Charles, I promise I loved you.
I took Mom to see Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. How shameful was it that I, a member of the Church of Christ, had made it into my mid-30s without getting married and having children? I told Mom, "I will be a corpse before I am a bride." She laughed and loved me anyway. Neither one of us had imagined God would bring you to us.
I was just trying to get to the back door of the building we worked in. I had to pass your office. You looked up and smiled at me. God said, "this man". Well, He and I had quite a talk as I kept on walking. And for two months after that, probably. I was angry. I wanted to be the one who got to choose, not God. Let's skip all of the reasons you weren't who/what I had imagined. I told God I wanted to choose. He laughed at me. Seriously, God laughed at me. He said, "have you seen how well your choosing has worked out lately?". Fine.
So we talked. We danced around what was really going on. You evidently had prayed to a God you weren't very familiar with that He send you someone. I wish I had a picture of us on that first un-date. We were so scared. Me bringing my parents to live with me. You having your kids and grandkids (lots of them) living with you. We both had so much baggage we could have filled several train cars. What were we thinking?
We were disobedient to God. You lied to me because you didn't know how to tell the truth yet. I was trying to be realistic while being so caught up in the way you cherished me. But I loved you. I know that. I loved you. God had put that love in my heart. I know that kind of love - the kind God puts in your heart for certain people. It can be romantic or not, but when God puts it there, it is THERE. I have that kind of love for people who don't even talk to me anymore, but the love is real. So I knew. Here we were.
You proposed in front of my parents, over leftovers, on a Monday after work. You said one romantic thing, which is not your style, but it was real and I melted. Doesn't our engagement seem like a lifetime ago?
So here came a wedding. Our odd grouping of family and friends. We knew that marriage would be a struggle. There were so many reasons that it was going to be hard. But we knew God brought us together. Our spiritual advisers saw it and were amazed to see God's handiwork. Who would have expected?
What fun we had that day. You let me have pew pigs.
We jumped a broom (thanks Henry!) and we all did The Wave! I played a joke or two on you, but just stuff to make you smile. We were so silly.
And the silliness has not stopped there. We have five, small, yappy dogs. How did that happen? (I'm looking at you, sir. This one wasn't mine.)
You let me paint our foyer hot pink. Totally mine. Although, come to think about it, you did all the work.
We are just so silly
And it has been hard. When we both found out the truth about you - finding out that it was much different than the lie - it was hard. That day that Greg prayed over us and then I left you to that group of men, hoping they would help you - that was hard. My profound selfishness has consistently been hard. The fact that we speak totally different languages has been hard. That month of screaming rages before they diagnosed me with early menopause - that was REALLY hard. The losses we have suffered - some friends leaving, kids divorcing, Mom passing on - those have been hard.
One thing is sure though: I love you. I loved you then. I love you now. There are days when it is a choice rather than an emotion. But it is true. Don't ever let me or anybody else tell you different. We are so far past lying to each other that there is no need to start it again.
It has only been 4.5 years. We still have a long way to go. We will eventually move from grandkids into great-grandchildren (better not be soon, you whippersnappers! I've got my eyes on you!). There will be more silly. There will be more hard.
I have loved you since our beginning and I love you now.