45 Years Young

45 years ago in the small Iowa town of Waverly, a young mother along with her husband, gave birth to their sixth child…a baby boy. The emotions of joy and elation, mixed with trepidation must have jumbled in their minds at having this boy after first having a boy, then 4 girls in a row…one of which died as an infant. The fear of losing another must have hung over them after each consecutive pregnancy, but the Lord was merciful. After thinking for a few days about different names, the couple chose to name their boy after the doctor who delivered him.

For the first 6 years of his life, the boy grew up on a farm and although his father wasn’t a farmer, the open fields and meadows were his playground, his laboratory and his school room. From the lush green meadows full of God’s creation that would keep a young explorer busy, to the harsh Iowa winters where the wind piles the snow high and the plows provide a man-made Mt. Everest, this was a young boys world.

Through the tutelage of his mother and maternal grandmother, the young boy was brought up in the respect of the Lord and to accept that which God had provided as a blessing. The boy…as most boys do…had many questions and was curious about everything…but mostly about why his father wouldn’t come to church with the rest of the family each Sunday or Wednesday night and with a resigned but hopeful face, his mother would reply, ‘We need to pray for him, honey…we need to pray for him.’

Turtles and mulberries and bugs and sand and snowmen and weeding the garden and playing in the stream and rolling down the hill and hunting morels with Grandma and rolling off the sled before it crashed into the tree with his older sister, filled the days of his young life until the day they moved into town. He left the open air and wind swept meadows, he left Mt. Everest and the mulberry tree which allowed him to be a survivor on a deserted isle…and was moved into town where a yard and the block became his boundaries.

Winter became spring and that warmed into summer which aged into the smells of autumn…years passed and the boy grew into a teenager…the parents grew older. He had survived the death of his dog and had seen the marriages of his brother and two of his sisters. He had witnessed man's first step on the moon, the end of the Vietnam conflict, the 200th celebration of the birth of our nation, and eventually his father becoming a Christian.

He learned to hunt, to change the oil in a car, and to play football. He learned to say his prayers, to read, and how to play the piano. He learned how to downhill ski, how to drive a car and how to change a diaper. He also learned to live in faith, how to set an example, and how to be a father and a husband. He learned what it was like to have plenty, what it was like to have nothing and to be satisfied with what God had provided.

Through the birth of his four children, he was introduced to the joys, unconditional love and even heartache that being a parent introduces. And for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime, through the eyes of his children, he was able to re-connect with that young explorer as he watched the perplexity, wonderment and elation on their faces as they made their own discoveries.

Through the death of his Grandmother, mother and first wife, he became well acquainted with grief, sorrow and loss…and for a time, he was lost…unsure…shaken. And then, when he least expected it…a spark of hope lit the dark depths of his life! God’s blessing fanned that spark into a bright, warm blaze, restoring joy and love to his heart and hope to his life. Wholly new…completely different, with her, he was now complete. She met his fears, concerns and insecurities with compassion, support and love.

Today he stands at the doorway of his life, looking out over the vista of his future. Green and lush is the valley that lay before him. A new day has dawned, one full of promise and guided by God's blessing. Exhilarated, excited and a bit scared all at the same time, he won’t be facing the journey alone, but rather hand-in hand and with God as their compass, on June 28th of this year, they will be joined and will continue the fantastic journey God has laid out before them as man and wife.

Thank you mom and dad for having me…thank you for putting up with my attitudes and for having the guts and fortitude to punish me when needed, and for loving me in spite of myself…

Thank you Hon, for making my day a very special one! I love you!

~ V


  1. V ~ I think your birthday was more fun for me than it was for you!! I had a blast celebrating "you" all day, even though we couldn't be together in person. This will be the first, and last birthday that we will spend apart =)

    ~ Lisa


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