A Christmas Love Story

love-winsThis year, Kent and I decided not to do Christmas gifts for each other since we had just spent a bunch of money doing several projects around the house. Instead, we each wrote something for the other. And now lovelies, I would like to share our words for each other with you.

From me to Kent – You make me want to:

You make me want to
Sit in the dark and stare at the stars
Go dancing late into the night
Or Drive up the coast in a rented convertible
See the scenes from far off lands
Eat fine dinners from trucks or linens
And feel the sand between my toes
One look at you and I’m off to Paris
Or stuck in a London fog
You are like the most arresting lyrics, the most beautiful picture,
the most thought provoking article.

Somehow I don’t know how to describe you but I must try

You are like a rainforest downpour
or the sprinkles in the desert on a sunny day…
You are rare and you make me want to dance
Or stop and lay in the grass and stare at the clouds

You are

That thing I can’t describe from that violinist whose music stole my breath.
The experience of a new kind of delicious taste or sound or feeling  that I have never experienced before.
You are exhilarating like a walk in San Francisco or New York City
You are calming like dinner on the beach at sunset

You are

Like a dream I wish I could fall back into even though I can’t remember exactly what happened
when I can still remember the feeling and I want that same lightning to flash again;
Like the first time you kissed me
Like the way that you need me
Like the sound of your voice when you say my name

I like

The way my food is better and my laugh is longer and my faith is stronger because you exist
The way Nate Ruess sings even better when you stand beside me.
Songs and singers ring truer because they sing about you and I even though they don’t know our names.
The way you are exactly the same yet nothing like the man I married.
You are somehow more, much more than the sum of your parts and your years and my memories and the present moment.
I like that together we are much more than all of me + all of you

You are

My happiest place on earth
My Disney World and my swim up in Puerto Vallarta.
My Vegas and my rural Ohio
My Newport Beach and my Washington DC
My trip to Europe and my Hawaiian vacation
My hometown and my favorite getaway
You are the part of me that is good at basketball and hates coconut
You are the part of me that does the things I never could
That part that makes me more than I knew I could be
I love that because of you I have become more me and because of me you have become more you.

I like

How when I look at you, I see it all
Everything we have ever done and all that makes us who we are, heartbreaking, ecstatic, melancholy, joyful, mundane, content,
boring and spectacular…
It is somehow all more real,
This life, my life because I found you.
I love how even at the end of all this I still struggle to find the right words that will say it all but I can’t find them.
You cannot be contained in mere words; you who are made of stardust.

You are simply too majestic for that.

From Kent to me –  How long have I known you?

How long have I known you?
How long have you stayed?
How long have I annoyed you?
How much have you paid?

For my heartache, my selfishness, my pain and my pride?

No matter the words, no matter the deeds
No matter the hurts, no matter the pleas
You stayed by my side

What makes you love so?
What makes you see?
What makes you so sure?
That there’s beauty beneath?

All of the layers
All of this junk
All of this pain
Everything, so .. fucked .. up

About me
About my mind
About my words
About my heart

This glimmer of beauty
That you see beneath
I hear it too
Screaming to be released

I am in here
I really am
Is there anyone who hears me?
Anyone to understand?

And then
In that moment when all seems lost
When no one answers
And no one is willing to pay the cost

When all any one sees
Is the ugliness and pride
You look down deep in my heart
I mean way, way down inside

And you see
You see
You see all the guts and intestines and muscles and blood

You see cancerous cells obstructing the path
But you see past it all
You see way down inside
And you pull out the best of me

As I writhe in pain
As I fight you because it hurts; it hurts; it hurts so deeply
You stand
You stay
You love

Sometimes it’s impossible to believe
That someone could love me so, deeply; so completely
As they see the infected flesh
As they smell the rancid guts
As they endure the waging war
And yet you do

You reach right in
You pull the goodness out into the light
You don’t ignore my pain; you feel it with me
You endure the sting of my decaying flesh, with me
You don’t ignore the putridness, you smell it, too
But you persist

You pull
You never shrink back
You never give up
You stand, and love
You wage a war
And then, my beauty arises
Even love unfolds

And there I stand

Here, I stand
Who am I?
How did I get here?
I am now a man
Perfect? Oh no.
Better? Oh yes.

Only you know the real me
Only you have endured
Only you have really believed
Only you are a part of me
Only you have truly loved me

Just as I am
I am yours
All of me
Just as I am
You have loved me

You saved me
You made me believe
You are saving me
I will always be yours

And now my new year’s wish for all of you…

I hope your holidays were beautiful and that your new year brings you joy unspeakable.
I hope you find someone who learns the words to your sad and your happy songs and then sings with you.
I pray you will know the all surpassing love of Jesus.
I trust that you will learn new things, spread joy and practice deliberate acts of kindness.
And in the end I pray that 2014 leaves you a better version of yourself…
Happier, healthier, more generous, more satisfied, more humble, more thankful, more joyful than ever before.

Thank you for sticking with me through another year. I am honored.

Advertisements

Vows

In just a couple short weeks on the 4th of July Kent and I will be celebrating 25 years of marriage.
I will turn 43 right before our anniversary so if you do the math you will quickly figure out that I had JUST turned 18 when we got married. On the 30th of this month we will be heading to Puerto Vallarta with both sets of our parents and our amazing friends to celebrate our anniversary and renew our vows. This is where you come in on the story. When we got married in 1987 writing your own vows was not the phenomenon that it is today (and frankly I was a little clueless on how to really plan a wedding) so we said the vows that were laid out in the little book our officiant used. Our wedding was at noon on the fourth of July and the whole wedding party wore white (If you think of Adam Sandler in the wedding singer you are probably kind of close). It was beautiful and I was thrilled.

I had no idea what the next 25 years would hold, but I knew one thing on that hot day in Moreno Valley, CA, I loved Kent with all my heart and I intended to be with him forever. Everything I knew at that point about marriage I had learned from my parents and grandparents and I had amazing examples. I can tell you though, watching someone else be married and being married are two completely different things. I had no way of fully knowing the amazing, powerful, difficult, glorious, challenging relationship that is marriage until after that day and I am still learning more all the time.

So wow, vows. Yeah.

I have been thinking about them ever since we decided we wanted to take this trip and renew our vows standing on the beach. I have thought and thought and have written n o t h i n g.

Yet.

My struggle is how exactly to put into words all that it means to me to be married to Kent? How do I sum up in feeble speech this spectacular, insane, beautiful ride that has been our life? What can I say to make him understand how I feel about him? It sounds so cheesy but I sometimes wonder if he really gets it.

Don’t get me wrong, we have our oil and water moments. (Let me tell you, being married to me isn’t easy for someone who likes order and organization.) I hate schedules, have messy zones, say yes to too much and live life by the seat of my pants (translation: I am fun to be around but I have a tendency to forget things). Kent is also ridiculously busy and spontaneous but as a general rule he is much more organized than I am (thank God).  Part of our biggest issue is, as we like to say, neither of us makes a good secretary. But I will tell you this. There is no one I would rather spend time with or that I trust and admire more. Kent helps me be my best self.

Kent is the kind of man I want our daughter to marry. It is not because he is perfect. He is not. He knows he is not. It is because though he is the same person I married he has changed in ways I never would have imagined or even known were possible in 1987. Together we have grown through workshops, college, faith communities and just plain living to question what we believe to be true and look at how we come across to others and adjust and shift. I have watched him in the last 25 years become more loving, more accepting, more humble and more wise.

His support of me and my writing this blog blows my mind. He never asked to be part of what was happening here and honestly I didn’t even know what was going to happen when I started Word of a Woman on a whim at the end of last year. But his grace under fire and his defense of me to friends who think I have lost my marbles give me strength to keep going when I feel like writing people off and hanging it up.

Over the years we have moved out of a church home in the dead of night, worked crappy jobs, moved hither and yon, had both our cars die on the same night, lost people we loved, watched our friends get divorced, dropped out of school, had health scares and hurt each other. But we have also made beautiful babies, finished college, drilled wells in El Salvador, lived in San Francisco and New York, driven cross country, danced, stayed up all night, been to Disney World, made love on a private balcony, given away more than one car, planted a church, written a song, made life long friends and grown together.

The last 25 years were more than I bargained for bad and good, but I chose the right partner to share the ride with me and I will happily spend the rest of eternity with him. As a good friend of ours used to say about her husband, “I just can’t imagine my life without Pat Powell!”. Kent and I actually say this exact thing to each other when there are no other words to express how we feel. I know it sounds weird but I think the Powell’s would love that wherever they are. (mental note:scour facebook and find Pat and Mary Powell)

I know what you are thinking, “there you go, you just wrote the vows!” Not quite, but I think I have a good idea where to start now. Thanks for helping me figure it out. I’ll tell you what my lovelies, when we get back from PV I will write another post about our little beach ceremony and share the finished vows with you. In the mean time. Live together and love each other deeply from the heart.