I have always wanted to write an “open letter” but I can’t bring myself to be that publicly negative (most open letters are negative). So, I decided, this week to write an open letter to my bride. Here it is:
Over the past week, my dear, you have been hanging ten in California. Okay…the “hanging ten” may not be accurate…but that is how we picture it while we are in Indiana scraping ice off our windshields. While you have been enjoying time with family, I have had the exciting and ever-busy task of holding down the fort at home. Over the past week, while balancing my normal responsibilities along with your normal responsibilities (which…is like twice…okay, three times…okay, who am I kidding, it is like ten times the amount of responsibility that I typically have) I have learned a few things.
I guess I haven’t really learned these things. I already knew them…they have just been brought to the forefront once again. And while I sit here as one child naps and the other watches Monsters University, I realize that you are probably not aware in the least bit that these things are true. So…allow me to express to you (and I guess, by nature of an “open letter”, the world) the realities that you are unaware of or unwilling to admit.
1. You fuel my dreams. You know I am a dreamer. I like to call it big-pictured…but it is really just another term for dreamer. I like to think big. I like to dream about our future, the Church’s future, and our kids’ future. My mind is always in the future…rarely in the present…and never in the past. However, when you are gone and I am not blessed by your presence…something is missing. I have struggled putting my finger on it. Maybe it is a part of my heart. Maybe it is a bit of my passion. Maybe it is a bit of my drive. In the end…I think it is a little of everything. And when you add all those together, I discover that what is missing is my ability to dream. You see…YOU my darling…provide the fuel to dream. Your smile, your laughter, your unwavering support, your commitment, and everything else that makes me melt (some of which would be inappropriate for an open letter) serves as the source of my dreams. I dream because I have you. Because when I have you there seems to be nothing out of reach. Just a bunch of really cool stuff that will never compare to the amazing dream of being with you.
2. You are my joy. We have always had the family value of having fun. We have never struggled with that and neither have our kids. I am very proud that we have established that as a central part of our family. However, I think that the drawback of that is that we often mistake happiness and fun for joy. You see, I think joy is different. I believe that joy is something that comes from deep inside of us. Where our soul resides is where we find the source of joy. I can do many things and be with many people and have fun and happiness with them. But that is not joy. Joy is deeper. Joy is present even when happiness and fun are not. Joy is what shines through in the midst of trial, conflict, anger, disappointment, and stress. Joy is that thing, that no matter what is going on, makes me want to be with you. There has never been a time in our marriage that I did not want to be with you. Do you make me happy? All the time! Do I have fun with you? A blast! Those are easy questions. Do you bring me joy? Great joy! Amazing joy! Deep, passionate joy! Thank you for bringing more than happiness and fun to my life. Thank you for joy.
3. You are my partner. So this solo parenting thing sucks! Don’t get me wrong. I am a good dad. I know that. I can handle everything on my own when I need to. That is not a problem. The problem is…doing it alone is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination. I honestly don’t know how single parents do it (kudos to all those who do!). The kids are fed, they are bathed (occasionally), they are well-rested, and nothing is broken (yet). As I prayed with the kids last night, Maggie said that she couldn’t wait until you got home. At first, this is a shot to a dude’s ego. However, after thinking about it, I think she knows what I know. Neither one of us are able to be the parents that we desire to be alone. Your partnership with me makes me a better dad. I don’t want to say that I am an amazing dad (that would be selling myself short) but when we work together as partners in this family…I think we both excel. You have told me on a number of occasions that I am a great dad. Thank you for saying that. You need to know, however, that I can only be the great dad that you see because you are the wife and mother that you are. If you believe that I am a great dad…then that is a victory for mom! Thank you for being an amazing mom…and making me an great dad.
4. You are a constant security. You know when we took that assessment that said I LOVED change and you HATED change? We are polar opposites in that area. Well…I realized something. I do love change and I am willing to jump headlong into change for one reason. Because you are next to me. It never seems to matter what happens or what I am struggling with. When I lay in bed and roll over to see you there beside me…none of it matters. It truly doesn’t because I know that this wonderful, beautiful, and loving woman is by my side. You have proved that time and time again. We have moved every 2 years of our 8.5 years of marriage. That is a lot of change and they all had to do with my ministry. You may think I am bold and adventurous with change. The truth of the matter is, you are my security. No matter what changes…I know that you are there. Thank you for being a source of strength in my life and allowing me to embrace change.
5. **********************. Okay…#5 is private and not for public viewing. I mean come on…my mother may read this! Babe, we will talk about this one when you return. ;)
I know you and because I know you, I know that you are unaware of the true impact that you have in my life. They say that behind every good man is a great woman. I always thought that was a bunch of crap when I was single. Now…as much as it pains my ego to say it…it is true. Thank you for being my great woman. It is now my life-mission to help you understand how great you are.
If it helps…something was written long ago that reminds me of you every time I read it. I hope you know that when I read these words…I see you.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
P.S. – Come home soon, the dishes need your attention. I am kidding…but seriously…come home soon!