(written December 2, 2016)
For thirty-four of his birthdays, I have been married to my guy, with today being the most recent one.
I always feel kind of sorry for December birthday holders because they tend to get lost in the shuffle. Todd’s birthday hits every year right on the tails of Thanksgiving which is just about the time I’m gearing up for the fun of Christmas decorating. Of course that doesn’t happen without his help. Okay, it could, but why should it? Still, it’s his birthday.
Wait, I tell myself. Give the old fellow a break. It’s just one day, I reiterate to myself.
For all these thirty-four years, he just rolls with it.
The late birthday cards.
The trying to “work in” a family celebration around everyone’s holiday schedules.
The late-night phone calls from dear ones who almost forgot.
The next-day phone calls from dear ones who did forget.
‘Tis the season. Such is the life of one born in December. On a platter of holiday favorites like succulent roasted turkey and honey-glazed ham, a December birthday person must feel kind of like a piece of bologna.
To all you December people, I write on behalf of the rest of us.
You are good. You are kind. You are important.
A few days ago, I woke up to an empty house and a hot pot of coffee waiting for me. Todd had left early for work that day, and of course because of the whole “He-brews” thing which he’s passionate about, he made the coffee before he left.
In the fridge was my cup, with my perfectly measured out, weight-watchers approved amount of cream. I retrieved it, filled it with coffee and headed to the chair to sit down with no real thanksgiving for this man who cares for me so well in all the little ways. Sometimes I can be such a “taker”.
Take, take, take.
That said, though, without us “takers” what would the “givers” do? I’m just doing my part to keep it all spinning, you know? Keeping the balance of things.
Anyway. On that particular morning, God wanted me to see something. Something that has been so present and consistent in most all the years of our marriage that I’ve taken to overlooking it. Mostly I just dust around it.
There on the coffee table. Next to books with the kids’ wedding pictures and a bowl of driftwood from a recent trip. His old worn bible and his reading glasses.
On December 2, 1960, my husband entered this life. Though I don’t pretend to understand how matters of the heart work, one day this December birthday boy thought we could make a go of it, I agreed, and so we did. And so we have.
I think he’s always taken better care of me than I have taken care of him. Because I’m a taker. Remember?
This man has consistently cared for me and our kids in the very best way. No matter the circumstance, he has never failed to point us to God. Never once that I can think of. Surely to goodness you know (or if you don’t I will tell you)–he. isn’t. perfect.
Oh let me count the ways!
But isn’t that the point of Christ? He runs to the rescue of imperfect people. And those imperfect people, if they will become transparent for a bit, can say “Look there! Can’t you see it, man? There is hope. And love. Even for the likes of me!”
Nothing has pointed me to Christ more in my life than seeing my imperfect husband on his knees in a dark room pleading to God. Nothing.
We are weak, people. We are imperfect and broken in ways we can’t even see.
I wonder how many times Todd has looked at me and said “just trust”. Too many times to count. I wonder how many times he’s told our kids the same. Those words, coming from him, have weight I tell you. Rolled into those words is a life of firsthand experiences in the cycle of brokenness that demanded trust that culminated in seeing God’s faithfulness. Over and over again. I know there have been times when he’s pointed me to God’s word on a subject and I’ve turned a blind eye and a deaf ear. Pride, I guess.
Still, all the while, the bible and the glasses were there. Always a constant in my life with him.
On that morning a few days ago I saw them and they meant something to me. They reminded me of my man’s constant love for me when I am unloveable. They reminded me of his constant love for our kids. For our friends. And most of all they reminded me of his unmoving devotion to God.
Today I celebrate the most selfless joy-filled giver I know. Today I’m remembering all the ways his life is a gift to me.
Happy Birthday Todd.
Enjoy it! Because tomorrow? We’re decking the halls!
And one more thing.
Today, “I” brewed. I mean, with it being his birthday and all.
“Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, “You owe me”. Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.” -Hafiz