Our Eyes Met

My Dearest Jim:

“Suddenly I don’t need the answers I’m ready to take all my chances with you.”

From the song, “Suddenly” sung by  Olivia Newton John and Cliff Richard

Wow! While people are out shopping and getting the Black Friday deals, we will be celebrating our 27th wedding anniversary. It seems like only yesterday when I met you at the altar and became your wife. Not only are we celebrating our 27th anniversary, but our parents are celebrating theirs as well. Today, on November 18, 2012, my parents celebrate 50 years of being together  and on the 21st of this week your parents will celebrate 56  yrs together. Needless to say, this Thanksgiving week we have a lot to be thankful for and to celebrate.

My parents:
CR and Jackie Hill
Celebrated 50 years together November 18, 2012
Jim’s parents:
Jim and Louise Hawkins
Celebrate 56 years together November 21, 2012
Jim and I on our wedding day
November 23, 1985
Conyers First United Methodist Church, Conyers, Georgia

As I reflect on our years together (29 when you count our dating), I think about the first time we met.  I had just arrived at Lake Junaluskato work on the summer staff and you had arrived a few days earlier to do the same. The first time you caught my eye, was when you stuck your head in the door of the quarters of where I would be living for the summer and said hello. Later in the evening, the staff had gathered in the Lambuth Inn for dinner and orientation.

The Cross at Lake Junaluska, NC
Behind the Cross is the Lambuth Inn where Jim and I met literally eye to eye…seeing each other’s hearts before anything else.

In the midst of me standing in line waiting my turn, I saw you enter the dinning room. My eyes froze on you. A voice within said; “he’s your guy.” But, the same voice within also said; “don’t rush things. Trust me, I got this.” “Allow me to lead.” That voice I know was God. How I so wanted to just leave my place in line and go over to strike a conversation with you. But, another nudge discouraged me from doing so. As you have told me over the years from your experience in martial arts, “you never want to force a punch.” So, for once, I trusted that voice from within.

Dinner came and went. It was time for the staff meeting and the orientation part. It was in this orientation where my chance to really meet you came. We were playing a back to back game when the music stopped, you got back to back with a partner. If you didn’t have a partner when the music stopped, you were out of the game. It was the last round when the music stopped and we were back to back. In the previous rounds of this game, we had to answer questions like “if you could be any animal what would it be?” ” If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?” to questions like favorite color, sport, and the list went on. But, at this pivotal moment, we were to look into our partner’s eyes for two minutes without looking away. The point of the game was to teach us to look at the hearts of the people we would be helping and serving throughout the summer.

Later that evening, we were in the rec room playing a game of ping-pong. Looking back, I realize it was  a good way to get to know someone in a non-threatening environment. As we talked and served the ball back and forth, we found out that we had followed each other up and down the Gulf Coast that Spring Break. You and I had the same week off for Spring Break. I was in the Reinhardt choir and  you sang and performed with an ensemble with the Wesley Foundation at UK. In our talking, we learned that we had been at the same places almost at the same times. It was like we were to meant to meet at some point in time. I think this is why Sleepless In Seattlehas been one of your favorite movies. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan keep missing each other but eventually they do meet at the top of the Empire State Building.

Learning that we had been in the same places at the same time, just a couple of months before we actually met, made my heart beat all the faster. I knew that God had a plan for you and me. Along with being in some of the same places at the same time, I had a dream a few days before coming to Junaluska for the summer. In this dream, I was told; “not to worry.” “I’m going to take care of you and make sure you are loved just like your Father loves you.”

Jim and I in our dating years.

This dream had come to play as I had become weary of the dating life and world. In those early moments, I wanted to so much throw my arms around you and give you a hug. Love at first sight was more like my heart knew it had found true love. Yet, I withheld from giving that hug because a voice within said; ” patience, April. Work with me..” “Allow me to take the lead.”  My response was; “okay, God. I will trust you. But, would you PLEASE hurry up!”

A night or two later we had “the conversation.” The conversation where you told me that you wanted to date me through the summer but when summer ended, you would go back to Kentucky and I would go back to Georgia. You words were; “long distance relationships just don’t work and I don’t want to hurt you nor do I want to get hurt.” Five seconds after, you kissed me. Again, my heart raced and I knew without a doubt that this would go beyond the Summer of 1983. And, again, that voice (God) was saying; ” walk slow, allow Me to take the lead, and trust me.”

Meeting you, walking with you and including God in my walk with you has been the most beautiful 29 years. Yes, we have had our ups and downs. Yet, it is in those ups and downs where we have refined each other for the better, have been richly blessed, and have grown together and grown more in love with each other.

1981 Plymouth TC 3
Jim had one that he put many miles on driving from Kentucky to Georgia to date me over the course of two and a half years.

The day we met I was ready “to take all my chances with you.”  You and I looked into each other’s eyes. In your eyes, I saw a message. The message was that God had placed you in my life at that moment and time to begin a beautiful journey with you. As we celebrate our 29th anniversary this Friday, know that I can’t wait to continue on this journey with you and with God walking with us. Jim, Happy Anniversary! I  You are my best friend that I fall in love with more and more each day.

I love you!

April AKA Peanut

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