Friday, January 18, 2013

I've Got to Be Me - If You Don't Mind

Dear John,
It's almost midnight - but it's Friday night, so I can stay up a later. I worked thirty-two hours this week and enjoyed it all. Kathy was out of town, so I could tackle one of those big, messy jobs that I can't do when clients are going to be seeing my office. It took me until Thursday to get the place respectable-looking again. But it looks better and functions better, and I had great fun doing it.
I used to tackle big jobs around the house when you went out of town. Remember? Things like painting the china closet. When you were around you'd tell me to stop, take a break, eat, sleep - unimportant things like that. You'd get worried about me working too hard. But some projects just require that, and that's all there is to it. So you do them when you're excited and motivated about them, and schedule a couple of days to crash when it's done. I'd wait for you to go out of town, then I'd get them done without worrying you, and without having to stop to cook or clean up before you got home from work. I could work until I dropped and stay as dirty and sweaty as I wanted to and live on PBJs. And when you got home, I'd have a big surprise for you.
And that was the most fun - surprising you. Remember the time I put together the new entertainment center, moved everything into it, hooked it up, and had the television on when you got home? You asked me who had come over and connected the components. I loved the look on your face when I told you that I had done it. You wanted to protect me from being dirty and sweaty and over-tired - you thought that was your job. But sometimes I didn't want to let you have all the fun, so I'd wait until you were gone overnight and jump in. And you were always proud of me and of what I'd done.
You are the only man I've ever known who loved me so much, but let me be me so freely. And to you that sentence sounds ridiculous, because if you love me, then you want me to be completely the me that you love. And you're being logical again. But, trust me, very few men are like that. And I'm grateful to you. Over the years of our marriage, you put up with me tackling gardening, interior and exterior painting, plumbing, wiring, fence-building, canning, quilting, knitting, counted cross stitch - on top of being a critical care nurse. And you let me go back for my MA in church history. And at church, you supported me as your co-pastor and adult Sunday school teacher, then secretary, librarian, head chanter, and choir director. You've let me strike out and try all kinds of things, learn some traditionally male skills, and pursue whatever I was interested in. Instead of trying to keep me the same, you actively encouraged me to grow and change. If that doesn't make you the world's only perfect man, I can't imagine what would.
So I love you, adore you, and worship the ground you walk on - that was the only thing I did that you didn't understand. But that's okay - everybody else understands. And so you're invited to a party Sunday - it's a birthday party for you and Ron. I think it's fascinating that our godson was born on your twentieth birthday. He's rounding up some church friends, and they'll all come over here sometime after church on Sunday. I think I'll fix up a huge stockpot of vegetable beef soup/stew, then people can munch on it all evening. It will be a lot of fun. But it would be a lot more fun if you come, too. See if you can get a hall pass, and drop in if you can. If you can't, we'll know you're really here anyway. We all love you a lot.
But only I adore you and worship the ground you walk on. That's my job, as your wife,

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