I love the month of August! I love the month of August for two particular reasons. One, my wife was born in August and two, I married my wife in August. In fact, we will celebrate our 20th Anniversary on the 30th. I can still remember it as though it was yesterday. It was a quaint gathering of 175 of our closest friends. My mother handled the catering. My son stood as my Best Man and my daughter was the Maid of Honor. It was an outdoor wedding, candles floating in the pool, and my bride came down the aisle, escorted by her son, to Flower Duet from Leo Delibes opera, Lakme. Instead of writing a vow that I would stumble through, I had In My Life by The Beatles played; my song for her.
Nearly twenty years ago.
I want to celebrate the month of August by sharing a few photos and stories of our life together. We'll begin with a photograph of two countries.
In the Fall of 1996, Gerrie and I took part in what was known as the Reconciliation Walk. The Reconciliation Walk was a prayer walk tracing the routes of the First Crusade. The purpose of the Walk was to pray for forgiveness for the atrocities committed in the name of Christ during the Crusade and when possible, share a message of peace with Muslims we may encounter along the way.
Gerrie and I, along with other members of our missionary training team, walked over a 1,000 miles during our ten weeks on the road. We began in Dijon, France and ended in Bari, Italy. We crossed three mountain ranges; the Jura Mountains, the Alps and Apennine Mountains. The photograph above is of Gerrie and I at Great St. Bernard Pass. The pass is at 8,100 feet above sea level. In the photograph we are standing in Switzerland and over our shoulders, the buildings in the distance, is Italy. We spent the night in the Hospice there, which has been receiving guests since around 1050, including Napoleon in 1800. The road he used to cross? Built by the Romans. The morning the photograph was taken, October 5th, we would come through the pass and enter Italy spending our first night in a monastery in Saint-Oyen.
From Saint-Oyen, we spent the next 6 to 8 weeks walking through Italy. Not the Italy of the travel books, but the Italy of the Italians. The small towns and villages that no one cares to visit. Sometimes we had wonderful accommodation, meaning that the floor was clean where we'd throw your sleeping bag. Sometimes we'd make it through the night and then pray that our next stop would be better. But good or bad, hot or cold, rain or snow, it was an experience that neither of us will ever forget.
Years have passed since those days and I am not nearly in the shape I was then. But on occasion, I dream about our Walk and I'd like to think I could do it again someday.
I love the month of August! It is my anniversary month. It has been a wonderful adventure! And it will continue to be for as long as we both shall live.