I’m sharing this The Love of a Husband Deserves Gratitude and Respect but I’m sharing it for all the husbands out there. If you’re blessed to have a wonderful wife (and all wives are wonderful if we view them from God’s perspective, and love them as God loves us) then take a moment today to let them know. Don’t ever let a day go by without kissing your wife, and letting her know how much you love her.
Holiness isn’t a subject we hear much about these days. So, what does it mean to “be holy”? First, let’s understand what it doesn’t mean: (1) It doesn’t isolate you from the world, it insulates you against it’s negative influences. (2) It’s not a scorecard for deciding who’s close to God and who is not. It’s having a heart that’s aware of your shortcomings and praying, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God” (Ps 42:1 NIV). Holiness means to be set apart in a special and exclusive way, as in Holy Communion where the bread and wine are set apart from everyday use to honor Christ’s death. Or holy matrimony, where a couple promises to be faithful to each other to the exclusion of all others. Chuck Swindoll wrote: “When I was…a…young husband serving in the marines…eight thousand miles away from my wife, I knew Cynthia existed. I could read her letters, and occasionally hear her voice on the phone, but I couldn’t see or touch her. I’d only the memory of us standing together three years earlier before God and a minister who’d pronounced us husband and wife, setting us exclusively to each other for the rest of our lives. We were wed in June 1955, but regardless of how long ago it was, we stood together and committed ourselves to a holy intermingling of our lives. To be intimate with another woman would break that holy relationship, that exclusive oneness. Remembering that helped keep me faithful while we were apart those many months…and it still helps forty-one years later.!”
Walking across the parking lot toward the bus where I was going to meet Tracey was the longest walk of my life. If I were a movie maker, I could have made at least a dozen different movies showing the different emotions and thoughts I had along the way. To say I was nervous is an understatement. Butterflies? Bats? Bigger than that! More like condors flapping around in my stomach. I felt like I was going to puke. (Sorry, I know that’s gross, but it’s true nontheless.) I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited, so scared, as I was walking toward that bus. I’d like to tell you I was overwhelmed with confidence and positive thoughts, but I’d be lying. I kept telling myself that it was going to be okay, that it was going to work out, that we would meet and it wouldn’t be awkward. We would see each other, and it would be just wonderful. While I was thinking these thoughts, I had to keep banishing the ones coming inbetween.
I told myself it wasn’t too late. I could always high tail it and run. I could go back to the van, and beg Dad to take me away (By the way my Dad would never have done that). I doubted my sanity, my intelligence, my courage, my faith. I lashed myself with all the failures of my past. How could I even consider asking another woman to be a part of my life? How in the world could I have done it this way? Here I was meeting a woman for the first time that I had never ever seen, and didn’t have a clue what she looked like.
I thought of a million reasons to turn and run, to do anything other than what I was doing, and yet I kept walking toward the bus that had just pulled up. I walked toward the gate Tracey would come through with a boquet of flowers in my hand, and hope in my heart. As I mentioned I had all kinds of reasons for not going forward to meet her, and yet I walked on, and reached the gate she was going to come through just as the door of the bus opened.
People began to get off, and here I stood waiting for Tracey. I can’t imagine how I must have looked to people as I stood there waiting for her. I can’t remember if I thought of the flowers at the last minute or not. I’d like to think that I thought of them way before hand, but in truth I don’t know if I did or not. I only know that I had the flowers with me ready to give her should she show. Yes, the thought did cross my mind that this was just a terrible prank being played on me by some scam artist on the internet, but I had put the thought away bound and determined to see it through. I figured if she didn’t show it would be no less than I deserved. So there I stood feeling more than a little stupid, as the question “Is that her” kept repeating itself in my mind with the appearance of each woman that came off the bus.
I know it couldn’t have been more than maybe ten or fifteen minutes but it seemed like it took hours for people to get off. With each woman that got off, I’d look intently at her, trying to make eye contact, with-what I’m sure was-a ridiculous smile on my face. Since I have the nervous habit of shifting my weight from one foot to the other, I’m fairly sure that I looked exactly how I felt. I knew that she had the advantage. I was the only one standing at the gate. I don’t mean the only man standing with a bunch of flowers in my hand. I mean I was the only one at the gate, so I was pretty sure she knew who I was, but I had no idea who she was. She could take a good long look at me and if she decided she didn’t like what she saw she could just walk right by me and I’d never know. So not only was I asking myself “Is she the one” as each woman passed, but I was also thinking “maybe that was her and she didn’t like what she saw.”
I kept running the gamut of emotions as each woman came off the bus. Looking for some tell-tale sign. Any kind of smile, a quick glance, a frown, a snort of disgust, a shriek in panic, anything to give me an indication that this was the woman I was supposed to meet. Here I was standing in front of this bus watching people disembark, shifting from one foot to the other, smiling insanely (how you smile insanely I don’t know, but I felt sure I was), staring so hard at people I felt as if I could look right through them, and alternately holding the flowers at waist level, then in front of my face peeking around them like I was standing behind a tree. I don’t know when it was I realized that I was playing looky loo through the flowers, but when it dawned on me that I was doing so I was really embarrassed and beet red (I turn red when embarrassed or angry so there’s never any hiding what I feel from anyone).
Suddenly, this black woman steps off the bus, looks directly at me, gives me this great big smile, and starts walking toward me with her arms open as if to embrace me. I’m stunned, frozen, can’t move. I want to move toward her. Tell myself that I have to. Command my feet to move, but I can’t. At this moment I’m absolutely terrified, and having a real moment. “But this can’t,” I tell myself. “This can’t be Tracey. It doesn’t feel right. Something’s wrong.” Suddenly I realize I’m faced with something I hadn’t really allowed myself to consider. I thought I had. Somehow, during all our hours together talking over the internet, I had formed a picture of Tracey in my mind; an impression had begun to grow; it was almost as if I could feel her, as if I knew her as I did myself, and this woman walking toward me wasn’t . . . .her. At that second had there been a hole I could have crawled into I would have. How was I going to face her? What was I going to say? How could I tell this woman approaching me that she didn’t fit the image I had of her.
I started to move toward her, then suddenly she waves at me, and veers away walking off in the opposite direction. I’m so stunned to see her walking away from me that I don’t know what to do or think, then from behind me I hear this lovely female voice say, “Hi Wayne.” I turned around to see a tall redhead standing there with the biggest grin on her face, and a big black duffle bag slung over her shoulder. “Are those for me,” she asked. Just as I knew almost instantly that the woman who had approached me earlier couldn’t be Tracey, I knew that this woman was. How? I can’t tell you except that I knew. It took me a minute to switch on, then I said, “who else would they be for?”
“You’re sweet,” she said, drops the bag and gives me the biggest, most fierce hug I’ve ever had in my life, and that was how me and Tracey met, but it was just the beginning.
The last e-mail I got from Tracey was Thursday night, so I had three days to get through before I could finally see this woman I had proposed to over the internet. Three days to do nothing but think about her, and what she might look like, and to wonder if I’d lost every bit of sense I might have ever had. I can tell you I was some kind of nervous . I’d like to give an anology about how nervous I was, but I’m just not that good of a writer. The best I can come up with is to ask you to imagine yourself in my shoes, as a man who had for most of his life done the wrong thing, made the wrong decisions, and who had just taken the biggest risk of his life by proposing to a woman I had never met. Who was taking a last shot at love based only on what I felt in my heart, and the imprinted words of an anonymous someone that had floated across my computer screen over the last few months.
If that in in itself weren’t enough to make me nervous, I had one other minor thing to contend with which was my father was going with me to pick up Tracey from the bus depot. Why would I allow that added strain? Because it was either allow him to take me to pick her up, or go there in a taxi to get her. At the time, I didn’t have a car, nor a license, so going to get her would have been problematic for me. It was either him or the taxi, and to be blunt about it, he was cheaper. Somehow I thought it would make a better impression on Tracey to have my father drive us back to my apartment rather than for me to arrange for a taxi to take us back. It seems absolutely crazy to me, I almost wish I’d still beeen drinking so I’d have an excuse, but the thought of my father and Tracey meeting and how awkward that may have been for her never entered my mind. As I’m writing this I’m thinking I was either certifiably stupid or crazy not to have thought about Tracey’s feelings having to meet me, and then my father in almost the same breath.
Anyway, after what seemed an eternity, Monday morning arrived. I was tired, worried, excited, happy, sad, on edge, calm, glad, hyper, and all the rest of those words that describe feelings and are completely opposite of one another. You say it I probably felt it that morning. I’d spend the majority of the night cleaning an apartment that already sparkled. Armed with Endust, windex, and comet I had scoured every surface within an inch of it’s life expectancy. I’d called my Dad at 3:00 a.m. just to make sure he knew what day it was, and what time we needed to be there to pick her up. At 8:00 a.m. I called to make sure he hadn’t forgotten about me, and when was he going to come and pick me up. I vaguely remember him telling me to relax or something like that, and if I called again he was going to stop on the way and pick up my grandmother to go with us. (You remember my mentioning my grandmother from an earlier post, don’t you?) Being sufficiently threatened, I begged for mercy, promised I wouldn’t call anymore, and hung up.
At 10:15 a.m. I was getting antsy. I’d already opened the curtains, so I could see out to the street where my father would be coming in, but then grew worried that it would take too much time to close the curtains when he came, and would make us late, so I closed them. So I opened the door in order to see when he pulled up, but the wind was blowing, and I worried that dust might blow in and get my place dirty after I’d spent so much time cleaning it, so I closed it. I started peeking through the peephole every few minutes looking for him, and almost had a heart attack when I looked through it for the 100th time and saw his eye looking back at me! I’m absolutely positive that if I hadn’t had a roof over my head I would have been able to touch the moon.
My Father being the calmest man I’ve ever known, and the biggest smart butt ever born preceeded to do what he always does when I’m stressed out. He made jokes. Here I’m barely holding on to my sanity, and my father is cracking jokes, and just giving me hell. Before I even knew it, we were pulling up at the bus station. He parked across the street, and asked me if I wanted him to go with me. I sucked in my breath, shook my head, opened the door, and walked toward the bus that was just pulling up . . . .You’re not going to want to miss what happened next. 🙂
Hands down, marrying Tracey was the absolute best decision I ever made, but during that first few days after proposing to her over the internet I thought I’d made the worst mistake of my life. The range of my thoughts went from, “Are you completely out of your _____ mind,” to “What woman in her right mind is going to accept a proposal of marrrige to somebody she’s never even met.” It was enough to make me question my sobriety, not to mention other things.
If that weren’t enough to make me have some sleepless nights, add to the previously mentioned, these two thoughts: 1 Any man, with a half-a brain-cell more than yours truly, knows that it takes a serious lack of intellect not to make a proposal to the one he loves face to face. 2. Said man, making such a proposal smacks of desperation, low self-esteem, and too many other adjectives to mention.
As I said there were many thoughts that passed through my mind, but the overriding one among them all was wondering what Tracey looked like. I know fine time to be wondering what the woman you’ve just proposed to looks like, but that was how it was. Anybody who has read back over my past posts knows that I’m a little slow in coming to things, and as this post proves a little backward, too. It didn’t help that my grandma, a very onery and not what you’d call politically correct, sort of woman who had a habit of saying exactly what was on her mind ( and you never knew what was on it) blurted out, “I hope Denny’s finance isn’t black” during her and my grandpa’s 50th anniversary party! To this day, I don’t know how she found out, although I have a feeling my mother let it out (she swears she didn’t).
The only thing I can say is you can choose your friends, but not your relatives. My grandma was a fiesty, firey, spit-in-your-eye, sometimes bigoted, over-the-top kind of person, but she was who she was, and I never heard her apologize for it. I loved her undoubtedly, but agreed with her rarely, and through the grace of God failed to inherit her uncharitable views toward others. It’s my hope that I haven’t offended anyone in writing about this most embarrassing thing that happened, but that’s what happened.
If I hadn’t already been spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about Tracey, I was really thinking about it now. What if she was a different race? One after another “What if’s ” went through my mind. Even as I’m writing this I can see how it might look and sound to those reading this, but I can’t deny that’s how it was. I came to each of those questions, and through prayer, and time, and determination to follow what I felt in my heart I kept going forward.
The following Monday morning at 11:00 a.m. I went to the bus station to meet my finance, and was it a meeting I’ll never forget? You’ll have to read the next one to find out.