Thanksgiving takes on a very deep and profound meaning for us this year.
It was a year ago this week that Tammy made the 7-hour drive from Woodstock, IL to Carterville, IL, and our lives together began. It was quite a story, and I wrote about it at the time. But the very, very short version is this: We’d met online when we both lived in State College, PA a few years ago. We had one date, and although we liked each other, went our separate ways – Tammy to Atlanta, North Carolina, and Illinois and me to Orlando, North Carolina, and Illinois. We met again on Facebook a year ago, reunited for Thanksgiving, and we were married on December 29, 2010. And, well, here we are.
A year ago, we had no idea what was ahead: heart surgery, unemployment, uncertainty, and a move to High Point, NC. Truthfully, we’ve been through challenges that would have torn many couples apart… but we’re together, and stronger than ever. This poem, by an author whose name escapes us, says it all:
The little boat of you and me
Went sailing on the deep blue sea
We weathered winds and crashing waves
And we were strong and true and brave
And we were still in love
So we kept sailing on the deep blue sea
The little boat of you and me
In June, it became clear that I needed heart surgery. And because of the circumstances in which we found ourselves, we had no choice but to reach out to friends and family and ask for help. The response was overwhelming and humbling. And that’s why we’re writing now. Without your prayers, love and support, in so very many ways, we could not have come through this. And our gratitude is deep and boundless. We cannot pay back what we have been given, but we are now dedicating ourselves to paying it forward: In whatever ways we are able, we will reach out to others to help them.
We want to express our deep, abiding and everlasting gratitude to those who have helped us through their love and support… without you, we really don’t know what may have happened to us. But you lifted us up and helped us through some of the most difficult times of our adult lives. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Deep thanks to my sister Kendra, who has given us a place to live during these difficult times. Because of your help, Kendra, we have had a roof over our heads, and enough to eat.
We also want to offer our prayer of gratitude to God. There is no doubt in our minds that God brought us together, and has a plan and purpose for our lives. Our faith in Him sustains us, and makes us whole.
We have learned how fortunate we are. We have learned what is important in life, and what is not. We have learned about the power of love.
Now, for more good news: I’ve recovered from my surgery, and on Monday will begin a new job as the local host of Morning Edition on WFDD-FM, the Public Radio station at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. Tammy is also now working as an Event Specialist with Advantage Sales and Marketing. Many challenges lie ahead, but we are confident that, together, we can weather any storm, and keep sailing on that deep blue sea.
To our incredible friends and family, have a wonderful and joyous Thanksgiving. Give thanks for what you have, and the life you enjoy. Give thanks to God. And know that what you have done is appreciated more than you can ever know.
Steve and Tammy