“How is your marriage?”
My friend Alison recently asked me, after the typical chatter died down. There’s not a single person who hasn’t asked me “How are you holding up, Heidi?” But this was the first time since my diagnosis, someone had asked how my marriage was. Frankly, I found it to be a strange question. She must’ve read the perplexed expression on my face, because she followed it up with,
“Struggles like this one can make or break a marriage, you know?”
And I suppose I did know.
But this one is making ours.
I told her the honest truth. That this has been the sweetest 4 months of my life with Dave. That we’re learning more about each others’ fears & joys than any date night over the last 13 years could ever have afforded.
We shaved my head a few weeks ago, just Dave & me in front of our bathroom mirror. Actually, he had me sit on a kitchen chair just outside the mirror so I couldn’t see. He said he wanted to “surprise me.” I said if I wanted that kind of a surprise I’d give my stylist Debra, $200.
I cried the tears that sneak up. The kind you try and pinch away by squeezing your eyes close, hoping they go back to where they came from.
And as he wove the clippers back and forth, he gently worked around my ears, praying over me. Then, he said:
“Do you know that very few men have the chance to do this for their wives? I’m a lucky man.”
That’s what he said. He could’ve said “It’ll grow back.” Which for the record, is a perfectly reasonable and kind thing to say. But instead, he turned something scary, into one of the sweetest moments I’ll never forget.
He made me feel lovely.
But this post isn’t actually about my marriage, it’s about the ones closest to me. Over the last few months, I’ve been a careful observer as the Lord has sent us reinforcements to make us strong where we are weak. He could’ve sent a drone, but instead he sent us you guys.
My sister Anna hasn’t left her family, for any reason, since her daughter Ella Joy was born 9 years ago. Ella has severe disabilities and needs round the clock care. Anna left them last month, 2,000 miles away, to help us. I watched her as she entrusted her husband, Paul, to do all those things only moms know how to do. And she beamed over him, bragging about him – so proud. And he, so lifted up, because she trusted him.
My mom is here with us during my chemo. My dad gave her his blessing to come and stay for several months, which is a big deal for a guy whose prowess in the kitchen involves nuking Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits. Nearly every night, he texts her a picture of the sunset over their lake house with a simple “ILY”. I am watching their 50 year marriage root down and bloom into new shades that are more brilliant than ever before.
There are more, so many more I don’t have the space, or your attention span, to write about. But I’m thanking God in this moment that when we have to batten down the hatches when life gets rough, He doesn’t leave us alone. He doesn’t leave us to figure it out by ourselves. He’s so close. But he also knows we are like little children and when we can’t see Him, can’t hear Him, we lose faith. That’s when he sends us reinforcements.
Thank you, Reinforcements, I love you guys!