Last week I shared Rey’s
love story. After my request to hear others, I received
the following from Larry Lovering.
It began when I was twelve, living in Colorado Springs. I was a scrawny
and brainy kid, two deadly attributes in the company of cretins with less intelligence
than a bucket of Jell-O. I took refuge often with the youth group at First
Methodist Church, a very large church in the Springs. They had a heart
for God, and their youth programs were well attended. I was in Boy Scouts
at that church as well.
One Sunday night, there was a youth service in the gym, and communion was served,
potato chips and coca-cola serving as host substitutes. I thought a lot
about God and how Jesus lived and died; and that night I gave my life to him. Two
months later I was on a plane bound back to Massachusetts as another of my father’s
marriages was crumbling. It was his third.
The ensuing years put me in different churches but not for sanctification, but
for a place to go. The Congregational churches of New England are watered-down
ghosts of their Puritan beginnings. I didn’t feel like I was backsliding,
in fact I didn’t really know what that was. But I felt safe there, knowing
that God was watching.
High school, and I finally faced up to the demons that dogged me by punching
one in the nose after school. I never had a problem with bullies again. And
I kept on being a good kid in the face of everything that peer groups can throw. I
graduated, went to college briefly, then to work.
At 22, I found a Baptist church near where I lived and began attending, full
time now. I began to see what God’s plans were for me, and that he was
with me all those years. Well, I didn’t really realize that until, well,
that comes later in the story. As I sat in a singles class for Sunday School,
I was introduced to a list-making help to discern a mate. I wasn’t too
interested in being married at that time, but I thought carefully about my list
and resolved not to become unequally-yoked. I worked, went to church, worked
again until I was 25.
I met Joann in one of my stores. She was playing a record in the stereo
department, a record that I heard from across the store. It wasn’t an ordinary
song, though. It was Stravinsky’s Firebird, played with electronic instruments. There
was a style to the performance I recognized, and I thought that my friend Billy
and me were the only ones in the Western World who had Isao Tomita’s records. I
asked Joann whose record it was, and it was hers. Now there were
three that knew Tomita.
She was very attractive, and I decided to ask her out before I left for the day.
She gave me her number, and for the next three weeks I dialed that number,
no response. Finally, I did get through, and we set up our first date for
September 6, 1980. We spent that day until almost midnight in Boston, and
it was very close to the end of the date when I found out she was a believer,
which made my heart jump. I was respectful, always, and kissed her on the
cheek leaving her that night, with a promise that I’d call her back. I
did, the next day, and the next day, and the next…
Our second date was at a church picnic, her church, but we wandered away for
most of the time and talked. Our third date was dinner at my house, and
I prepared a home made Italian feast, a specialty of mine. To set the stage
for this, I thought she was French, ok? Well, she comes up the stairs and
says, "You have a nerve, cooking Italian for an Italian." Fortunately
she liked my cooking, a lot.
Six weeks later, I proposed to Joann, and she accepted. Five months later
we married, on her birthday. And for twenty years, our marriage was one
with the Lord, a storybook almost every day, and when the day wasn’t so, the
night was. We couldn’t have children, so we adopted an infant boy
ten years after we married. And though our relationship got a little rocky
at times, God was still at the head and in control. Even when we found
out she had ovarian cancer.
The world didn’t stop then, only slowed down a lot. I went with Joann to
each of her chemo sessions, and stayed with her every night in her hospital room. We
hoped and prayed for a miracle. She lived for four and a half years after
that, and for most of those years we traveled and made the most of our lives. She
died, at home, in August 2001.
Joann’s testimony lived on, spreading her Gospel message about trust and hope,
and peace in Him through our web site. It is amazing to me, but two people
that I know of, came to know the Lord as their Savior after reading the web site. And
my life, cut apart as it was, is slowly regaining life because of God and His
promises to me. We knew after our first date that we would be together,
and many years later, after she died, I found her list, the one she used to see
if I met her "standards." Number 3 on the list was, "would
like to cook for me once in a while." I did, for almost two years
after we were married, as she arrived home later than I did from work. But
of course, that isn’t the reason our marriage was so successful. It was
God being the head of our marriage.
After reading Larry’s story, I downloaded Isao
Tomita‘s rendition of The Pachelbel
Canon from the iTunes Music Store (which introduced me to a fascinating artist
and also taught me the proper spelling of Pachelbel). Larry recommends
the album Snowflakes
Are Dancing (featuring the music of DeBussy) for newcomers to his music. Larry
runs the Web site Southstation.org,
where he offers information on a variety of fascinating topics and also publishes
At the site, you can also read about Joann’s
ordeal with cancer (in her own words) and how she handled it
the loving support of her husband.
Please continue sending me love stories. I love to read them, and I love sharing them even more.