it has been 43 years since our epic first date


Out of [God’s] fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. John 1:16

February 4. Today is always a celebration. Granted, Rebekah and I enjoy any excuse to mark an occasion: Our wedding – August 18; engagement day – October 7; birthdays; ordination; moving to Wake Forest (our first Sunday here was August 25); there are many more…

But February 4 is the one amazing day that set all of this in motion. February 4, 1977, the occasion of our first date. We were both 20 years old!

IMG_E8516So of course I went hunting this morning for some photographic evidence. These pictures were all taken during those first few weeks, February and March of 1977. The other one – you just may notice the difference! – was on our deck, here in Wake Forest, this morning.

For the record, Rebekah asked me out that very first date. Essentially, it went something like this: “Derek, a bunch of us are going to the basketball game this evening. Do you want to come?” So I walked by her dorm on the way and off we went. And, no, she didn’t have to ask again.

Oh, and we haven’t stopped dating, by the way. And, yes, opening the car door for her, and taking her hand on the way out to dinner can still leave me breathless.

Modern Love:

Over the past two weeks, possibly by coincidence (but I’m not a big believer in coincidence when providence is such a huge player in my life), Rebekah and I watched the entire 8-episode Prime Video series “Modern Love.”

I’d throw a caution flag for language and some of the “content”, but we have been flat out blown away at the level of depth and insight and truth in the stories. Yesterday evening we watched the final episode and I found myself crying, big sloppy tears running down my face. It wasn’t that it was sad, but that the stories were all so completely spot on.

I believe I was crying because at some level I understood that over 43 years Rebekah and I have experienced every emotion captured so beautifully in the stories, plus so much more. And to see it all played out so authentically touched so many deep places in me that I was overwhelmed.


So today I am full to overflowing with the truth of our story, the goodness of it, the ever-widening scope of it, the too-much-to-contain beauty of real love.

  • 1977 – Two kids: One playing soccer and kind of attending classes, and just beginning to discover he had a brain and a love for learning. The other completely sure of what God was calling her to do, and where she was going, and what she needed to do to get there.
  • 2020 – Two 63-year-olds: Still with a long way to go, and owning the same excitement and vision. Maybe more vision, because now we know what is possible.

Peace, blessings, and love always – DEREK


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