Seeing Lana for the first time was one of those heart-stopping, hold-your-breath kind of moments. We were both new students at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago when I saw her during an orientation event on the plaza.
(This was way back in August 2000, forever ago—before the towers fell, the endless wars, the death of journalism—when everything still hummed with possibility, and we lived offline instead of behind curated profiles and glowing screens.)
I was immediately drawn to her magnetic presence. Terrific smile, long flowing hair, flashing blue eyes. I complemented her shirt (it was a Pez dispenser) and we exchanged a few words. I don’t remember the whole conversation, but she stuck in my mind—eager, buoyant, full of life, excited to talk with anyone, and absolutely gorgeous. Three days later I emailed my youngest sister that I’d met the woman I would someday marry.
It would be a couple years before we starting dating. I was certain she was out of my league (this remains a universally agreed upon truth) but God was gracious to me and when I proposed she said yes.
We’ve been married for eighteen years today.
“Buoyant” is one of the most enduring ways I’ve described my wife over the years. It was true in her personality on that first encounter—she was bouncy, eager, and hopeful in her demeanor. In time I have come to see that the outward expression is a reflection of her inward character. Think of a wave crashing over a buoy in open water. It disappears below the surface, but then emerges: fresh, crisp, and bright.
This life is beset by storms and waves—disappointment, pain, loss. Through all of it I am thankful that Lana Shaw perpetually aims upward. No matter what circumstance, attack, oppression, uncertainty comes, she rises again.
The other side of the buoy metaphor is the hidden anchor. What is it that keeps the buoy from washing away and disappearing into lost oblivion? A steel cable connects it to a heavy concrete anchor at the bottom of the sea floor. That solid rock is what makes all the difference.
As a husband, I see Lana’s anchor every day. I see her pursuit of God, her thirst for righteousness, and her daily surrender to higher things. It makes all the difference.
I could go on, but I’ll end here: I’m thankful!
I’m thankful for Lana as a person, as a fellow traveler toward the light, as my lovely wife, a terrific parent, and an excellent communicator, leader, and creative image-bearer of God.
Lana, I love you. So thankful for the years behind and the years ahead. Happy anniversary!
(She’s still out of my league. Honk if you agree.)