Thirty years ago, I was attending a ministry conference in Talladega, Ala., when I spied a beautiful young woman sitting across the room from me. I don't know if she noticed me, but I sure had a hard time taking my eyes off of her. I still remember what she was wearing too.
This beautiful curly haired, green eyed Southern Belle wore a long colorfully patterned skirt, and she had a lovely crocheted shawl wrapped around her narrow shoulders. Her smile was infectious, and I was totally intrigued.
I was a 28-year-old single minister looking for God's will for his life, and I believed I saw her across that room.
I didn't hear a word that was being said by the instructor in that seminar that morning, but I listened to my heart as it repeatedly said, "Doug, this is the One! She is the One for you!"
Lynn and I will be celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary in April, and I still have no doubt that she is the One for me.
With Valentine's Day coming up this week, I still enjoy thinking about falling in love those 30 years ago.
I was working in ministry in Springfield, Mo., back then. Lynn was working in ministry in Huntsville, Ala. So, ours was a long distance relationship, and most of our courting was done over the phone, except when I could come up with the money to make the trip to Alabama.
I was fairly shy back then, and it took me a long time to muster the courage to propose to Lynn. I knew she was the one for me, and she felt the same way. And I finally popped the question in the most romantic of ways ... I asked her to marry me over the phone. And the lovely lady said yes.
There have been a lot of mushy cards given between us over the years; multiple bouquets of flowers; lots of hugs and kisses; and many, many "I love you," and "I love you too," shared with each other.
There were times that I would buy Lynn a heart shaped box of candy as a way of expressing my love, but my love for chocolate would lead me to end up eating her present. Those days have passed though, thankfully. No more boxes of chocolates. (It's too hard to count all those wasted points for my Weight Watchers lifestyle.)
This Valentine's Day, Lynn and I are planning to spend the evening with our two special Valentines, Charli and Kori, our precious little granddaughters.
We will probably have presents for those little ladies, and lots of kisses. I will probably buy Lynn another bouquet of flowers and we will share our "I love you," and "I love you, too."
There won't be a fancy candlelight dinner that night, no romantic string quartet serenading us. But, there will be music. It will be the sounds emanating from the many different toys that Charli and Kori will have spread out over the coffee table and the living room floor. It will be the sound of our laughter and theirs intermingling as they entertain us with their lively antics.
A lot of life has been lived in the past 30 years. We have three children that bring us joy and have given us two grandbabies. And we have made many, many wonderful friends that have enriched our lives over the years.
Life is rich; full and rich.
I am still amazed when I look across the room and see that curly haired, green eyed Southern Belle sitting there with that infectious smile. Now though, she knows I'm there, and she welcomes me as her husband.
Happy Valentine's Day!
-- Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at email@example.com.