December 31st, 1999 my girlfriend of five years and I head out and decide to do something CRAZY. This might be the last night of our lives; we need to soak it in. On Christmas break from my first year at Duke Divinity School and my girlfriends last year at Western Carolina University we cherished the fact that we only had to drive 2 and 3 hours to meet up in our hometown of Charlotte, NC.
What were we going to do to bring in the new Millennium? Were we going to party like it was 1999? If we were going to go out, we wanted to make sure we had tried something we hadn’t tried yet…and it starts with a ‘s’. Wait for it…sushi! Yes that is right, 10 years ago, we sat down at an unfamiliar menu and attempted to figure out what type of sushi we liked. At the end of an odd meal, we looked at each other and agreed…not too bad. Then we headed down to Uptown Charlotte to stand in the midst of a huge crowd and watch the crown drop (it is the Queen City btw) and the fireworks. There, that cold night, the world didn’t come to an end. But I was able to kiss my girlfriend for the fifth time on New Years Eve and welcome in the year 2000.
Ten years later we will be in Charlotte once again. My then girlfriend is now my wife and after we drop our two children off with grandparents we will be heading off to a nice restaurant in Uptown Charlotte and then catching Jeff Dunham at Time Warner Arena. For the 15th time I will be able to kiss the same girl to welcome in the new year. Ahhh…life is good.
Enough mush though, as I write this I am amazed at how my life has changed in 10 years. Ten years ago I was in my first year of Divinity School and now I am in my second appointment and in my third year here. Here are some highlights in my life from the past decade…
2000 – Middle Year of Duke Divinity School Education and moved into 1311 Norton St. Awesome house with awesome friends.
2001 – Had a front row seat to watch Duke Men’s Basketball team win a national championship and went to my one and only Duke/UNC game at Cameron. Asked girlfriend to marry me…she said yes.
2002 – Got turned down for Commissioning in the ordination process (must wait to finish for another year, SUCKS!!!). Graduated Duke Divinity School and got married (two weeks apart) and then in August moved to Mossley, England.
2003 – Rang in the year under Big Ben, enjoyed the ministry within the three churches I was in charge of in the Ashton-under-Lyne Circuit of the British Methodist Church. Explored and toured Great Britain and some of Germany and Italy (I miss Rome). Flew back to the US to go through interviews again and then flew back to be commissioned and accept my first WNCC appointment as an associate at Hawthorne Lane UMC in our home town of Charlotte, NC.
2004 – Finally after four moves in 12 months, moved into a very nice parsonage. Wife graduates from Southeastern School of Neuromuscular Massage Therapy and becomes a licensed Massage Therapist.
2005 – Find out we are pregnant and announce it at Christmas to our families.
2006 – Get ordained as an elder of the United Methodist Church and become a father of a wonderful little boy Dean…who goes on to have colic…won’t wish that on my worst enemy.
2007 – Move to Thomasville, NC to become the pastor of Trinity UMC.
2008 – Find out we are pregnant again.
2009 – Become the father of a beautiful little girl, Campbell (Belle).
As we said goodbye to 1999 and welcomed in 2000, I was 22, had a wonderful girlfriend, a BS in Bible and Religion from Montreat College and was in my first year of Divinity School. Ten years later I have been married for 7.5 years and in ministry for just as long. I have moved 8 times within that time, the longest distance was across the pond. There have been ups and down, victories and defeats.
But over all, life is too good to be true. I look at the ‘highlights’ of this decade and I am amazed at what has happened. I wonderful what these next 10 years will look like?