by David & Claudia Arp
March 09th, 2017
We were desperately in love . . . young love, true love, filled with deep emotion. I (Claudia) was a freshman at Maryville College, which was located on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains. I (Dave) was in my second year at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Ga. Two hundred miles apart! But we remember one time when Dave drove up for the weekend. Time for just the two of us! Time to be together.
Slipping away from the college campus, we drove to Cades Cove in the heart of the Smokies. And on that day we visited the past—others’ past. Cades Cove, untouched by “American progress,” is a tribute to the first families who settled there so many years ago. We imagined the young couples, in love and struggling for survival in the beautiful but isolated valley. We stood together in the Primitive Baptist church and talked about how someday, we would speak our marriage vows in the little Methodist church in Ellijay, Georgia, where Claudia grew up.
Now, decades later we revisited Cades Cove. We went back to the Primitive Baptist Church and once again remembered those lovers who went before us. We remembered our own wedding day now so many years ago.
We talked about the future and wondered what the future would hold for our grandchildren. Would they ever experience the quietness and peacefulness of Cades Cove? Our world had become more complicated. Life was anything but primitive. How would they fare? And in the middle of our memories and fears for the future, God spoke to our hearts, Never forget your past; let it enrich your present, but you must trust Me for the future. I am the same, yesterday, today and forever.
And then we began to realize, the future—yet to be written—is in God’s hands. Future generations will have their own unique love stories to write. But the greatest love story of all—God’s love for us—will be the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Each happiness of yesterday is a memory for tomorrow.
GEORGE WEBSTER DOUGLAS