September 15, 2021


Twenty years ago today these two got engaged!  On the Saturday after the 9/11 attacks.  And truly their love gave hope to us all during that tragic week.  This photo of Patrick and Julia was made during Christmas week of 2001 as they were finalizing plans for their wedding the following May. I’m thankful they got together!

They had discussed marriage and Patrick was waiting for just the right moment to surprise her with an official proposal.  He’d gotten an engagement ring and decided he’d bring Julia to Columbia for the weekend.  I was already working in Nashville and still going back to Columbia every few weeks.  I told him I’d be there if they wanted to come for the September 15 weekend.

Tuesday was 9/11.  By the next day Patrick called to ask if he should postpone.  I encouraged him to continue as planned—reminding him that their engagement would bring us hope and joy.  That Friday I drove on mostly isolated highways to Savannah, Georgia, for a business meeting.  After the morning meeting I went to a noon prayer service at the historic Independent Presbyterian Church there. Cities and towns throughout the country held noon prayer services that day.

On Saturday, Patrick, Julia and I went to lunch at local favorite Rush’s Hamburgers.  As prearranged with him, I then announced I had some errands to run and left.  Later that afternoon he gave me a call that I could come home and that she had said yes. Happy 20th engagement day anniversary, you two!

When Heather and Paul married in October, 2004, this was the cover of their wedding program.

Paul’s artist brother David drew the birds.  Emily Dickinson wrote the poem.  Hope sings on.

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