The fall season seems to be synonymous for me with new beginnings and fresh starts. I guess this is natural since I was in school from the ages of 5 - 22 and am now entering my twelfth year of working with college students. As I was driving home today from the office, I was thinking about another new year and all that lies ahead. And then ever so slowly my thoughts began to drift back into my past and I began to reflect on what I had most likely been doing on this date in years past. As I started to think about this, I came to the realization that what I was experiencing on August 20th when I go back in five year increments dramatically affected my life and the person I have become. Think back with me for a moment...
Five Years Ago (2002)
After six years spent working with students in northeast Ohio, we moved from Kent earlier in the summer. Our family spent that summer in Johannesburg, South Africa as a part of Operation Sunrise and moved to Orlando for the first time several weeks after the project was over. On this date, we were settling into our apartment and I was preparing for my new job as executive assistant to Charles Gilmer and work in the national Impact office. That year was a very refreshing season and I can see now that some seeds were planted of what I'd be doing now.
Ten Years Ago (1997)
I had just completed my first year on campus at Kent State and was assigned to staff the Virginia Beach summer project. On the project I met some friends that I still have to this day, including one very cute girl named Lori Gresko. On this date Lori and I were growing in our certainty that the Lord might be leading us together. Though we had met only three months before I was pretty confident that she was to be my wife. We were engaged less than two months after this and got married on May 2, 1998. Second best decision I ever made. Which leads me to the best decision I ever made...
Fifteen Years Ago (1992)
I was entering my sophomore year at Central Michigan University and had spent the summer earning money for college by working at a Detroit Edison power plant shoveling coal. That's right -- I was a coal handler. Though I appreciated what the manual labor did for my muscles, I knew then that I definitely wanted to get my college degree. On this date I was completely unaware that in three short months my life would absolutely and utterly change when I was to read a book, Under Siege, that would cause me to think about eternity in a way that I hadn't before. In my dorm room of 320 Emmons Hall on the campus of CMU in November of '92, I truly and sincerely placed my faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of my sins and committed my life to Him. I shortly thereafter got involved with Campus Crusade and the rest, they say, is history.
Twenty Years Ago (1987)
After spending my first fourteen plus years residing in Port Huron, Michigan, my family made the decision to move to a town to the south of us in order to be closer to my mom's accounting business. It was just weeks before I was to enter high school and I didn't know a soul at my new school. It took a little while to adjust to a different environment and find new friends, but I eventually made some friends and found my place there. The Marysville Vikings were a state powerhouse in football and our varsity team was just coming off a state championship from the year before. On this date I probably went to freshmen football practice and spent the rest of the day working on mowing our lawn at our new house.
Twenty Five Years Ago (1982)
I was nine years old and was getting ready to enter the fourth grade. I was feeling pretty good about myself since I had won the Spelling Bee as a third grader. I didn't fare as well during fourth grade - I don't think I made it past the second or third round. I don't remember a whole lot about this year other than Mrs. Fleming was my teacher and Michael Jackson's Thriller album came out late that year. I became a very big MJ fan (as my parents and sister can attest) and could moonwalk like nobody's business! On this date I was probably playing baseball outside in the neighborhood with my friends and dreading the soon-to-be start of another school year.
Thirty Years Ago (1977)
I can't remember much about this year at all (I was only four) other than I did see Star Wars in the theatre and can distinctly remember Darth Vader. Another reason that I can't remember much of anything for that time was that my older brother, Chip, tragically and unexpectedly passed away a year and a half before on Valentine's Day 1976. I usually have a near photographic memory and do have memories of my brother, but I have about a two year block for right after he died. I was just shy of my third birthday (he was almost five) when it happened and I guess my little mind couldn't fully comprehend what was going on. Chip's death certainly shaped my family in many ways and I am continually reminded that my children are simply a gift from God that He entrusts to us for a time known only to Him. So on this date in 1977, I really can't remember what I would have been doing, but if I had to guess, I was probably bugging my younger sister, Kelly, watching Batman on T.V. and playing with my Stretch Armstrong action figure.
Thirty Five Years Ago (1972)
On this date thirty-five years ago, I was merely a glimmer in my parents' eye. Come to think of it, this was most likely weeks after I was conceived. Okay, I think that's enough memories for now, don't you?