Feb. 14, 1981 will always be one of the greatest days of my entire life.
A glorious game-changer of a day in ways that I couldn’t even fathom then.
There was this lovely young Bama coed from SW AL majoring in accounting with big beautiful blue eyes and a wonderful soft voice and a great smile who went out with me for the first time on Feb. 14, 1981.
I haven’t been the same since, praise God!
We went out again. And again. Ballgames. Picnics in the woods. Movies. Concerts. (One time she went to see Rush with me, mostly because she liked me…not so much because she liked Rush…). Church. Baptist Student Union events (our first date was a BSU event).
2.5 years later, on an Easter at her parents’ home, I put a diamond ring on her finger, as she said “yes” to my marriage proposal. (Aside: though I was & am pretty relationally-challenged by & large, I did this right: talked to her Dad & asked his permission; talked to her Mother & showed her the ring. I’m biased, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be done in my opinion.)
14 months after that, on June 2, 1984, we put rings on each other’s fingers in a church.
Since that first date we have…
--watched our beloved Coach Bryant break Amos Alonzo Stagg’s record for number of wins…andwatched his funeral.
--completed bachelor’s degrees in Business from Alabama (accounting for her; econ for me…accounting’s too hard!)
--had success getting into grad school…and getting out (I’m quite certain neither would’ve happened w/o her love, guidance, & encouragement!)
--lived in an un-air-conditioned trailer in Tuscaloosa, AL, making VERY little money…and had a blast doing so!
--moved way up north to Indiana, where we confirmed a few things: (1) we don’t like cold/ice/snow; (2) we *REALLY* like beaches; (3) we like southern food & Cajun food. Indiana has lots of cold/ice/snow, no real beaches, and ZERO Cajun food.
--bought our 1st house up there
--seen James Madaris arrive on the scene @ Vigo Hospital in Terre Haute, IN
--moved to Hattiesburg, MS
--made some DEARLY treasured friends along the way…(and seem to have lost some too who used to be close friends)
--seen Anne Madaris arrive on the scene @ Forrest Gen’l Hospital in Hattiesburg
--joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ’s faculty ministry
--changed jobs & careers… had career success…and lack thereof
--been discipled together
--grown together in love and in faith
--faced challenges, from death of friends & family to the joyful challenges children provide to the crushing challenge of stage IV metastatic melanoma with 20+ trips to M.D. Anderson in 2+ years
--gone on mission trips, both together and separately
--realized that we are utterly & completely different/opposite in personality type, temperament, love languages, spiritual giftedness…and are still immensely enjoying seeing our Lord knit that together.
--discipled some college students, grad students, professors, & others
--started a Sunday School class for adults
And on & on it goes…
Today, 30 years after that first date, I am more deeply, passionately, hopelessly, joyfully, & wonderfully in love with Lisa Mixon Madaris than ever. I don’t have many clues now, but I *really* didn’t back then. And yet, here we are, by the grace of God.
As I tell my students each term, if a hammerhead like myself can get married, stay married, & grow in love like I have, there’s hope for the rest of you in the future.
“An excellent wife, who can find?” ME!
I, among men, am most blessed. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for us!
I love you, Lisa! And am still amazed that you went out with me & more, that you kept doing so. Thanks doesn’t come close, but THANKS!
p.s. – if you need either of us Wednesday, too bad! We’re off to Tuscaloosa for a day trip down memory lane. Can’t wait!
p.p.s. – I have no idea who this guy is, but here’s a pretty decent version of one of Lisa’s favorite songs, “I Wish You Peace” (originally on an Eagles album in the mid-70s.) >>PRESS THIS<<>