It began in the spring of 1985.
Actually, let me back up. It began, specifically, at 12:30 a.m. on December 26, 1984, the first time Craig and I said “I love you” to one another. I was a month over seventeen, a senior in high school, and Craig had just turned nineteen the week before, a college freshman home for Christmas break. We’d been dating since the previous summer and my years of wondering what it would feel like to be in love … well, I didn’t have to wonder anymore. He was my everything.
Fast forward to the following spring, when he was at school in Iowa finishing up his first year and I was in Illinois, finishing up my last. He always called a couple of times each week after baseball practice and I would run down the hall and make an airborne dive onto my bed to pick up the phone. More often than not, as I was saying hello, I would notice my digital bedside clock read exactly 7:42 pm. That’s when 7:42 I love you was born. I starting answering his calls with that phrase. After time, we tried to call each other at exactly 7:42, and, even now, three kids and thirty years of marriage later, when one of us has to be away, we still try to call or text each other at that time, morning or night. We continue to have a playful, loving, passionate marriage, and I’m filled to the brim with gratitude.
To me, 7:42 stands for many things; I love you, I’m thankful for you, I cherish you, day in and day out – I’ll be there for you. Over the years, I checked the time and would call out “7:42 I love you!” to the kids as they ate breakfast, getting ready for school. Or in the evening when we were all snuggled in, reading books before bed.
Craig and I were just kids when we fell in love and have experienced so much in the process of growing up together. He was there for me, several months into our dating relationship, when I lost my dad to brain cancer, two weeks before my high school graduation. In the last several years, we’ve grieved the loss of one of his beautiful sisters and both his mom and dad.
We are parents to three amazing human beings and have been blessed to gain two of the most incredible daughters-in-law! The five of them have made us into better versions of our younger selves; more selfless, more responsible, more compassionate and giving. We’re thankful to God for all the ways they make our lives richer.
I get lost in the process of composing and revising, and my prayer is when I do share my words, that those reading them may be inspired to draw closer to Jesus and to view and treat their fellowman differently – with more kindness, compassion, empathy and love.
In this life that won’t slow down, let’s remind ourselves to stop often, breathe deeply and look to God and His promises.
In Him, I find that I’m His precious creation, loved and valued more than I can possibly understand.
Do you know, beloved? So are you.
Colossians 3:12-15 “Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”