As I write these words, I’m anticipating a 25th wedding anniversary trip with my wife Jan. We’d originally planned to celebrate the big number with a trip to Mexico, but something called H1N1 put the quietus on that. So, we changed course and will be enjoying a few days on Captiva Island (right), off the Gulf Coast of Florida. It’s one of those places we always wanted to go, and the time has come.

In true celebration of our anniversary, I’m leaving my laptop behind. It’ll be the first time in many moons that I will have gone four days without having its keyboard nearby, ready for finger-dictation. Sorry, Mac, on this trip I’ll be answering to a higher calling.

As I look forward to a few lovely days with Jan, free of child care, dog care and work, I’m also thinking back on a 20 year anniversary some close friends and I just celebrated. In 1989, a dozen or so preachers decided it would be a good idea to form a support group. It was not long after the movie “Dead Poets’ Society” came out, and we quickly adopted the name “Dead Preachers’ Society.”

Despite the lack of originality, it was a most appropriate name. As we gathered for quarterly meetings and talk sessions, we consciously sought to make our group a safe place where we could shuck the “preacher persona” and relate honestly as real humans with hopes and hurts.

The group has been a life saver for many of us. Several have moved away or dropped out for other reasons, but we are left with seven members who share a special bond 20 years in the making.

For many reasons, I’m a blessed and happy man.

[In the lower photo, that’s David Daly (national leader for FCA Baseball), Mark Hollar (pastor of Abbott’s Creek Missionary Baptist Church), me (not really in pain), and Roger Nix (DOM for Raleigh Baptist Association). Steve Bolton, pastor of Oxford Baptist Church, was taking the picture. Two other members were unable to attend the anniversary gathering.]

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