I've barely blogged this summer. I've been so busy....living. But it was so nice on Monday, our 14th anniversary, to look back and think about what we did and how we've grown and changed...I knew I had to come back to blogging and try to put into words something to look back on next year.
Robb was able to get away from work for the afternoon and we headed over to Eureka Springs. Robb told me to take along a bunch of business cards...so I can get into a gallery there. It's one of those things we talk about, but I never actually go and do. Robb just believes in me and my work so much he wanted to make that happen. That was kind of wonderful. There were two possibilities that seemed like a good fit for my work...I will keep you posted.
After a huge lunch at the Garden Bistro, which had wonderful food but lousy service, we were too full for dinner. Instead, we made a run to Orange Mango, a new favorite place a young couple at church introduced us to. It is a self serve ice-cream place with lowfat icecreams and healthy (and some non healthy) toppings. It was the perfect "dinner."
At home, standing in the kitchen we were chatting. I asked him,
"Who do you think you would have become if we hadn't gotten married?" His answer made me laugh. And I countered with what Robb called the quote of the night....
"I would have had an affair by now....probably with you."
"I'm totally serious. I would have cracked. In the old way of the churches we were a part of. I know how my anxiety and perfectionism and workaholicism (if that's not a word, it should be!) would have played out. I couldn't have kept up the game. I would have bolted....tried to escape somewhere...."
"What makes me so different?" he asked.
It's a hard question. It shouldn't be, but it is. Maybe it's the familiarity that you get with someone after almost 17 years of interacting on a daily basis, the kind of thing that makes it hard to figure out where you end and they begin. But I found the answer...
"You are the only person who offered me grace. Who not only offered it, but said it was the only way. Everybody else either was disappointed with me when I messed up, or said I was really a good girl and not so bad. But you would say, 'Yeah, you messed up bad, you do wrong things, but that's good because then you can rely on God's grace and not anything else.' " Over the years, it seemed like an easy way out at first. And then it irritated me. And then it transformed me. Because I fail. I fail desperately. I'm "better than" some people according to some standards, but I'm desperately flawed. And he knows it. And he loves me. Because he is flawed and knows God's grace covers him too. And so he naturally extends it to me. I can't even recall all the times I squirmed and tried to cover and was defensive of my anger, bitterness, and mostly pride, and then I just dropped my bravado and admitted my struggle to Robb, fully expecting him to be disgusted, only to have him reach out and love me instead and tell me that there is enough grace to cover it. The sheer consistency of his profound belief in grace moves me more than I can say.
He was puzzled by my answer a bit. It is so much what he believes that he doesn't realize how profound it it is. But the longer we're married, the more we discover that many relationships don't work around this. They work through many other constitutions and contracts. They work on teeter totters of "you give me what I need and I'll give you what you need." They fail to transform one another. They seek to change the other for their own comfort, not transform one another to become as God steadily dreams of them.
I remember the moment I watched him teach a chapel in college. He was a sophomore. I was a freshman. I didn't even know if I liked him or not. Maybe it was just a flirtation for me until then....somebody to spend time with until I could go home and get back to my real life. But I had the thought, " I HAVE to know where he goes in life." The curiosity was overwhelming. Like a side road I never expected would come out the way it did...my husband still intrigues and surprises me.