Dear Bearded Wonder,

Remember when we used to keep a journal together and always signed it with  “Happy Valentine’s Day”?  This is my journal entry to you, only I’m shamelessly using my blog platform to shout to the world that I kind of like you.

I knew you before the beard.  I knew you when I could see your baby face which hides beneath that glorious red beard.   And I loved you anyway.  That must be proof alone that I’m in it for the long haul.

I loved you suddenly.  Like a fantastic idea that had never occurred to me before.  All at once I thought, I want to spend the rest of my life with this sweet soul.  I want to wake up and see his face next to me every day until I’m a withered old lady.  We were just friends walking together on the cliffs near Point Bonita. Moments before I had only tolerated you.  Maybe it was the fear of falling into the crashing waves under us as we crossed the creaky bridge to the lighthouse that had made me swoon and lose my wits.  But there you are.  I loved you then and it stuck.

I’m kidding, though, about only tolerating you.  We joke that I hated you till you annoyed me into matrimony but you know that isn’t true.  To me you were this person from another time.  I saw Jesus in your laughing eyes.  No one was a stranger to you.  Not even me. I had long since been crowned the ice queen.  You waltzed into that little office I worked in and didn’t even feel the chill, not even when I shot ice daggers at you with my eyes.  No.  You just chatted it up like some kind of character from the Andy Griffith show.  You were adorable.  But not my type.  I don’t know what my type was; dark and artistic, perhaps.  If I’m honest I think that maybe only Mr. Darcy would do.  There you were neither dark, nor artistic, and looking for all of the world like a Mr. Bingly.  (Sorry about all of the Pride and Prejudice references, but you know what I mean.)

When I was a little girl I was hurt by people whom I trusted.  Because of that I built a high wall around my heart.  No one was allowed in.  No one.  But then all of the sudden I heard this loud metal latter clanking as it hit the wall I had built and there you were, climbing that latter, peaking over my wall and saying, “Howdy! Whatcha’ doing?”  All I could do was look at you with a mixture of startled fear and anger and also just a touch of relief.  Then you spent all of your free time irritating me.  And I hated it.  Then I liked it.  Now I love it.  (Except when I don’t because, let’s be honest, there’s only so many times a person can be dutch ovened and still find you amusing.)

Before I loved you, we were co-workers at Wolf Mountain.  Remember how hard life seemed then?  We were such pansies.  Parenting five kids is the really hard thing.  Teaching nature observation in the rain to a class of fifth graders was a piece of cake.  Anyways, do you remember how our staff would meet in the mornings to pray before work?  I watched you try to communicate what was in your head and heart.  No one understood a word that was coming out of your blessed lips.  Somehow, though, all of those metaphors and made up words you were saying made sense to me.  Looking back now, I think that was God’s way of showing me that you needed someone to know you thoroughly well and like you because of it.  You were silly and not taken very seriously, but my soul could see your soul.

Remember when Chad called you into his office and basically told you that you and I were going to be the ones to break the chains of divorce and disunion that has plagued both sides of our families?  I think we are killing that chain.  We’ve been through hell together and Satan still doesn’t have a victory over us.  We’ve had five sweet babies together and you still delight in me and I in you. I think we are starting a new branch, maybe even a new tree.  One rooted in faith and grown by living water and tested by fire.

I guess what I mean by all of this is that you are my greatest calling and I am infinitely proud of you.  All of my meandering words are just my way of saying that I saw you and saw something hidden and beautiful.  I loved you when I saw and I love you now.  I love that way you carried me on the beach on our wedding day.  I love the way you sat with me on the bedroom floor when depression had taken over my mind.  I love the way you held me close while we both wept violently with relief and dread after Jack’s second surgery.  I love that you make it a personal goal to make me laugh so hard I cry at least once before bedtime.

That’s it, I guess.



P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day.