Sixteen years ago this summer, Crystal and I began our lives together. Neither of us can believe it’s been that long since we met and married.
This summer for our vacation we passed through the city of our first home. It’s been years since we’ve been here! We used to pass this way frequently when we were missionaries, but those days are long since passed.
As we entered Jacksonville, FL a wave of emotions began to pass over us and a flood of memories from our early years began build. There were so many experiences that took place in this town.
So to get a bit nostalgic with our crew of 5, we took them past our first apartment and the part of town we used to live in.
To them, it was a unwelcomed distraction from their current Disney movie selection. They sort of rubbed their blood shot eyes as they looked up and grunted with a half-hearted acknowledgement as Crystal and I revisited a thousand memories that took place on College Street in Jacksonville. We were excited to see that the area has improved since the days when it was a drug-infested hotbed of illegal activity! It’s actually a descent place to call home now! Let me just say, we lived in the hood and it was sketchy at best.
Oh those were the days! We’d get home from our classes at Trinity Baptist College and have about 3 hours before our work schedules began. We’d throw together some Tuna because that’s all we could afford in those days, and take a short walk to the banks of the St. Johns River where we’d enjoy a picnic. We did this so often that memory is coterized in our minds and tuna takes us on a journey down memory lane even at its smell.
We had next to nothing during that season of life, but for some reason we look back with such fondness at the time we spent in that very small, one-bedroom apartment. It was ours and we were each others and there was just nothing better in the world.
Those days make me grateful for the Lord has brought us now. I always get a little fearful when I hear young couples talking about getting more. More stuff, more space, more…everything. We were that way too at a time, but the most important thing we learned over the years since was the reality that life was more about purpose than pleasure. She and I had nothing, but we had an intense purpose that fill our minds and hearts with a pleasure that we’d never before known.
How did your story begin? Where were the days of our meager beginnings?
More than that, what’s your purpose? The God-given purpose of your heart is more than everything and if you struggle to define that purpose, no physical thing will ever fill its void.