I like to watch young people falling in love and getting married. I like to watch them strolling arm and arm, pushing a stroller, spreading a blanket on the beach and listening to the waves. Love is always new. For thousands of years it has remained the fresh and vibrant theme of novels, movies, music and paintings.
We started hosting a bible study in our home for international students almost four years ago. Mulenga showed up alone. His wife was unable to join him from Zambia because she did not have a visa. We prayed. The visa was granted. She came, and a year later their son was born on my birthday.
Xiuli arrived from China, a beautiful young woman in her 30s. A year later she met Willis who joined us. They were married in the Chinese Church on Jan. 2, 2016. In September she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.
Balkeum came from South Korea. She met James who earned a masters degree in South Korea. A few months later she showed up at the bible study with an engagement ring on her finger. They were married in April 2016. Last week I held their daughter, Charlotte, for the first time.
My son had to brand cattle on a Wyoming round-up to ask permission to marry his rodeo-father-in-law’s daughter. His palms were sweating when he popped the question, not from the round up, but from nerves.
My son-in-law went fishing with me to ask permission to marry my daughter. His mind wasn’t on fishing. He then coaxed a friend into flying them in a private plane to a romantic spot where he gave her the ring.
It was almost 50 years ago that I met the girl who would become my wife. The days of our courtship and engagement are as vivid in my memory as they were when we lived them. The mystery and the miracle have not faded. A few years ago, I wrote a poem, trying to capture the feeling:
He holds the eternal quarter-carat stone in his hand
Buried in his trembling palm,
Pausing to expose its fire sided sight to the light
Where it will be seen,
set in the golden circle of the ring
To be worn on her hand,
half a century and a day
From this day when he first feels her finger
Slender and smooth, adorned with a diamond
Timidly given in hope of heaven.
There are many love stories in the bible: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Ruth and Boaz, Joseph and Mary. The story never grows old. Few things are as beautiful as a young man and a young woman in love, giving birth to their children.
“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number. Fill the earth and subdue it.” Genesis 1:27-28.