I recently needed to make a ministry/training trip to southern Virginia. It was a lovely drive; one in which I have made many, many times before. You see, our marriage began in that area 44 years previously. That now seems like a long time ago.
I experienced a very pleasant surprise on this trip. I exited early off of Interstate 64 onto J Clyde Morris Boulevard. We lived in a small, two-bedroom apartment off of that street. I wanted to see if 59 Traverse Road, apartment 3 still existed.
To my surprise, it did exist! I pulled in as I had done many times in the 1970’s and found the very apartment we occupied, the very space we parked our car and memories began to flood my mind. I could see us sitting on those front steps talking to neighbors, handing out Mary’s homemade donuts or whatever recent baked good she created and our neighbors loved. I could see us cooking on our Hibachi grill out back and running into one another in that tiny kitchen. The buildings looked good, well-kept and so familiar. Even the door was painted the same color.
I saw something else as well. I remembered that this is where we learned to cook together, where we found and grew in intimacy, where we first made a habit of praying together as a married couple. This was where we would depart from every Saturday to do outreach into the rougher areas of town looking for children who wanted to ride our huge, ex school bus to Sunday School, creating our first mission together as a couple. This apartment was foundational to who we were and to where we lived because God placed us there. How do I know that?
Acts 17 states this, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth…from one man he made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth and the exact places where they should live.”
That exact place was our place in this world and we loved it. We loved our neighbors, our community, our jobs and our local church. We fell in love with marriage itself and simply could not get enough of one another. It was all a dream come true.
I then snapped a quick a photo to share with my bride. We don’t live there anymore, we’re older, we’re wiser, we have less energy, but we still love one another deeply along with our neighbors, our community, our jobs, our church and our mission together. Looking back is necessary. Realizing the long marriage commitment and trek we have been on is amazing to think about. But you know what else is amazing? Looking forward, growing more in love, still praying and maintaining the mission that our heavenly Father has given us.
Thank you 59 Traverse Road, apartment 3 for all the memories. We have moved on from you and have a new place we call home.