Monday, January 28, 2013

A Real Man

Didn't something stir deep inside, when I first laid eyes on you?

That cold hard heart of mine had grown weary from tempests and time.


I would catch myself staring at you so crazy ...that I had to turn my head and fix my eyes out the window. All I could think is that someone like you would never even look at someone like me. And besides. I didn't want to risk loving again, because the price is just too high. Oh I had prayed that if there were a real man out there.... one who loved God, one who can take a package deal of two blond beauties and a woman who had buried more dreams than she could stand for one lifetime. Then maybe I would consider tearing down the walls I had built around this heart. But that was something that only happen in fairy-tales   

You did pursue me and on our second date we went to see a cast of cartoon characters with the large yellow bird and you wore me out shopping and we laughed like this is what everyone does when they first meet. And as we drove home I wondered if this was a dream or could there really be a real man like this?

Then you knelt on one knee to ask the question. We entered into that divine covenant with my knees knocking and we flew off to the edge of our world on the honeymoon to a land where dreams come true and princes and princesses live in castles.

You and me.

You, me  .....and the two flaxen haired girls.

The ones you've loved like your own since the beginning. We all rode in the teacups and hugged the mouse and wore damsel-in-distress hats. Indeed. You were the prince charming that I never expected to meet in a life time. Who taught you how to be such a great man ....husband and father? 

You just jumped in with your whole heart and made loving us look easy. You the patient one, the wisest one of the two of us. The one who often apologizes first. You who swung giggling girls high on your shoulders, played horsey on the living room carpet and ran down the sidewalk coaxing them to ride bikes without training wheels. You kissed their skinned knees and tucked their beautiful faces into canopy-covered beds with pink comforters. You just loved us like it was the most natural thing in the world.  Your love was a covering over us. 

And when the youngest was born you ran up and down the hallway with that pink skinned squalling girl of ours before they even cleaned her off. She was wailing and you were beaming at new life as if you had received the greatest gift a man could claim.   

One day as I drove down the busy street I saw this pig tailed girl in the back window of an old faded green car. The little face was darting back and forth. When I drew closer I could see it was our little girl and she was chasing a bunny in the rear window ledge. You were driving that old 1970's Buick that we called "the ship" that most people wouldn't be seen in. I had to laugh at the sight as I pulled up along side to scold you for letting her talk you into yet another pet. But when I saw you just grinning from ear to ear like you were a king escorting your royal cargo   - -I had to relent. What kind of man is this that has nothing to prove and no one he cares to impress? 

Without fail the morning sun will cast rays on you in your favorite place bent over the Words that give live to anyone who reads them. And as the seasons have come and gone in our marriage you have been steadfast in prayer. I've heard you say that you have no eloquent words, but surely God has loved your prayers because the windows of heaven have poured down blessing upon us.  The great King who rides the heavens to help us, heard you. 

Your deepest desire for our children is that they would each love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength. And as each child has had opportunity to break our heart you stood as that wise father in the story of the prodigal.  Praying for them to come to their senses while pushing back tears of pain, waiting to embrace their return.

That day when cold driving rain brought the penetrating news of cancer. With our children gathered I asked if you could be the one to speak it to them, but no words came as you choked back the emotions. I realized that your heart was hurting more than mine. And through that season of the unknown, you proved your unconditional love for me over and over. Oh that every woman could know that kind of love from a man after God's own heart.

To watch you with the grand kids melts my heart most every time. The way you bend over to kiss their heads with tousled waves of hair or lean close to the princesses while they jabber and play just to tell them how beautiful they are. And then you run like a man-boy up and down the hallway with the herd of them -all pretending to be super heroes,  laughing and slaying dragons with abandon. You really are a hero. My hero. How did you become such a great man?

And your laugh. When someone gets you to laugh deep. It makes me join in every single time. You a man who traded in the accolades and awards of being some amazing athlete, to being the quite backbone of this family.  Not living your glory days or promoting self or living some empty shell of life through our children. You who became second, third, forth.... as you set your dreams aside to let the girls and I pursue God-sized dreams. How many men have done that?

You are an evangelist. Not a clanging voice with pointing or tapping finger, but life on life just living and loving on people where they are. You don't have an angry or begrudging bone in your body. You are not puffed up or greedy for gain.   What some people talk about in principal you have lived out in practice. Not some set of rule keeping while occupying a pew. You are a promise keeper kind of man.

Haven't you earned every single graying hair on your auburn head? I love every one of them. Nothing could be more attractive than a man who loves the Lord, loves his wife and family and shows the kind of integrity that you do.  It's all been grace how we've gotten to grow up together in faith.
It is a scandalous love because of the One who personifies love.  True intimacy is rooted in the God who designed this whole thing. 

Time has had wings and the evidence of age is wearing on us as the wrinkles have crept into the corners of our eyes. If I were honest I would tell you I'm amazed that we have been married for decades now. Thank you for just loving me all these years and for letting me be and do and try most anything. Thank you for never telling me how ridiculous I am or what a crazy idea that I had. It’s think I can make it happen.

Could I whisper something to you?

You have made it easy to love you like crazy all these years.  Your radical kind of love set me free. You are a brave-heart of a man. A man's man.  A true prince of a man. It has been a privilege to be your wife and live the true-life-royal-adventure that God has let us go on together. 

I'm so glad it wasn't a dream.

Happy Anniversary.

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© Rhonda Quaney