Thursday, February 14, 2008

An Open Letter To My Wife On Valentines Day

February 14, 2008

Dear Debbie,

How in the world do I ever begin to write a letter to tell you how much you mean to me? It is impossible. I cannot begin to do justice to it. God has not created words strong enough, lofty enough, pure enough, for me to begin to tell you what I think and what I feel every time you come to my mind.

We began our lives together as “one” over thirty years ago. I suppose that I very much took you for granted in those days. We were young. Life was full. We had not yet been exposed to the difficulties, the trials, the raw pain that life has to offer. And so we ran through the days with a sort of bliss that is reserved for the young and the in love. And it was good! Our first studio apartment experience was a amazing, wasn’t it! It was our love nest and we were so proud of it. We invited friends over as though we lived in the Taj Mahal! True, we paid the wrong landlord for six months before we found out we were being schnuckered by a crook. But it was not our fault and we moved along and continued life

Tonight, quite unexpectedly, we find ourselves in our second studio apartment. The view is better. The landlord more honest. The heat and the air conditioning actually work! And when we lay down at night, when the lights are turned off, when I hear the gentle sound of your slumber next to me, all is right with the world.

It was “The Days Between The Studio Apartments” that were interesting. They went by so quickly that it is easy to dismiss them, to take them for granted, to forget the complexity and challenge that they brought to our lives.

We produced three incredible children. Our pride in each of them runs deeply and with good cause. They are wonderful people, Debbie. They love God and they serve Him. I know that there were moments when we truly wondered if they would make it. But they did. All three of them. And they are something to behold. When our kids-in-law are added to the mix, along with little Elle, our quiver is full. We are so blessed.

We have served God in five churches, going from Chicago to St. Louis and now Cleveland. Sometimes we have felt loved, sometimes we have felt betrayed, sometimes we have felt ignored. But through every minute of it Jesus Himself has walked by our side. I see no reason to think that He is going to stop now. I know that these days are difficult. You are struggling to find your way down a new career path. We are coming to know and love people in a new church. We live in 360 square feet while we own 1,900 square feet that sits empty and for sale in Illinois. Not all of it makes sense, does it? (Am I the only one confused?!) But we are walking in the imprints of sandaled feet. The Rabbi is leading the way. He is not confused. That honor is reserved for us! But we both know that all we have to do is stay on His path and all will be well.

So this brief letter is to say thank you, my dear bride. Thank you for the wisdom you give, the joy you bring, the thousands of meals you have prepared, the tens of thousands of dishes washed, the shirts ironed, the floors scrubbed, the diapers changed, the tears shed, the prayers prayed, the dreams pursued, the tragedies averted, the tragedies suffered. Thank you for rubbing my back, for kissing my lips, for holding my hand, for wiping my tears, for the wink of an eye, the caress of a cheek, the look deep in your eyes that tells me you would rather be by my side than any place else in the world.

Thank you for loving me. Thank you for giving me the courage to be a man when it would have been much easier to have been a mouse. Thank you for praying for me. Thank you for whispering to me. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for knowing me better than I know myself. Thank you for being my eyes when I was too tired or too sick to see straight. Thank you for standing up for me when I was not wise enough or sure enough to stand up for myself.

“Thank you” are two small words that are almost too tiny to matter. So allow me to add three more.

I love you.

Eternity with you will not be long enough,

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oh what a difference 3 days make

I always assumed that if Lake Erie froze over this winter it would begin at the shore line and work its way out. Hey, what do I know? Well, now I know I was wrong. In 3 days it transitioned from the gentle sounds of waves lapping against the shore in to Siberia II. All we need are a few polar bears.