The Story of Us: Intro

The very first time I saw that face I both wanted to punch him and kiss him.  I did neither.  Although.  With that grin?  I’m not entirely sure that he would have minded either…or both.  He stood in his worn “Kansas” sweatshirt, staring off the balcony, watching me drive in, teasing me.  I’d been lost and driving for a couple hours and was about to pee my pants for wanting to finally meet him!  I. had. no. patience.

And then – that smile, mischievous and warm. His pale blue eyes, almost turquoise, grinned more than his mouth.  I parked and walked up to him, unsure of my footing for the jitters I had inside.  The ocean breeze swept by us both and I’m not sure it’s ever let go.

We were pen-pals before we’d ever met.  Our meeting was perhaps as random as it was far-fetched.  Or not.  Different areas of the country, different careers, no common denominators, except one.  (Thanks for the intro, cousin!)  We’d been writing for a month when we met.  I think I jumped out of my chair when I first found out that he’d be in Florida.  I said, “maybe” when he asked if I’d come see him.  Maybe.  I had gooseflesh all over.  I wasn’t going to go out of my way to meet this guy, or was I?  I didn’t sleep that night.

To describe our dating days, I think I need to look up every synonym for electric. Sleeping, eating, everything was up-ended.  I remember nothing so much as the buzzing giddiness that I felt, all the time.  It was the most torturous and lovely time of my life.  We fell hard and before I knew it, the pieces of our lives were rapidly rearranging themselves with the speed of embryonic cells, splitting, merging, replicating, a mess of the old becoming the new.

I got his first email in Janurary 2005. The first sentence made me laugh aloud in my tiny pink apartment in Jacksonville.

I already was on alert that this homeschooled-bad-ass would write, and I wasn’t looking forward to it.  How could anyone fit that bill?  Anyone?  He’d just be another guy. …another guy I’d need to push away.  I had my defenses ready.  But he came in a door that I didn’t know I had.  “Hi, I’m 6’2.”

Wha…..?

Really?  Who does that?!  Who introduces himself like that?

This guy.

And just like that, prayers I’d uttered since my teens, were being heard, their answer grabbing hold of me wether I was ready or not.

Within seven months of meeting, I’d be his wife, throwing a stick of butter his way in the kitchen.  He ducked.

Thankfully he didn’t only talk about his height!  We discussed favorite books, beliefs, our histories.  I knew his mind before I ever saw his 6’1″ frame.

Our wedding night he leaned over and whispered in my ear, calling me his wife.  Beneath our booth at dinner, he ran a hand up my leg.  I promplty slapped it.  “I’m not your wife yet!  You can’t call me that!  What are you doing?!”

“But you are.”  And I was.

Buried in the logistics of his upcoming time away, a move, a new job and wedding planning, I had not taken time to notice that we were pretty much accidentally eloping.  But this…this is a thoroughly ridiculous chapter all to itself.  The whole wedding thing takes a little explaining.

We wed in a jail.  It’s not likely to be whatever crazy thought you might have.  Neither of us have been incarcerated or have a prison ministry.

Our honeymoon was hillariously awful.  (Just plain awful at the time.)  The whole thing was thwarted in more than a few ways.

We thought I might be sterile.  (Despite the time John had to spend away for work, we quickly learned that I wasn’t.)

Just before our first anniversary, our son’s story began. Perfect and cherished, he was born without issue, and yet he was robbed.  The most basic of newborn medical care was neglected.  At 9-days-old our boy, was simply robbed of his abilities to eat, speak, sit, stand, hear, sleep, while being left with a very bright mind inside.

That night in the hospital, the tears nearly swallowed our faces.  As we waited for the elevator to the ICU, the nurse clumsily told us that it was good that we didn’t have any other children.  I know what she meant, how she meant it well.  But her words? The thought?  All the air went out of me.  There would be no other children, not with this broadsword over our heads.

But there were.  There are.  2 girls.  Curly haired and vivacious, they fill our lives with more spirit than we can handle and they indeed are a part of our cup flowing over.  3 kids in a little over four years.  My body might still be recovering.  But they are getting older, much too fast.

There are days when I crumble, and where I have little enough oxygen for myself, let alone my love.  And there are days and moments when those baby blues still capture me, where I remember how we’ve been reconstructed as one.

Our story, it’s not a sad one.  Sadness is only one flavor in a much larger, very savory, dish.  On the pages, or rather in them, we cry and we laugh, and we live…between botched plans and broken expectations we have found life, a very full life with some strong flavors.

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On Father’s Day: Defining Special

When he was looking for his flashlight, she offered him her light-up-shoe.  Surely that would do the job!

My husband, her father – he chose to spend his Father’s Day taking our boy for a night of baseball and camping. We packed all the pieces, the meds, the feeding pump, the diapers, extra cochlear implant batteries…and the camping stuff, flashlight included.

They were beaming!  As I waved goodbye, watching their blue eyes alight and their smiles spread wide, it took me back.

Fatherhood has looked different for John, and its taken some time to settle into the different.  At first we couldn’t even lay eyes on typically developing children without being torn in two, feeling every inch of the chasm between what they have and what our future could hold, our boys future.

Thankfully this has faded with time, but we still have our moments.

A few weeks ago I took the video posted below at a school event.  I can’t say that we felt like rock star parents on this particular day.  We were both worn down and feeling the gap.  (Sometimes navigating a crowd with a wheelchair and arms askew can tug somewhere deep, pulling you down.)

That’s where we were.  Bouncy castles, snow cones, and happy kids circled round and I couldn’t fight off a heavy heart.

And then. Then I heard the powering down beep of the pump and the unmistakable snaps of buckles being undone. John was taking our boy out of his chair.  He was asking the school principal if he would spot him.

Was he sure?  I hadn’t dreamed he would even try this one. How on earth?!?!  Forget my brooding.  Whispered prayers for safety shoved that nonsense out-of-the-way. The boys were doing the big obstacle bouncy thingy.

I watched, barely breathing, taking it all in, eyes welling up.  (Thankfully, my fears were unfounded.)

There is magic here.  It was at it’s full potency in person, and it carries in the pixels.  The smile, the laughter, the connection with our boy – it’s touches your soul and pulls you upward to a place where words fall short.

It may be dark.  We may be groping about.  We may not have a flashlight. Maybe we hold nothing more than a light-up-shoe bouncing shards of light about the place, but here, right where we are, we pull close and we have this.  We have each other.

A Special Decade: Square Up

I’m rounding off a decade this summer.  A decade of being a mother and of being a “special” (fancy, huh?) one at that.  Over the next few months I’m going to share a few thoughts on what I’ve been able to see in these past ten years.

___________

At 11-years-old, I was already 6 feet tall.   You heard me right, six feet.  Aside from dozens of height related nicknames, that meant one thing.  Basketball.

You cannot, may I repeat, cannot be this tall without having kids randomly proclaiming, “You are TALL!!!” and adults forever asking “Where you play ball?” and “How tall are you?” or better yet, talking to each other about your height as if you don’t hear them.  And there were the occasional folks that took it upon themselves to tell me how short or tall any man in my life should be, as if the height problems of the world lay squarely upon my shoulders.

Seriously?

(If you are worried about laughing here…go right on ahead.  I do. My tall family does.  My short friends do.  It’s cool.  These strangers didn’t impact my self esteem or choice of spouse.  No offense taken.)

It’s funny – seeing the way obvious things just flow out of peoples mouths.

But that’s not my point here.  I digress.

So maybe the height questions didn’t shape me too much, but they did eventually make me curious enough to try basketball.

I made my way over to basketball tryouts, and I made the team and played for a few years.    Today I had a flashback to those sweltering days in the gym.

Every shot, every pass, every everything was about focusing your body, your hips, your shoulders, your eyes where you wanted the ball to go, even after releasing the ball.

I spent many an hour in the driveway practicing, squaring up to the goal, how to follow through.

_____________

When the word “special” came into my life, I ran smack dab into a wall of expectations.  My goals and my abilities flew in two different directions.  It was no game, but the physics of life just didn’t seem to work anymore.

Goals are good.  Focusing is good.  But was focusing on our loss good, focusing on the heartache?  I had to do this to some extent – to work through it, to lay it at Jesus’ feet.  But what then?  How was I to learn to live right where I was. This was a new game entirely…with one common fundamental – the ball would follow my aim.

Expectations are marks we predeterime on a shifting planet.   By the time we reach them, they are rarely the right target (or anywhere within our proximity).  Things that seem so good for us are more like prancing ghosts, sirens, taking you from the real life-giving goals.

At some point, continuing to focus on my old expectations was like throwing a skeet ball across an arcade.  (Why does that make me chuckle?)

No matter if it’s the hijacked honeymoon or “special” coming into your life – the expectations (not the circumstances) are the things that make you miserable.  Expect a marriage without fighting.  Expect a baby that sleeps through the night. Expect a seamless job transition. Expect the easy path and you will always find yourself in angst.  Ann Voskamp says “Expectations are the death of relationships.”  I didn’t hear that until 8 years into this journey and it shook me.  It said it all.  My expectations had been killing me, robbing me of my joy and keeping me completely off target.

At some point when you are lost at sea, you have to throw aside the shock that this happened to Y O U and start surviving, start noticing the gifts.  Ann’s book “One Thousand Gifts” has been an in-the-water-teacher for my soul.

I did count.  I wrote down, on paper one thousand gifts.  I didn’t do it in a day or a week.  It took some serious time, but I did it.  And it changed me.  The gifts were always there, but I didn’t always see them.  Counting gifts helped me recalibrate.  Somewhere along the way, I looked up to see that I was playing on my home court (my “new normal”).   I was playing where I’d been placed, aiming my energy through the right hoop, not one 3 courts over where I thought I’d be.

On the night he was betrayed, “he took bread, gave thanks and broke it.” Luke 22:19

There is always occasion to give thanks.  Always.

 

On Survival, Bandaids, and Broomsticks

My 6-year-old, M, cut her hand last night.  No big deal.  Nothing stitch worthy.  Sure, it was a little deeper than most cuts my kids get, but insignificant – to me.

Well…I guess she did have {gasp} actual blood and {double gasp} it even DRIPPED!  I suppose you should know that for 4 and 6-year-old girls, or at least these two, this means shrieking, crying, yelling and running around the house in sheer terror.  Sheesh!  You’d have thought she lost her hand!  I double checked.  Their brother may have laughed…but I kept my straight face.  The screaming was enough to keep me sober, or maybe yell myself.  Thankfully, my ever-practical-4-year-old didn’t just scream, but ran to the rescue her sister, retrieving a bandaid.

But Oh M!  Perhaps because of the pain and trial she’s seen her brother go through (one particular surgery had a very rough recovery a few years back), or hey – maybe it’s just personality, (her mom does have a little flare for drama), but whatever the reason, the girl looses almost all reason when facing, shots, cuts, pain of any kind.   My M can be down-right combative with the slightest injury, or perception of one.  I imagine this crazy train is driven by her fear of pain unstopping or worsening pain , and I know it can be dangerous too.  I wince to think of what will happen if she’s ever seriously injured.

This time, thankfully, the sight of the all-healing {ta-da!} bandaid calmed her down enough.  M took the bandaid as I pealed her fingers from the broom situated between her legs. (I’m not sure what magical game she was playing when she cut herself, but throughout the whole debacle she never let go of the broom.  I’m pretty sure she had no idea she was clutching it.)

This morning, panic took over again.  M COULD NOT let me replace her bandaid, but it was her idea.  She desperately wanted me to.  {And let’s all take a moment here to laugh at the idea of a child begging you to do something and running from you at the same time.  We would never do such a thing, right?}  So, I pulled out my mother-of-a-panicking-6-year-old-manual and I told her what I’ve been reading, you know, – about a solider being lost at sea, starving, fighting off sharks…because this totally relates to a 6-year-old-all-hands-on-deck-emergency.

It does.

I tell her how the starving men lost at sea focused their minds on other things, how panic brought them closer to death, but controlling their minds, thinking of other things, meant survival.  Surprisingly, nothing magical happened here.  She and her soggy bandaid took the story with them as they dressed for school.

Later, she came back…with a bagel (in her non-mangled hand, mind you).  She announced that I could now remove the bandaid.  I asked what changed, and M proudly told me that she knew how to control her mind.  She was going to think about eating her yummy bagel (and actually eat it) it while I took her bandaid off.  Her idea worked…even {miracle of miracles} when I had to pull out the scissors, panic was kept at bay.

Bandaid changed.

My child has conquered fear

…with a bagel.

No. Big. Deal.

And somewhere in there – somewhere in the unwrapping of little fingers from a broom and trashing a soggy bandaid…or…okay okay, maybe just now, I realize that this thing I’ve been trying to put my fingers on for weeks was right in front of me.

I watched the 60 minutes interview about “Unbroken” weeks ago.  I was mesmorized listening to the survivors talk.  One POW told of watching a local woman get beheaded on the spot – for offering him a sip water.  The same man said that – from the start you could tell who would make it on the first day.  It had everything to do with their outlook.  The POW spoke of how the more negative captives would become depressed.  As their mind gave in, their bodies followed.  They became sick and never lived much long after.

I have close friendships with many other families living with kernicterus, loss, disability, wounded veterans, life-scars…you name it.

Although these hold nothing up to the experience of living in captivity, being tortured daily – there is no helping the fear, the anger, the grief that comes with these losses, especially in the initial and intense stages of these things.

I’ve wondered how anyone would ever want to read my son’s story.

Kernicterus (this happened to my son as a result of mismanaged newborn jaundice) stories are particularly tragic as they are an easily preventable mistake (i.e. – a dollar blood test that wasn’t done, a treatment light that wasn’t turned on, a bad judgement call based on skin color) that comes with a lifetime of hardship (hearing loss, cerebral palsy, inability to care for self, speak, eat, control movement etc), and it happens all too often, sometimes with a cover-up.  I know how blinding anger is, how isolating the fear could be, even when you have no idea that it’s heaped upon your back.

I also know of the different kind of joy that can grow in the valley, when the anger lifts, when the fear is laid down (a continual process that I have by no means perfected.)  In God’s grace, I take lessons – sometimes on the hillside, sometimes in the valley.

There is something in how you tell a story, how you live it.

The reviews of the movie “Unbroken” reminded me of this.   I read reviews that said things like: “suffering, suffering, and more suffering,” with “all of the suffering but none of the humanity,” and “It plays like an endless, unrelieved gauntlet of suffering, an onslaught untempered by grace or redemption.” Ouch!

But the book – I can’t put it down.  It doesn’t focus on the drudgery, the pain, but on the actual act of surviving…and this – I’m inspired by this!

Who truly lives? Truly survives?

The best stories ever written have unspeakable loss, but that’s never the end.

There is that thing, that…that thing.  What is that thing?

Does your story have it?  We all have loss, but do we survive?

How is it that we release the broom, let the bandaid come?

On Flight of the Cormorant (Florida)

Untidy Inspiration from Rich Mullins

As an enthusiast of the untidy but inspired – I’ve recently realized that I’m a fan of the late Rich Mullins.

Rich’s is the story that will put your through the gamut of emotions and had you walking away better for it, maybe helping you embrace the art in your own mayhem.

My husband and I watched the “Awesome God guy’s” story (Ragamuffin) on New Years Eve.  Ever since I can’t stop reading about the guy.  The barefoot, smoking, cussing, stumbling, scruffy-poet-of-a-dude lived a life of surrender, giving up almost all he had.  My kind of guy, my kind of story!

His lyrics have an unprocessed beauty that takes my breath away, and they come back so easily.  I realize now that I had most of them memorized. They meant something to me, even as an 8-year-old in sweats wandering the bookstore.  At the time, I had no idea that his story was so….so honest, how much struggle was behind the scenes.  The words more now, much more.  They hit home.

In short, recommend it.  I highly recommend reading, hearing, watching, the untidy stories of people who found triumph and trial and failure and perseverance. …and I’m pretty sure I recommend living in that kind of grace too.

“I had a professor one time… He said, ‘Class, you will forget almost everything I will teach you in here, so please remember this: that God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and He has been speaking through asses ever since. So, if God should choose to speak through you, you need not think too highly of yourself. And, if on meeting someone, right away you recognize what they are, listen to them anyway’.” – Rich Mullins

“So go out and live real good and I promise you’ll get beat up real bad. But, in a little while after you’re dead, you’ll be rotted away anyway. It’s not gonna matter if you have a few scars. It will matter if you didn’t live.” – Rich Mullins

Hold me Jesus – Rich Mullins

Well, sometimes my life
Just don’t make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small 

CHORUS:
So hold me Jesus, ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace 

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It’s so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart 

CHORUS 

Surrender don’t come natural to me
I’d rather fight You for something
I don’t really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I’ve beat my head against so many walls
Now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees 

And this Salvation Army band
Is playing this hymn
And Your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin 

CHORUS 

You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace

The movie Ragamuffin is on Netflix and there are many great Rich Mullins and Brennan Manning books on Amazon.

We need Glue

Across facebook and text messaging and calls she reaches out, across 1,000 miles.
Over a decade ago our friendship began, mile by mile.  I gave her rides around campus in my little faded blue 1980-something diesel mercedes, the one that sometimes wouldn’t shut off (how can a car have SO much character!?).  I shared “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and my passion for THE Blues.  She shared her tales of almost burning down her dorm with a cooking experiment.  We giggled together as she told me about meeting the man that would become her husband.  We were fun…so fun, and we had fun.
Now she calls, reaching out in the dark.
We share something different now.
The diagnosis isn’t there.  Her baby doesn’t smile, doesn’t look at her, he has “failed to thrive,” nutrition a daily battle.  The specialists are starting to pile up.  And she reaches across long dark miles to ask, “Will it get better?” “Will I always be so sad?” There is a new monster and she can’t even see it’s face, know it’s game.  She apologizes for sending such a depressing note, and I ache.
My words fall out on the keyboard…
Oh friend!
It is hard…and surrendering to the moment, to the uncertainty, to the different…it’s a grieving process with ups and downs. I heard someone say recently that they wanted to know that the light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t an oncoming train.  It feels like that.  Don’t apologize.  It’s real and it hurts and it’s okay. David wrote dark psalms too…dark prayers.  Just keep praying and know that He WILL give you faith to see joy beyond your the expectations that you didn’t know you had.  Joy comes in the morning friend, and the morning does come. I love you friend!
I finish and then my own day comes down heavy…the friend I accidentally walked all over by mistaking her text for someone else’s (long story), the call from the hospital about growing concerns with my boys hips (when kids don’t walk the hip joints often don’t grow the right way), and this might be the reason he passed out last week when we were stretching him. The nursing changes left me with a massive headache…and mainly the longing to kick everyone OUT of my house…everyone I depend on, all the help, the therapists, the nurses.  I love them dearly – they are friends, but I long to NOT NEED them…to just be just my kids and I, to be independent, to parent without other eyes on me for at least parts of the day, to discover what kind of mother I am when I’m – just me.  I can’t explain it all.  It’s ugly, and it’s desperate, but at the end of the day it leaves me torn…not wanting to face the day, not one more day, not wanting to need the Jesus that does “all things well.”
And I know that for my friend and I both…hope isn’t a one time fix. Faith isn’t answered in one question.  Hope and faith come in these exercises…in this desperation, in the outcry, in this battle, every single day.
He is faithful…forever faithful, and in the valley we can see him rescue more than we ever ever could in the days in that 80’s mercedes. But we can’t close him out…we can’t kick him out. We need to know our need…to speak it.
And today is new, and not quite so desperate. I’m still tired.  I lock myself in the office for the morning that hubbs gives me a break before work…and my M…she tells me like this “we need glue.”
Yes we do, darlin. Over and over again.  Lord give us the glue.
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Loving Big in the the Little

At the Allume 5-minute-friday hosted by Love Dare, we were asked:  When was the last time you loved big?  This was the response I read for open mic night.

It came in the frayed hour after bedtime.  The minions were not in bed.  It had been out. of. control. Paint splattered across the kitchen.  The floor scattered with 100’s of pieces of paper, my four-year-old yelling “You Fool!” (where does she get this stuff?)

I could. not. take. it. anymore.

M snuggled close, and with tears rolling down told me,

“I never knew a 4-year-old could be such a threat. I never knew.”

She told me how hard it was to have a brother and a sister.

How she doesn’t like it when her brother hits her in the face or pulls her hair [this is involuntary from his athetoid cerebral palsy], how her little sister is too much, how life is too hard, how difficult life is for her.

And yeah, you might think it’s no biggie, she’s only 6. But 6 or 60, your heart, your inner struggle, is no less important.

The words sting, and I wonder, what do I have left?  Lord, I’m owed some mindless TV, right about now, right?

Just when I thought the last drop of me was squeezed out, He poured more in. She cuddled close.

Loving wasn’t in talking away her concerns.

Love was in the listening.

Love was in the silence, in the holding.

in the little things comes big love.

Loving her filled, and in the filling I loved.

When Jaundice Pushed a Boy into a Wheelchair

He’d been born healthy there.  All was well, but his future was altered there, in that place.  At 3 weeks old, they didn’t roll my seven pound baby out of the hospital in a wheelchair,

…but they might as well have.

Thus began our journey from “was” to “is.”

It’s long. It’s ongoing, and the journey is not all bad, but it sure does take everything we have.

Today, I have the honor of sharing our story over at a friend Aprille’s blog, Beautiful in His Time.

Join me?  

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An Ikea Serenade: 10 years

30 ROCK -- "Hey, Baby, What's Wrong?" Episodes 605/606 -- Pictured: James Marsden as Criss -- Photo by: Ali Goldstein/NBC

30 ROCK — “Hey, Baby, What’s Wrong?” Episodes 605/606 — Pictured: James Marsden as Criss — Photo by: Ali Goldstein/NBC

The serenade.  It saved a rough 10-year-anniversary.

I’m not going to leave you with any illusions here.  We post fun pictures.  We laugh, but moving cross-country with our whole lives up in the air, it wasn’t easy on the ol’ marriage.

But thankfully we are now in our house.  We are starting to settle.  And we aren’t the only ones that just moved into town.  IKEA just rolled in too.

Our 10th Anniversary arrived the week after we moved.

That first day that we got the kids all in school – IKEA…it beckoned, and we marched right on over.  Thus the trouble began.

Our anniversary had been the day before.  I’d played it cool.  I was mature.  I let the little things slide.  But now, now the idea that he hadn’t gotten me a gift – it nagged.

Even when you are trying hard not to feel let down, not to compare, not to expect, it creeps round every corner and nags from crevices you didn’t know existed.

I couldn’t blame him.  I hadn’t done much more (…and he has had an awesome surprise or two up his sleeve in the past, so he had some carry-over bonus points, right?), yet somehow I was weaker than the disappointment that kept rising up.

It was an ugly thing and I felt defenseless.  I didn’t see this ending well…

But don’t.  Don’t underestimate my man.

So there we were in that enormous store where NO ONE is overwhelmed.  The sheer meatball-tinged-warehouse-air brings peace and harmony to every couple?

After the cell phone died, after we’d lost each other, after a communication blip about budgeting, on top of my inner-anniversary-turmoil… Somehow, mystery of all mystery (you hear my sarcasm, right?), in that place, I was the one overwhelmed in the corner of the warehouse.

Yep, that was me parking my rear on the concrete floor, in the corner, pulling down my sunglasses.  I’d let it all catch up with me.  I was melting.

That’s when my man opened his mouth.  In his best Russian accent he sang,

“Baby, stop right there.
Let me clear the air.
Baby, look into these eyes.
Let me apologize.
I know what you’re thinking of.
You think, “Where is the love?”
But the love ain’t gone.
It’s here where it belongs.

I know what you’re waiting for.
Well, you don’t need to wait no more.

(chorus)
I can give you anything you want.
Give you anything you need.
I’ll make your dreams come true.
Give you anything you want.
Fulfill your fantasies.
I’ll make your dreams come true.

You want a unicorn?
I’ll give it to you.
You want a puppy dog?
I’ll give it to you.
You want an ice cream cone?
I’ll give it to you.
You want a mortgage loan?
I’ll give it to you.
You want a satin pillow?
I’ll give it to you…..”

It’s a muppets song, okay. But do not, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THIS SONG, FOLKS.

He won my heart all over again!

Didn’t matter that he’d forgotten to get an anniversary gift.  The stress of the week melted into laughter.  This guy!  This guy is never afraid to make a fool of himself.  There he was, telling me that he’d like to buy me that chair I wanted….but I’d kinda been too pouty to hear him until he said it in his muppet voice.

Sometimes you just need the muppet voice to fully understand the situation, right?

Here’s to the man who is unafraid to live out loud, to speak light into the dark corners, and here is to the moments where we put aside the grumpiness, the sad things, and just let go and laugh!

Praise God for 10 years of defying the odds together!

Between

She kindles the fire in the cold, patches the walls, keeps the cold at bay, keeps fingers warm and cozy…and there is always something breaking, some place where the cold is creeping in, around the corners, through the stitches, in the cracks.  It’s a thankless job, and some days it bears more repetition than a mind can take.

He fights the fires.  There is the danger, the heat he keeps at bay. Daily he carries the burden of their families safety, of their welfare.  The fire, it comes unbidden over and over again.  He dawns the suit, he uses the same tools, and he fights the flames down.

Between them they are husband and wife, but you could almost forget it.  You could almost wonder how.  When first-love came, the cold wasn’t so fierce, the fires more rare.  …or maybe they were just smaller in comparison?  No. They were less, much less.

Now keeping everyone safe, safe from frostbite, safe from burns…it takes every minute, every breath.  It takes every bit of the livelong day, and he and she – they are somehow wearing too many layers at days end.  They are more rough around the edges.  And where?  Where is there space and time for the two to be one?  A place wide enough?  A place narrow enough?

Only in the shelter.  They could never stay long.  The path had to be forged again and again – always obstacles in the way.  It wasn’t with planning, it wasn’t with ease, it wasn’t ever often enough.  But it was there.  If they laid aside their comfort, their own ease, their protective layers, they could squeeze through the dense forest of life and find it, the shelter, a bare space between – where two can be one.

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