Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Promise Is a Promise

Nearly twenty years ago I was pastor of Susquehanna Baptist Church in Independence, Missouri. We lived in a friendly neighborhood with great neighbors, some of which attended our church. Mike and Carol lived just a couple of doors down from us on the other side of the street. Mike helped me build a deck for our home and Carol was Suzanne's walking buddy and close friend. Carol had two teenage daughters from a previous marriage, Michelle and Traci, who began their babysitting careers watching our rowdy boys.

Mike and Carol also had a daughter of their own, a bright, precocious little eight year old named Amy. She had long brown hair in curls and one of those smiles that can make a grown man melt. Amy was like a big sister to our little guys and was remarkably patient with two little boys who only wanted to play pirates. Even at the tender age of eight it was obvious that Amy was exceptionally bright and gifted and her teachers at school had to scramble to keep her occupied and challenged.

I remember the Sunday morning when I baptized little Amy, not much of a chore since the water was almost up to her chin. After the service she came to see me at the door. She was wearing a pretty dress for her special day and her curls were still damp as she gave me a hug. Then, much to my surprise, she popped the question. 

"When I get married, will you do my wedding?"
"Amy, you're eight years old!"
"I know, but I want you to do my ceremony."
"Well, sure I will, if you want me to, but that's a long way off, Amy, and it's okay if you change your mind."
"I won't. I want you to do my wedding. Do you promise?"
"Okay, it's a deal. If you need me and still want me to, I'll do your wedding, Amy. I promise."

Soon after, I was called away to a new place of service. We were able to get together with Mike and Carol once or twice, but it was difficult to stay close. We would catch up a little bit with Christmas cards and letters. So, fast forward eighteen years and imagine my surprise when I received this email from Amy:

Dear Drew,
The time has come for me to rekindle a conversation we had many years ago: I'm getting married, and I'd love for you to perform the ceremony!

Last Saturday I met with Amy and her fiance to make plans for a summer wedding. I was struck by two obvious realities - little Amy has grown up and I am getting old. I was touched to get another hug, this time from a poised and beautiful young woman, now finishing her Ph.D. in English Literature at Washington University. And, I was impressed with the fine young man she has chosen to be her husband. 

I'm looking forward to Amy's wedding and hope to help make it a very special day for her. After all, I promised. And, through all the years, across all the miles and memories, a promise is a promise.

4 comments:

Wm Clark said...

Wonderful story Drew. It is time like this that make the past come alive once again and reminds us that the past influences the future in almost every thing we do. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing it.

Cuz Bill

shrinkingthecamel.com said...

Wow, that is so cool!
Isn't that a sobering feeling, "I'm getting old?" It's happening to me all the time, too. Although I keep trying to tell myself I'm mostly over it. Kids growing up have a way of marking the passage of time.
It's the events like Amy's wedding that we must relish in, to preserve the memories and extend the love.

John McCallum said...

Nice glimpse into the heart of a pastor. Great story.

Joe said...

Wow! What an awesome post! Thanks for sharing.