Thursday, August 14, 2008
Yes, that's me. And my incredibly handsome husband. Excuse me while I go grab a box of tissues because I really didn't think I'd get this emotional one line into my post. I didn't expect to get emotional at all, other than happy little tingles of joy.
So, there we are, nine years ago on our wedding day. Ten years ago since we first met.
Did you ever fall in love with a voice? Have you ever felt a stirring in your heart and known that something special was about to happen and yet still have it take you completely by surprise? Ten years ago this man called the dental office I was working at to change his appointment at the last minute. Normally that would really torque me off; do you know how hard we worked to keep that schedule full? But...there was something about that voice; part of it was how apologetic he was, part of it was something whispering in my ear, "There's something special about that man, and he is going to be a part of your life." I brushed it aside. I was thirty, single, back in school to prepare myself with a degree I could support myself on for life. I wasn't looking for anything, let alone silly romantic notions about voices on the phone.
My coworkers didn't agree. One of my best friends had taken the initial call from him, and I guess something (God?) also whispered in her ear. From the moment he walked in the door when he finally showed up for his appointment he had a target on him "Potential future mate for our coworker." Bullseye!
What can I tell you about this man, the one who will always and forever hold my heart?
He would deny it, but he is a romantic at heart. What other man would call up his best friend after one date and spend two hours talking about the woman he had just met? He knew right away, it took me a little longer to really get it.
He is incredibly patient. Our year of dating and first year of marriage were not easy. I was in school full time and working 25 hours a week. Busy doesn't begin to describe me. The other night I had a nightmare that I was back doing that again and once again discovered I had a test coming up that I hadn't even read the chapters for (I also dreamed that I'd completely forgotten to even show up for the class...all semester). It takes a patient man to put up with that. It takes a patient man to put up with some of the stuff I've put him through over the years. Hey honey? Let's move to South Dakota! And oh, by the way, could you finish out the basement in our house so we can have it on the market two months from now?
He can be creatively thoughtful. One night while we were dating I was up late trying to write a paper, or something that required computer time. Not having my own computer I had worked out an agreement with my boss to be able to use the computer at work (only one block from my house). On that particular night I was frustrated. At 11:00 I called him to vent my frustrations and my exhaustion. At midnight someone knocked on the window. Did I freak out? Ummm, YEAH! Large empty dental office, midnight, silence, tired...what do you think? But when I finally worked up the courage to look, there he stood, smiling in at me, dangling chocolate therapy (i.e. - Reese's Cups) in one hand.
He is the reason I got a B in Macroeconomics. How was I supposed to pay attention in such a ridiculously boring class when all I could think about was him? The professor could be droning on about economic trends and my mind was off dreaming about that smile that you see in that picture above. Macroecon will forever be linked to happy thoughts about my husband.
Oh, and then there was my insatiable craving for Slurpees when I was pregnant with Indy. Easy enough when we lived in Virginia, barely five minutes from a 7-11. Not so easy when we moved to South Dakota where there are NO 7-11's! I'm not sure how long he spent driving around trying to find an acceptable substitute on the night I thought I had to have a Slurpee or I'd die. Now, of course, imitation Slurpees can be found all over the place, but he had to WORK to find me even a pale semblance of one that night.
I kid you not when I say that out of all the men alive, I got the best. He's hardworking. He does laundry. He helps with the cleaning. When I was working tax season hours sometimes he cooked (ok, he's not that great at that...a small flaw). He encourages me to take nights out with my friends, he never complains about watching the boys, he changed diapers and held babies in the middle of the night. He loves me patiently and completely even through my struggles with depression. He never argues with me even when we disagree; he might roll his eyes, but never feels the need to prove me wrong. He is the sort of guy that everyone likes, quiet, dependable, comfortable; he never needs to overshadow anyone.
I spent a lot of years wondering what love was. I spent the past nine years trying to figure out why this wonderful man picked ME, out of all the women in the world. I know, he said he fell in love with my smile and my eyes, but something's kept him around, right? What is love? Why me? I'm learning to stop questioning and just accept it. He loves me just because. Because he sees the gifts in me that I don't see. Because he knows that God has linked our hearts from the very beginning. He just loves me.
I don't deserve it. How many times have I wished I were a better wife? When you struggle with depression you sometimes feel like you've cheated your spouse out of the person they thought they were marrying. And yet, he loves me. I could give him a thousand reasons why he shouldn't love me and yet I think he'd keep on loving me. He gives me just a taste of how much Christ loves his bride, the church.
So here we are, nine years and counting. Happy Anniversary, hon. (I need a nickname for him too, I guess.) I love you, always and forever.
(P.S. - Don't look for a card; do you really think that for $4.50 Hallmark is going to top this?)
Sunday, August 10, 2008
When I was younger I often had periods of panic attacks. Lying in bed in the middle of the night I struggled to take in a breath, my brain not getting the signal from the lungs that all was well. Terrified. Darkness weighting down my chest. Desperate for air I would sit up in bed, every fiber of my being straining to take it in, to have it make its way to my lungs. Minutes could seem like hours while I waited for my body to realize that everything was ok, that I was breathing in and out, that the world was returning to normal. I spent one summer in college sleeping on my roommate's bean bag chair because I couldn't sit up in my loft bed and the attacks were particularly frequent that summer. Sleeping in the chair, sometimes waking and wandering the campus and surrounding neighborhood at one in the morning; I was desperate for air.
We live in a world that is desperate for air. Drowning, flailing, and grasping at anything that seems to offer what they need. We have hope to offer them. We breathe in the air of the presence of God; we breathe it in and know the peace that only he can bring. Take a deep breath. Now hold it. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. Do you see where I'm going with this? We can't breathe in without breathing back out. If we don't breathe out, if our lives don't exude the presence of God with every breath that goes out from us not only do we deprive those around us of the air that they need, we deprive ourselves of the next breath, and the next, and the next.
I was lost. I was desperate for air. As God's presence fills my life with his hope and his peace, I want to breathe it out again to the next person, and the next, and the next, and the next.
He is the air I breathe.