A Trip in the Way-Back Machine

James TaylorBy Deb DeArmond

 

Bald heads, bad comb-overs, and enough bi-focals to start a bonfire. I was among my peeps.

We assembled to watch a music icon take the stage and transport us all to a sweet time in life—our twenties. That’s quite a voyage for most of us, judging from my fellow concertgoers in the event hall.

James Taylor, at age 66, continues to capture our hearts with his songs about love gained and lost, odd characters he’s known, and life in his beloved North Carolina. And I could sing every word without missing a beat. Odd, since I can’t remember where my car keys are most days or the time of my next appointment without consulting the calendar. Even if my last look was only an hour ago.

Music is the ultimate time machine. I hear the first few lines of “You’ve Got a Friend,” and I’m 16 again driving to the beach with a car full of girlfriends or dancing with my first love at the senior prom. Great memories. Good times. Easier times.

Does it happen to you?

I married my first love – my high school sweetheart, 39 years ago this week. Sitting together in that concert was a trip in the way back machine. I remembered how I saw him when we first fell in love. I was reminded how much I appreciate him, how much I love him, and how much I need him. When we first married, a simple look was all the reminder I needed. But years, and kids, and jobs, and broken toilets take their toll. I get caught up in the stuff around me and forget he was the man of my dreams nearly 40 years ago.

He still can be today.

But love and marriage are not feelings. They are choices every day. I must choose to put him before my job, my friends, and myself. I must choose to be patient when he’s on my last nerve, and to be praise him when he’s down – or when he’s rescued me (again) from a flat tire. It’s my choice today—and every day— to honor the choice I made nearly four decades ago.

John the Beloved wrote about first love in the book of Revelation. “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first,” Rev. 2:4 (NLT). First love is tough to maintain, whether you are a new bride or the Bride of Christ.

When I first met Jesus, my desire to spend time with Him was overwhelming, even if it meant skipping an evening with friends. Days without Him felt empty, and without purpose. Bible Study was something to look forward to, because I knew He’d be there.  Really quite similar to those early months of marriage. He’s still the same Jesus. But just as is true in life with my husband, I have been given the choice in my life to remember the Bridegroom. And the more often I choose Him, the greater my desire for Him.

Sweet Baby James took me back to the prom. Sweet Baby Jesus takes me to the Father. Climb aboard the way back machine – it’s the ride of a lifetime.

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