Today is an important day in history.
I’m not talking about the 200th birthday of the 16th president of the United States, although that is pretty important. I’m talking about something a little more personal, a little more recent.
It was today in 1993 that I was married. For the first time. Shall I explain? I’ll try to make it short.
We were in college. He was an “older man” of 24. I was a sweet, innocent 20 year old girl. We were married just a short time before he passed away, complications from a congenital heart defect which several surgeries over his lifetime could not repair.
It was the most difficult time in my life, before or since. There was the grief, the pain. The dreams and plans we’d made which were not going to happen, the things we were going to do which would be left undone. He never got to try the new KFC chicken or see how the siege in Waco, TX would end. There was the loneliness, oh my I never knew such loneliness.
There was also a sense of shame for me. Sounds weird, right? Well, how many 20 year old widows do you know? I despised the word “widow.” I wasn’t old enough to be a widow, after all. And I was sure people would think poorly of me or think I was lying or something. So for several years I hid my “deep dark secret,” only sharing with those I could trust.
While it was the most difficult time in my life, it wasn’t hopeless. Far from it! See, this was the guy who had first told me that Jesus came to earth and died on the cross because He loved us. It was the first time I had ever heard that before! All my life I’d heard about Jesus, the virgin Mary, the cross, etc, etc. Little old ladies cried during the Easter season. Christmas was a lot of fun. But that God stuff never seemed to do anybody much good.
When I heard about the reason for the cross, it changed my opinion on that “God stuff.” I wanted to relate to this Jesus who died because He loved us. Because He loved me.
And this was the guy who started that for me.
Today I am thankful for this, for him. Although the time we had together was short, it changed my life for the better. Forever. The eternal perspective that he gave me helped me through that time. Relying on God to carry me through, literally carry me.
Thank you, my friend, so very much, for loving me.
Eventually the huge, overbearing, all-encompassing grief quieted and settled into a dull ache. I did move on with life. I moved that summer, got a job, found new friends. Romantic movies made me cry because I missed him so badly. When I heard about marital infidelity and divorces, it made me very angry to think that people didn’t love their spouse. It was a few years before I thought that I’d like to marry again.
I didn’t really date. I ended up “finding” The Bull in the most unlikely place when I wasn’t expecting to find a husband. It is a story that involves a friend, a broken engagement, a birthday party and a fishing trip, a couple of mountain hikes, and a lot of talking.
From the beginning, I was amazed at him. He has never been bothered about my previous marriage and has even shared holidays with my first husband’s family. Our children call them “grandma” and “grandpa” and “aunt” and “uncle.”
I am amazed at how The Bull puts up with my faults and mistakes and shortcomings, my foolishness and selfishness. He works hard at his job and comes home to our family. He reads to and plays with the children and yes–he even changes diapers and helps with laundry and dishes. He is an amazing man and I don’t tell him that nearly enough.
I realize that I have been married to two wonderful men, two kind, considerate, loving guys. Today I am thankful.
And honey? I love you, and thank you.