote in Christy’s yearbook our senior year. We had been dating three or four months, and close friends for seven or eight. I want to reprint this in its entirety. It’s long, but uncanny in its accuracy. I’m not going to do any editing at all, though I post this with a mixture of embarrassment and sentiment. It’s hard reading stuff you wrote 22 years ago. I was 17. But this is exactly what I wrote, right down to the punctuation…
I have never had problems signing yearbooks except for when I’m extremely close to the person. I’m going to have trouble with this.
It’s usually a drag to rehash all the things that you already know but I guess that’s what yearbooks are for.
You’re the best friend I’ve ever had. Nobody knows me like you. I’m not quite sure when we started getting real close but I do know that it was one of the smartest decisions I ever made when I made up my mind to take stock in Christy Weidman. You’re a friend, a confidante, a counselor, and a companion. You’re a super-achiever, a get-organizer, and a-dorable! I just love you from the bottom of my heart. I’ll be honest with you. I’m not sad that we’re getting out of school. From the beginning of 5th grade I dreamed of getting out of school and supporting a family. My dreams are no different now. I just want to go. I want us to graduate because if we’re spending time together, I’d much rather it be out of the school setting. It’s just time to move on and I feel mighty sorry for the seniors who are scared of graduation, because they’ve got no goals. Christy, of all the students I know in this building, you’ve got the best chance of reaching your goals. You’ve just got so much drive. Now be careful. Like I’ve said, take time out for Christy. Don’t wear her out because she’s very special to me and she’s the only Christy I’ve got. Realize that you owe it (not only to yourself but) to other people to see to it that you’re in good condition. You’ve got enough energy in that little body to last for a million years but if you burn it up too fast, you’re going to be sick. So take care of Christy for me because I love her very much. And so do many, many other people. You’re the best! I don’t like to say good luck in the future because it’s such a junior high thing but even if I did make it a practice to write that in yearbooks, I wouldn’t need to in this one. See, I’m going to have the privilege of being a part of your future and watching your dreams come true!! That’s very exciting to me. We have a pact you know…an agreement to always be best buddies. Who knows what is going to become of us in college? But you know, it doesn’t even matter. We’ve each got an exciting future ahead of us. For the past 4 years we have been a part of a high school institution. Within that institution is many smaller branches. One branch is called Varsity Choir…this is, of course, the most important branch of what is called Davison Senior High School. V.C. is probably — no, definitely — responsible for our closeness. I guess that’s the only thing I’m really going to miss about the old Halls of Ivy. (mush, mush!) Remember, friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them. And a friend will not say never, because the welcome will not end. Though it’s hard to let you go, in the Father’s hands we know that a lifetime’s not too long TO LIVE AS FRIENDS!* I love you!
Less than two years later, we were married. Christy has been my closest friend for almost 22 years. I’m closer to her today than I have ever been. And it’s not like it has all been bliss. We’ve been through some really nasty stuff. REALLY nasty stuff. We’re passionate people. We love each other passionately. We disagree passionately. Passion is a part of everything we do, for better and for worse! But I can say I have never loved her more than I do now. I don’t know who I would be without her. As is clear from what I wrote in her yearbook, I knew early on that I didn’t want to let go of this girl – and I’m glad I didn’t.
Ministry is a hard life. It’s not like a normal job. It involves everything you think and everything you feel and everything you are. In ministry nothing is more important than the person at your side. If that person isn’t strong, isn’t quality, isn’t up for 24/7 intensity and round-the-clock care for other people, the job can’t be done. But if there’s a good, stable, strong person at your side, someone who loves you and supports you and adopts your vision as their own — heck, someone who dreams the dream with you and helps you craft it — if you have a person like that with you, your potential is unlimited. Unlimited potential is one of many gifts Christy has given me. I simply could have no better companion and friend than this girl I fell in love with in high school. I don’t often write about her. It may be a long time before I post about her again — I never have before. (6/12 note — Ummm, with the exception of the post immediately previous to this one!) And she’ll just go on continuing to be my rock, putting up with my idiocy, calming my fears, dreaming my dreams with me, and inspiring me to new heights. That’s what she has always done.
*Christy and I sang the song “Friends” together at our senior commencement ceremony. With somewhere around three thousand people there, to this day it remains the biggest single gig of our lives!