A little detour off the Holy Land Pilgrimage for a minute…
I wanted to write for a moment about the hero in my life: my husband. January 11 is our 18th wedding anniversary. He is kind of an unsung hero: I don’t talk about him very much, and I don’t write about him very often. He’s quiet and doesn’t draw attention to himself.
It’s common to hear things like “I love my husband because he accepts me for who I am.” My husband is a different kind of husband–he doesn’t accept me for who I am. He knows who I am–he knows the bad: my anger, my hurts, my bitterness, my unforgiving, my negativity. He knows the good parts too. But he doesn’t accept me for who I am; he encourages me to be better than who I am. Sometimes it’s more than encouragement–sometimes it’s more like wrestling. He tells me what I need to hear in his blunt way–and I resist and struggle and, as I mature, I increasingly see that he’s usually right. He’s made me a better person.
I’m proud of him. He is very smart–he has an Ph.D. in organic chemistry (the class med students love to hate). He provides well for his family, and he’s a great father to our two children. He wasn’t born a Lutheran, but he’s caught up amazingly quickly, and he has an innate sense for good theology. He delivered our daughter on the bedroom floor because she came into the world before the midwife got there–all without panicking (though when I said I could feel her head crowning, he said “No, you can’t.”). 🙂 He is patient with me, the impatient and easily dissatisfied redhead, and always encourages me to slow down.
We’ve had lots of adventures together. When we first started out, we lived in a 400 sq. foot apartment on less than $15,000/year (typical grad student), while I went to nursing school, and he worked six days a week, 12 hours a day. We braved the cold Minneapolis winters for a postdoctorate position, and then moved thousands of miles away to San Diego for a real job. We’ve had two kids (only one on the bedroom floor), most of our grandparents passed away, Mark’s mom passed away, we’ve bought two houses, and have moved several times. We’ve been river rafting, zip lining, lots of camping, hiked past a mama bear and her two cubs in a national park, saw jazz and alligators (“This is America, son”) in New Orleans, walked the Liberty Trail in Boston, ate sourdough bread in San Francisco, and most recently, went to Israel to see where Jesus walked and Jordan for some great historical sites.
He’s my best friend. Ever since we’ve been together, it’s always been so wonderful that for awhile there, I was just waiting for something bad to happen. I didn’t think I was allowed to be this happy for so long in my life. And yet, here we are, eighteen years later. I love you, Mark.