It is not a very sexy number, is it? Perhaps its only distinction is that it is one of only twenty-five prime numbers between one and 100.
29 isn’t cool like some of the other prime numbers. Take the number one, for instance. Every sports team, every salesman, every ambitious student wants to be number one. Three is the number of the Triple Crown in horse racing. The king of basketball goals is the three-pointer. There were three amigos. You have always been once, twice, three times a lady. The three daughters we have together have been our joy…and defined us as a couple.
Five is indivisible, but it is every kid’s favorite factor. How cool was it when you were first able to count by fives? And what a relief was it when you counted those fingers and toes on each of our three kids? Seven is lucky. The gambler loves to hear, “seven come eleven.” And eleven is the number of men on the field for each team in earth’s greatest game. What would the world be without 13? Think of all the superstitions and corny movies we would miss. Seventeen means you are almost done with high school. Nineteen is the last year before you leave your teens and enter the horrors and challenges of adulthood. Twenty-one is coolness.
So, yeah. Plenty of prime numbers have their own distinct personality. But twenty-nine?
I remember when we were twenty-nine. It was 1990. We had already been married for a decade. We had all three kids by then; Lacey having made the show just a year before. We were living in California, in our sixth year of pastoring our first church. We had no idea that we were less than a year away from losing my Dad, leaving California, and starting over.
You never had that freak-out factor so many women do. You were twenty-nine and thirty was looming, but you took it in stride. Just another birthday. Just another year on the calendar.You were graceful and undaunted. And even when it seemed we had hit the wall in ’91, you remained calm, collected…and by my side.
Back to Texas we came, uncertain where we would land, what we would do. But we landed, didn’t we? We landed in the best church – and among the best people -we would ever have the privilege of serving as pastor.
This roller coaster called life has dipped us pretty low at times. It has taken us through hairpin curves and turned us upside down. We felt our stomachs hit the floor when Holly was born with Spina Bifida. And we felt them soar until they were lumps in our throats when she walked the platform to receive her Master’s degree.
Ashley’s decision to move out threw us for a loop. And then she married, and we just weren’t sure. But this morning, we will hug and tickle and play with the son of our daughter, we will pray for his daddy’s safe return to us..and we will both be glad that Ashley is who she is and did what she did.
Lacey was an unwelcome surprise. How we feared the worst! Would she, too, face a lifetime of physical disability? Little did we know how much fun that kid would be. And look at her now. A woman of twenty, beautiful, funny, and ready to face the big wide world to see what it has for her.
Yes, we were twenty-nine together. Now, we have been together for twenty-nine years. As I sit before this keyboard and relive the events of these 29 years, I am amazed at how much life we have packed into them. They have not all been glorious years, and I won’t pretend for the sake of sentiment that they have been. We have endured more than our share of pain, shame, suffering, and loss. But those things were half as bad because we faced them together. We have also done our share of rejoicing, celebrating, laughing, and loving…and those things have been twice as good because we did them together.
Twenty-nine is a pretty sexy number after all. It is a prime number, and the thing about prime numbers is that they are indivisible. So are we, Donya…and this is a prime time for me to say that we are still in our prime. There is as much road ahead as there is behind.
Here’s to another twenty-nine years together, my love.