Today, my lovely wife Gail and I celebrate 15 years of marriage as we received the Sacrament of Matrimony on Saturday, July 8, 2000 at St. Paul Parish in Richmond on a beautiful and sunny day.
On our 15th wedding anniversary, here are 15 things I’ve learned about through marriage; they are all essential aspects of our union. This isn’t an exhaustive list, and some of the things might not ring true for other couples.
But these are things that I believe we hold true and dear to our hearts. Some of these things I’ve learned directly from Gail, other things more indirectly. She may have even learned a thing or two from me. And we’ve learned many of these things together as a couple.
It was 12 years ago today, on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 that I replaced Father (now Bishop) Mark Hagemoen as the Director of the Office of Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese of Vancouver. I was excitable, passionate, and eager to learn. And I had no idea what the Lord had in store for me.
As an aside, I can’t really remember why I started on a Tuesday and not the Monday prior. Maybe it had to do with my former employer PricewaterhouseCoopers. Or perhaps it had to do with staffing issues at the Archdiocese. But I digress.
I inherited a staff consisting of Gerard Garcia, Pat Gillespie, Analyn Perez, and Rob Mascitti. We quickly hit it off, as I knew all of them reasonably well – and in Gerard’s case, very well – through my involvement with the archdiocese while I was serving as the parish youth ministry coordinator at St. Paul Parish in Richmond.
What impressed me right away was the dedication and commitment that the staff had to their work and their ministry. It truly was a dream job to be paid to do what I loved: youth ministry!
At my recent stay with my family at the Great Wolf Lodge indoor waterpark in Grand Mound, WA, I was quite fascinated by the lifeguards. They were extremely disciplined in their approach, almost robotic. They would scan the giant wave pool width-wise then length-wise, shooting their eyes across the pool and then down alongside the near wall. Often, they would use their hand to point at what they were looking at and their necks were always moving from side to side.
Admittedly, I was slightly amused at the first lifeguard I observed. Her movement seemed unnatural and forced. In chatting with a few of the lifeguards throughout my three days there (and watching the Great Wolf Lodge episode of Undercover Boss…haha) I gained a greater appreciation for their disciplined routine and of course, their important role overall.
Much like lifeguards, we youth ministers are in the business of saving lives as well. While we may not have to jump into a pool or ocean (although it’s very possible), we’ll certainly be called on to help a young person who is drowning spiritually.