A Missionary Love Story
If you find yourself as fortunate as I am don't let this day pass. Tell her just how much she's loved by you. Remind her how thankful you are that she is in your life.
October has a way off making Renee and I remember. It's a lost art that I am personally trying to reclaim: remembrance. My near sightedness and relentless pursuit of our families calling makes me more often than not the kind of husband that is always moving forward. Sure, the speed varies but weather we inch or run the Smith family goes forward and deeper every day. I think she likes that about me.
Picture mid October in central Vermont with me. Focus on it. Close your eyes and dream of Vermont in all its fall glory. Don't worry if you've never been there yourself, it is as magical as you think it is and then much much more. I recall the crisp air that makes your cheeks blush and your nose run. I remember the wet colorful leaves on slick white marble steps and slate entrance ways. I can smell the aroma of seasoned hardwood smoke from a newly lit wood stove as the first sparks fly. In fall I tended to drink coffee too late in the evening because the draw of family around the table grew stronger and stronger as the seasons marched toward winter. Fall means crisp apples in the orchards and the smell that only rich composting soil makes when it is wet and cool. Just like clockwork, the busyness of the summer is exchanged for the togetherness of autumn.
In this context Renee and I first meet 15 years ago.
Imagine if we had crossed paths earlier. How easily the speed of summer could have brushed us past each other. Distracted by the plans for vacation or with the freedom of the 4th of July. How near to not being seen by her was I , in the heat of the summer hayfield and the rolled up car windows to keep in the A/C. Even the longer days themselves were set against the fanning of our young steamy romance. And yet, one fall morning in Vermont we were seen by each other.
It didn't take long and with the sound advice that " life is for the livin' not the ponderin" we dated fast and often. 9 months later I married my best friend in the throes of a busy summer in a black suit in an open green hayfield.
Now, in the fall of our 15th year of marriage, I remember. It takes effort and purpose to remember. It takes time and patience to remember. But most of all it takes others to remember. Can you recall a time when you told a story that you have earned in a room with other people whom are also in that story. I sure can! It never fails that when a story is told collectively it is made all the more sharp and colorful. The details are crisp and alive and the typical blemishes that we add are driven out with force and laughter. No way, that's not how that happened. I never said that ! What I said was.... Remembrance isn't solitary just like marriage isn't. Left to our own thoughts we recreate our version of memories but in community there is authenticity to remembrance.
I've been home for the past 2 weeks off work to undergo some long overdue and extensive sinus surgery. It's been a privilege to see in the past few weeks, Renee and the way she orders her day. From the moment she gets up until late in the evening my wife tells an ongoing story of love through self sacrifice. She will quickly pull her hair back but take time to braid Layla's. She will stand in the kitchen and eat while she makes a hot meal for Seamus as they go out the door. She writes a meal plan and goes shopping for us, pays the bills for us, bakes treats for us , cleans our home for us and the list goes on and on. When I asked her why she does it? She replies simply "because I love you". But Honey are you happy? She leans her head on my shoulder and slides her fingers through the gaps in my pearl snap shirt, and just when I get a whiff of her Garnier Fructis conditioner, she says "happy, ha! I am in love ".
You see as the the pace quickened in our early dating years, Renee put the brakes on as much as she possibly could. She put me at arms length and said that there was an issue. She loved another already. Her love was fierce and patient. She told me the love she had for our savior and Lord Jesus Christ and told me that no one would ever come between that relationship. Even now she reminds me that she learns to love from her creator. Don't miss this friend, just like all good stories Renee invited me into this story. Welcoming me into a relationship grounded in faith and steeped in His goodness produces love. The apostle Paul describes it so much better than I do.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
1 Corinthians 13
The love of my life learned how to love from the one who created love itself. It is with that same effort that she loves her family, and through this we are both closer to our creator.
Thank you Renee