Monday, February 14, 2011

My Nervous Valentine

Bill & Lena at the Parque del Amor in Lima, Peru
This from Lena:

He slid what was obviously a wrapped book across the table to me. I was thrown a bit by the Cow-Jumping-Over-the-Moon wrapping paper. Bill could be so poetic one minute, and so utilitarian the next. We had been dating for a year now, and the wise pastor who had counseled us recommended a due date for us to decide whether or not to marry. We had agreed on the end of summer, and here we were on Labor Day Weekend, out for a special dinner. One of us had to decide. Bill had to decide.

I opened the gift, feeling a bit weary. A book. To this point, he had given me no indication that a decision was imminent. When I opened it, I saw that it was "The Mystery of Marriage," a comtemplative book that Bill had decided not to share with anyone but his bride-to-be. Hmm. It was something, but it felt more like a request for time than a promise of marriage. Then the second package came. It was wrapped in the same ridiculous nursery rhyme paper. It was little ... Ring box little. I looked up, and with tears in his eyes, Bill asked me to marry him. Of course, I agreed. That was close to 20 years ago. I remember recounting everything to my sister over the phone later that day, telling her how Bill cried when he proposed. Bill piped in, "I cried because I was afraid you would say, 'Yes!'"

You have to know Bill to understand that that was not an insult. It cost him a great deal to risk making a forever covenant with me, and it's significance was not lost on me. I told that story yesterday to my teenage daughter, and as I did, I thought about how many of life's decisions to love involve sacrifice. It almost isn't love if it doesn't cost us something. Maybe it is time listening or giving a backrub when we are dead tired, or his favorite magazine instead of your favorite cookies at the checkout, or holding our tongue and praying for our mate when we want to lecture instead. Proposing wasn't easy for Bill. In fact, no big decision is easy for Bill. A major purchase can send him to the internet for hours days, scouring for the best deal and the best product. Consumer Reports magazine was made for him. Imagine what a sacrifice making the ultimate "big purchase"--a lifetime covenant--was like for him. In the end, proposing was not a romantic experience for him. It was pure labor.

This note today has two purposes. First, I want to say to my husband, "Honey, thank you for all the little decisions you make to serve me, the kids, and even the rest of my family. I see and take note of more than you think. You are probably the most faithful and loyal person I have ever known."

The second is to say something about love to everyone; that is, that even when you are not "feeling it," you are sowing seeds of love that will CERTAINLY BEAR FRUIT IN ITS TIME. Your mate is more aware than anyone else in the world of what it looks like when YOU are selfless, and no one else (who isn't Jesus) has more power to demonstrate the love of Christ to your mate than you.

The Lord bless and help us all to sow selflessly into the lives of our mates today, so that we can reap a huge harvest of love--one that starts coming back to us sooner than we think. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!


Unknown said...

Beautiful!! Thank you for sharing! It has been very difficult to go to church here in Venezuela so sometimes these types of words of encouragement are nice to hear!!

Shawn said...

Thanks for sharing Lena! I like the stories on your blog, and think I am a lot like Bill when it comes to the decision making part. I can relate. Blessings - Shawn