My Wife, My Best Friend
This past weekend marked our Twelfth Anniversary. Twelve years of being graced by her presence; of being blessed by her love. Twelve years of being her husband, our children's Father, of living in her circle of love. I wish for nothing more than to be granted another twelve years followed by another and another until my time on this plane of existence is finished. There can be no greater gift te o me than that. I love you my Angel. Always have; always will.
Where it all began
I know you have all heard the cliche "Love at first sight". Yeah, right most of you might say. That only happens in romantic novels, movies, or in teenage fantasies. That never happens to grown ups, or people with their heads screwed on straight. Love is something that requires work; dedication; years of pursuit and in the end - luck. For the most part, I would agree. But I am here to tell you that love at first sight can, and does, occur. I know: it happened to me.
I met my wife in the location millions of people shop every single day; you know it, you hate it: that big box store that shall remain nameless. I used to call it Vendormart, due to all of the vendors that are constantly in grocery filling shelves or moving their product around or trying to sell you something for another display; never mind the 35 other displays they already had clogging the aisles or the checkouts. I was stocking shelves on a display near the dairy department when I saw this vision of loveliness wander by pushing a cart. I looked at her, into her eyes which were the most wonderful shade of blue, and I was struck. She smiled, said hello, and walked on by. I just stood there in wonderment, and actually thought to myself: "Why can't I ever meet someone who looks like that? Why can't I have a wife like that?" I had just gotten out from a marriage where nobody wanted to work together to make it better than it was. It was miserable, and I was still miserable. Failure is something that occurs all too often, and I was still coming to grips with what I felt was the biggest failure in my life: my marriage. I shook my head and went back to work, wondering what might have been, how my life would have been different with someone like her.
I know you are asking me "How in the world could you possibly know anything about this mystery woman? You saw her for a moment, nothing more." And, you'd be right. But ask yourself this: have you ever just known something inside, just known it for sure? That is all I can say to explain it. I just knew. Anyway, as the days went by, I looked for her to come back in shopping. I would see her periodically; and we would make small talk. I would ask, as a good associate, if she needed any assistance. She would decline with a smile, saying no, she was fine. And away she would go. Months passed with nothing more than this.
Finally, I spoke to her. Really spoke to her, not this helping worker talk that I had been doing. I found she was a recently divorced mother with several children, just trying to make ends meet. We exchanged phone numbers, and began to talk daily. This was before all of the texting and computer emails and facebooking stuff. We actually carried on conversations. For hours and hours. Both of us were hungry for something, but really didn't know what. I do remember telling her that I was recently divorced; that it was a bad marriage; and I wasn't looking for anything serious (wasn't that supposed to be the girl's speech?). She just laughed, and said she was having a good time just talking with me. I agreed, and we talked. About everything. Politics, school, work, shopping, you name it. I loved it.
One day she stopped me in mid thought with a question. What were my thoughts on God? Out of the blue, with no preface or anything. I sat still, thinking furiously. What were my thoughts on God? I had been raised a back row Baptist; my mother played the piano at the church we attended throughout my entire upbringing. She started at around 15 years of age, and still plays today; some 60 years later. I knew God, and had kept him close throughout my life, but a few years prior I had a close friend take his life at 23 years old, and the callousness of the act, and the events leading up to it had colored my world somewhat. I had blamed God for the act, saying to myself He hadn't cared and that was why my friend was dead. As a result, I had been angry with God for some time. I would still try to find peace in my heart, but just hadn't found it. Sounds kind of like The Shack, doesn't it? A seemingly senseless act that takes the life of someone close to you, and an anger at God. Years later, reading The Shack, I was struck by how closely my experience had followed the storyline, and it made it even more personal.
Well, let me tell you that little question rocked my world right down to my core. I stuttered and stammered for a moment before answering. I told her what and why and how I was feeling about God, but when I voiced my thoughts and reasons, they sounded lame to my ears. But she didn't fault me at all, rather saying to me it wasn't His fault, and we never knew the reasons for a tragedy. I had nothing to say to that. In an instant, I had faced my anger (against my will), been forced to ask forgiveness (from within), and accepted His forgiveness within. There has been no looking back from there. From that moment I called her my Angel.
I cannot begin to tell you how many ways she has touched my soul in the intervening years; I have no way to count them. When she agreed to marry me, I flew. Higher and farther than I thought possible. In the months following our wedding, she let me know I was to be a Father again. I flew again. To be a parent again, but this time with someone who WANTS to be a parent. I still had contact with my sons from my first marriage at this time, and they were as thrilled as I was. When we welcomed our son, my happiness knew no bounds.
She is my soul mate; my best friend; everything I could ever want or need in this life or the next. She fuels my life in a myriad of ways, and always has a smile for me when I need it most. As a Mother, I could not ask for better. As a wife, she is without peer. In the years since our first chance meeting, I wonder at the spark that still exists, at the love we still possess for one another, and the ability we have to let one another know how we feel.
I have scribbled notes, cards, and nothings to her over the years, and she has kept every one. She pulls them out from time to time and reads them, smiling at me and asking if I remember this or that. She indulges me in my quirks, or my interests, whatever they may be. In my youth, I hunted and fished all over the country. During my young adulthood, and my previous marriage, I hunted and fished as an escape. I also bowled, again as an escape. Oh, I enjoyed the challenge of an opponent, and winning meant perhaps more than it should have to me. Perhaps I found worth in those achievements, as they were lacking in my personal life. In those external things I was seeking what I did not have internally: peace, love, acceptance. I will not dwell on my earlier marriage; there is no good to be found there. I can honestly say neither of us was completely at fault; it would be arrogant and untrue to say she was totally in the wrong. But I can say I gave it everything I had, and in the end, what we had was nothing worth keeping. It is sad when something you desired to succeed in dies, but it can and does.
One of the conversations we shared early on involved marriage. She asked what I thought of it. As we both had survived horrible marriages, I felt confident in answering honestly. I liked the thought of marriage, and wanted to be married to someone who wanted to be married to me. The idea behind marriage, to be able to live and love and care for and be cared for was, to me, the epitome of what it meant to be a man. Even though I had not experienced it myself, I wanted it; more than anything else in the world. At the time, I only knew I wanted this; now I know that what I wanted was more than I imagined it could be. Today, I cannot imagine life without her. Our time together has had its trials and tribulations; its dips and swales; but I know there is nowhere else I would ever want to be than living and loving her. Corny as that line from Jerry Macguire is, she completes me. Without her, I am nothing.
I am writing this because I want the world to know how much I love her, and know that this type of love is possible. You just have to look for it, believe in it, and recognize it when it walks by you pushing a shopping cart. I also believe that all your searching for it may not lead to the door of love; sometimes, it has to find you. But when it does, and you recognize it for what it is, grab on and hold on for all you're worth, because if it gets away, you might not ever get it back.
We have spoken of lost time, of the years we didn't have together. The What If's of life. How much more could we have loved, have accomplished together. Every time we speak of this, I come back to one thing: if I knew that she waited at the end of all of my wasted years, tortured thoughts and lost dreams, I would still walk the same path I had to walk so long as it led to her. Every day with her is worth whatever Hell I was forced to endure. She is worth it, and her friendship, companionship, and love are worth every single hardship experienced. There is no other for me for the rest of my life.
She is my best friend, the best friend I have had or will ever have. She cares for me, my dreams, my ambitions. She pushes me beyond what I am comfortable with, into situations where I might feel uncomfortable, but I have never yet failed to succeed. Things I never thought I could accomplish, I accomplished. I would not have walked the road I have without her behind me, beside me, telling me I was capable; I was good enough. In a lifetime of failure, or less than successes, I found the one woman who believes in me no matter what. I thank God for my Angel, and I pray that all of you find yours.