October 7, 1979

Weeks before our October 7, 1979 wedding, Bill and I headed with our wedding photographer to the site of our first official date about a year or so earlier. Most photographers weren’t doing engagement pictures beyond a simple portrait of the couple, but the friend who shot our wedding suggested we do a few casual shots before the wedding day.

This particular picture has been on my mind recently. Engagement photo shoots today are much more documentary in nature, much more personal. Stilted shots like the one above feel a little generic and predictable. Yet, there is something about this picture that captures who we were at that time. I’d just turned 20. I was a college drop-out who’d gone through 6 jobs in the previous 12 months in hopes of coming up some direction in my life. Bill, 24, had been working third shift as a check sorter operator and was hoping to make the leap to a first shift data processing job running stacks of punch cards through behemoth computers filling icy-cold rooms. (An aside: He noted that his cellphone has more computing power that a whole roomful of computers did in 1979.)

All we could do in 1979 was look forward, the calm waters of Lake Michigan disappearing into a blue horizon – an apt metaphor for our future. We didn’t know what that future would hold for us. We just knew we wanted to go there together.

Thirty-three years later, we still do.

Thank you, Lord.

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  • http://www.sarahvanloon.wordpress.com Sarah van Loon

    Love, love, love this. :) Love you both!

  • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

    The progress of a good marriage is something like the difference between Bill’s roomful of computers and modern cell phones: we never know the true power of where the relationship is headed however many years down the road we’re looking, but when we get there it’s a lot more powerful than we could have imagined.

    Congratulations and here’s to many more years to come,

    • Michelle Van Loon

      Thanks, Tim. Your insight about the power (and surprise!) of the destination is spot-on. When I was first married, I used to ask Jesus to tell me what our future would hold. Now i understand the gift of not knowing. To borrow a phrase from Jack Nicholson: “Knowing the future? You can’t HANDLE the future!” – only God says it in kindness, not that weird Nicholson intensity.