It's been 22 years of marriage. Well over 8000 blissful days. . . except for those 4 days. And this is our 26th Valentine's Day. You get to great runs one day at a time, and this we are in the middle of one great run.
You are the picture of sacrifice. You have given up so much of what could have been. You could have had more money, more time for yourself, more stuff. More. You could have had a career or a Bed and Breakfast or Tea Room (and who knows if you might some day?). But you happily traded all the might-have-beens for the beauty of a sacrificial and contented "is."
You never complained that I was gone too much (I don't blame you), or that most or all of the nasty home jobs (and dog jobs) became yours. As I recently unloaded our groceries alone I realized that I don't think I have ever unloaded a full-week's grocery run by myself before. Never. Because you always do it. You never complained about overnight feedings, diapers, boys crawling on you or our home making you stir-crazy. You never complained about not finishing your college degree (for me), or why my Master's Degree took 6 years and thousands of dollars and countless hours away from a young mom with three little boys. You did complain when I came home from my Master's classes with Kopp's breath and none for you, but hey . . . (remember when I would bring home Rainforest Crunch???) You don't complain now when a busy day at work gives way to a busier night at home as you pull together laundry, tomorrow's lunches, pie sales and the bars a young man needs to make for Spanish class--which you were just told about, and are needed tomorrow (okay, sometimes you might complain a little).
But you do it all with grace. There are bumps. Sometimes a little blow-up. But, oh the grace! I praise my God for you!
It's my hope to give more. I intend to give you Jesus. Security. Love. Protection. Refuge. Time. Inspiration. Guidance. And, when you need it, me.
This Valentine's Day I see that you are way outpacing me in the giving department, and in the not complaining department. And in the grace department. Actually, you are outpacing me in all the departments. But it's my hope to be the kind of guy who makes you know that God is there, who never makes you afraid to submit to him and who leads your heart, rather than follows it.
I can't wait for 22 more Valentine's Days! 8,000 more blissful days (and four more other kinds of days). I will never ask you to be my Valentine. You are my Valentine. I love you!
ps What is the Flavor of the Day at Kopp's tomorrow?