So, my wife left me. Again. She is always doing this, been doing it for decades now. It’s always some lame excuse, too – going to visit her relatives, off for military training, reserve duty in NY, DC, New Orleans, VA, and even Hawaii (seriously?). Trips to the ocean to look at giant sea turtles (who does that?). And that whole “I’m off to war thing” when she said goodbye for a year to walk around the desert in cammies. Did that twice.
I was heading to bed last night (alone again, naturally) and as I pulled back the stack of pillows there was an envelope. In the envelope was a letter from Pastor Jerry Turner, from April 1984, thanking her for visiting Braddock Baptist Church that Sunday. There was another letter, too, this one handwritten from her and dated April 14, 2021. I won’t bore you with all the details, but the opening paragraph stuck out and really smacked me in the face:
“Sunday, April 15, 1984 was a day that changed my life forever! I met you! 36 years, 11 months and 30 days ago. What a lifetime of beautiful memories we share.”
I think she loves me.
We met that Sunday, the week before Easter, 1984, for the first time. I was stopped in my tracks when she walked in the door at Braddock Baptist Church. Angels sang, clouds rolled, there was light radiating. Seriously. I knew I was toast. She was exactly what I had been praying and hoping and waiting for my whole life. And as her piercing green eyes stared me down and her gentle lilting Southern accented voice asked me where the class was for her 5-year-old son Jeremy, I was captured. I showed her where his class was and showed her where she should go (which just happened to be where I was headed). She stayed for church, and we sat together on the “family” pew.
We met the week before Easter, I proposed on Father’s Day, and we were married September 1st that same year. There has not been a day since that day when she was not on my mind. It’s hard to imagine, but for 37 years she has been it for me, and me for her. Sickness and health, richer and (mostly) poorer, ups and down, triumphs and tragedies, kids and grandkids. And I would not change a second of it.
So she left me again, this time flying to California to see the grandkids (Jeremy’s three, he is now 42 years old!) but I am pretty sure she’s coming back.
Maybe the secret to our relationship is that whole “if you love someone set them free” thing. Maybe it is because we respect each other’s hopes and dreams and ambitions. Or maybe it is just because we both believe that what God has brought together, no man can put asunder. Till death do us part.
I’m going with the latter. I do not like sleeping alone, I don’t like giving up our daily routines, I don’t like cleaning up the kitchen or doing laundry (division of labor, folks, it’s a thing). I do miss cooking her dinner, having a cuppa on the porch, and happy hour in the hot tub. But I would do anything to make her happy.
And she closed her letter with this:
“But I’m coming home to you.”
And I cannot wait!