Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Perfect Harmony

Who knew nearly half a century of perfect harmony could start with a few chords on a guitar?

One Sunday afternoon back in late sixties a group of young people who wanted to be involved in a folk mass met at our little Lutheran church. Out of the dozen or so who came that day, I was the only one who knew anything about playing a guitar. Several were willing to learn however, so, with my limited knowledge, I offered to teach a couple of others to play.

Among them was an enthusiastic young man named Dick Williams who had a wonderful sense of humor. Dick and I connected instantly. Although I taught him some basic chords, music just wasn’t one of his strengths.

“I just don’t hear a beat,” Dick admitted sheepishly. “And my hands are too small for the guitar. My fingers are “vertically challenged”, just like the rest of me,” he joked, referring to his small stature.

Instead of learning guitar, Dick worked closely with me over the next few months planning the worship services, securing venues, and printing off bulletins. Traveling from church to church leading folk masses, we discovered we were kindred spirits and found great joy in one another’s company. It was clear that God had introduced us for a reason. Within a few months, romance sparked and we looked for any and every excuse to be with each other.

On weekends we loved hiking hand in hand along a creek or following a path through the woods and over the hills, photographing the scenery. Saturday nights we enjoyed stealing kisses at the local movie theatre. During Dick’s senior year we spent as much time in one another’s company as possible.

Ten days after graduating high school Dick left for the Air Force. The following year I graduated and went off to college. But against all odds, our lives continued to intertwine.

I wrote chatty, dream-filled letters to him every day for two years while Dick served as a linguist on the island of Crete. His letters to me always included a hand-drawn cartoon on the envelope. We penned our thoughts, dreams, and desires and, by the time he returned to the States, we knew and loved each other from the inside out. We were more than just two people in love; we were best friends.

On June 8th, 1974, Dick and I were married on my Aunt Jan’s terraced lawn. The sun shone brightly that day, having dried up the last of a few raindrops from an early morning sprinkle. We were both so excited and anxious to be together we had agreed we didn’t want to wait till afternoon to be married. The wedding was set for 10:30 AM.

Since God had used folk mass to start our relationship, we selected guitar renditions of those songs for the music to be played prior to the service. We then entered the yard along a fern-lined path to the strains of Noel Paul Stookey’s wedding song, “There is Love”.

Standing beneath an arched trellis decorated with tiny pink wild roses picked fresh the day before from along the country roads surrounding our hometown, we clasped hands and gazed happily into each other’s eyes. Pastor Paul Jones led us in exchanging the wedding vows that we had written ourselves.

One of my favorite photos was taken at our reception held on the patio of my aunt’s home. In the picture Dick and I are leaning in, facing each other. In front of us is our wedding cake—a small, white, layered confection trimmed with little pink flowers and green leaves that matched the overlay on my gauzy white dress.

I am laughing as Dick holds up a small piece of cake to my mouth. He is smiling with his lips closed, as though I have just fed him his morsel. Our noses are practically touching and there are sparkles of love and twinkles of mischief in every line of our faces. The intimacy of that moment speaks volumes—Dick and I are only aware of each other.

Those two ceremonial bites were all that we tasted of the delicious picnic feast prepared by the ladies from the Lutheran church. But then, neither of us needed nourishment that day; the love God gave us for one another sustained us.

And it still does.

Those who know us well will tell you Dick and I share a special interconnectedness that encompasses every fiber of our lives. What’s our secret? It’s been proven that a strong rope requires three cords braided together. For Dick and I, the third cord bonding us together in our rock-solid marriage is God. We see a direct correlation between our growing spiritual relationship and our deepened love for and commitment to each other.

What started as a simple desire to work together on a church service, in reality turned out to be God’s first nudge toward 45 years spent in harmony with my best friend.

©2014 Pamela D. Williams