Tag Archive | commitment

The Promise

23 years. 8401 days. 3 miscarried babies. 3 born babies. 2 dogs, 2 cats, numerous fish, 3 hermit crabs and a bird. 8 vehicles. 2 apartments—one in California, one in Florida. 2 houses. Too many bikes to count. 1 husband. Together, beating the odds.

I’m glad I keep a journal, because I have written recordsc0079bb1f of so much that’s gone on in those 8401 days. 34 days before that count started, though, I wrote about what I thought the promises were that I’d be making that March 2nd day 23 years ago. Here’s what I said:

“The main thing I think I’m committing to is knowing him better than anybody else, and always being there to help make him the best that he can be. I’m promising to search out his innermost thoughts, and to listen carefully. I’m promising to point out his rough spots and to help sand them down, and to polish up his bright spots so they show up even better. I’m promising to let him know that I love him even when it may seem to him that no one else does. I will be his shelter. I’m promising to provide a home for him that is a haven, one he will be loathe to leave and anxious to get back to. I’m promising to reveal myself to him as I do to no one else. To let him point out the rough spots in me that no one else is able or willing to. I’m promising to let him take care of me and thus encourage that nurturing, caring, providing, leading attitude that comes from knowing you are really and truly needed. I’m promising to be the church to his Jesus. And it’s not going to be easy. But it’s going to be worth it.”IMG_3260

Happy anniversary, Hunny. It has definitely not been easy, but it has most definitely been worth it. Here’s to many, many more.

Tandem Living: People Are Watching Us

tandem bike drawingIt never fails: As we’re riding our tandem bike around town, people stare, smile and often comment. Kids especially. They’ve never seen such a thing. One boy exclaimed, “Cool! It’s like two bikes stuck together!” Even construction workers smile at us. There’s something about the retro feeling a tandem bike brings, but I think there’s also the aspect of togetherness that people think is cool. That’s the term we most often hear: Cool.

If, while we were riding along, we suddenly fell into a ditch, or started bickering about which way to go, or stopped altogether and decided not to go on, people would notice. I think what we were doing wouldn’t be seen as quite so cool anymore. Maybe people would decide that riding solo is much better.

We don’t ride our tandem bike to show off to other people. In fact, that has never once entered my mind. “Hey, let’s go take a ride on our tandem so that we can have people think we’re cool and they’ll smile at us and we’ll make them happy.” That would be ridiculous. We ride because we like to do things together, and because it’s fun, and because it’s good exercise.

We didn’t get married so that we could fit into any certain crowd, or get a bunch of gifts, or save on our living expenses. We got married because we love each other and want to spend the rest of our lives with each other, supporting each other, serving each other. We figured we could be better together than we were apart. But the fact is that people see us. If they know we’re followers of Jesus, they’re looking to see if that makes a difference. According to the statistics, it doesn’t make enough of a difference to most. We pray our marriage is different. We’re committed and we have a lot of help, but ultimately, we can’t make it without the grace and hand of God.

We like it when people comment to us when they see us riding our bike. We like to encourage people to give it a try themselves. We’re happy to help people learn how.

Same goes for marriage. We’d be very happy to mentor engaged or newly married couples. We haven’t really gotten a chance to yet, but we figure we might have some things to share after 22 years. Until that time comes, though, we can certainly do all we can to work on our own relationship and make sure we’re keeping away from the ditches. We know others are watching.

Next: Sometimes you have to weather the storms

He asked “Will you?” I answered, “Yes!”

sc0079bb1f The day was June 12, 1990; the place: San Bernardino, Calif. We were anticipating the wedding of a friend a few days later, and then a 7-week separation as David traveled to the former Soviet Union to record several languages of the JESUS film. We had talked about marriage, shopped for rings in an out-of-town mall so no one would see us, and decided to wait until fall and the end of a busy travel schedule. Or so I thought.

But in order to spend a little time together before our separation, we decided to go up to the Arrowhead Springs Hotel, then the headquarters of Campus Crusade for Christ, and enjoy the view and each other. David had arranged to borrow a red-and-white-checked tablecloth from friends, packed a picnic basket with crystal goblets and Martinelli’s sparkling cider, and a book of poetry. As we sat on the back lawn overlooking the city, David, with a bachelor party to attend in a short time, suggested we pray together. We closed our eyes, clasped hands, and prayed for safety in his travels to an unstable part of the world, and for our hearts as we were separated from each other. In the middle of the prayer, David stopped and said, “Hold on a minute, God.” I thought he was getting choked up from the emotion of the moment.

Far from it, apparently. With my eyes still closed, giving him a minute to compose himself, I felt his hand on my chin, lifting my head and encouraging me to open my eyes. He looked into them and said something like, “Will you marry me?”

The rest is just a blur. I think I said “yes” first, and them something about, “I thought we were going to wait,” and then he pulled out the ring and placed it on my finger. Yea!

Now, 23 years later, as I think about what that day meant, I realize that his simple “Will you?” was much more complex than I first thought. By saying yes, I was agreeing that I would be his biggest fan. I would know him better than anybody and allow myself to be known. I would love him best, judge him least. I was agreeing to live 1 Corinthians 13, not keeping a record of wrong, never giving up. sc00863cfeHas it always been easy? No. Has it always been worth it? Unequivocally, yes.

It’s been 23 years, three kids, three miscarriages, two cats, two dogs, numerous fish and crabs, one bird, two apartments, one cross-country move, two houses, one set of parents dying, one set of parents divorcing, his mom moving in, lots of laughter, lots of tears, and always, without fail, a boatload of love and grace and forgiveness.

Happy engagement anniversary, Hunny. I still will.

Thankful today for:

901. history

902. summer break

903. a successful first year of teaching 6th grade

904. the chance to work on Mackinac Island for a few days

905. air travel–even if I don’t like it very much

906. gift cards

907. bike rides

908. family visits

909. possibilities

910. roses