Monday, February 23, 2015

Finding Joy in Our Love

Dear Girls,

This afternoon, as our car winded over back roads and sliced through the dirty slush that was beautiful white snow just yesterday, I found that the road conditions were but a reflection of my mood.

I woke up in a funk; the kind that's hard to shake despite all the prayer, positive thoughts, and sheer self-will I could muster.  I can't stand being in this state of mind.  And I find that when it comes on, just the thought of being in it frustrates me even more.

Perhaps I should've stayed home.  I thought maybe some fresh air would be good to lift my spirits, but I regretted it right away when I realized how nasty of a mess things were outside.  I glared at the puddles and frowned at the blackened snow along the sides of the road.

Dad held my hand and squeezed it every now and then.  He asked me over and over if I was ok, and each time I answered him flatly that I would be.  I hadn't let on, but I was so grateful for the hand-holding.  His strong but gentle grasp seemed to almost anchor me in reality and prevent me from spiraling too far down into my own misery.

He was upbeat.  Relentlessly upbeat.  It filled in the gaps of what I was able to be for you today, but it also agitated me at times, I'm ashamed to admit.  In his determination to remain cheerful, he refused to restrain himself from swerving into every puddle we encountered.  It sent you girls into fits of giggles and even inspired an impressed "WHOA!  That was awesome!" when the splashes were significant enough.

I, in my determination to remain very un-cheerful, looked over at him and stared at him blankly, sure that he knew full-well what my stare meant.  Unlike our girls, I was unimpressed.

Unwavering in his demeanor, he grinned at me wide, obviously pleased with himself.  "What?!" he said.  "I just sincerely find joy in that!"

I turned away and resumed my icy stare out the window.  He's taken joy in splashing through the puddles in our car for as long as I've known him.  Often he will engage in this activity during warm weather when my window is wide open, and I've gotten the brunt of his follies on many an occasion.  I think he finds satisfaction in my shooting him the stink-eye when he does this, but he always claims he does it to 'do his part to help prevent flooding.'

I wished I could find joy today.  In anything.  I wished I wasn't uncomfortably pregnant with hormones raging, unchecked, throughout my body.  I wished I could force myself to remember how badly I wished to be pregnant just months ago.  I wished I could just crawl into a hole and not come back out until this mood had passed.

Dad took his hand away to adjust the volume on the radio.  He then adjusted his position and started using that hand to steer with.   

And I so wished he would reach over and take my hand again.

He did moments later and gave it another squeeze, but I realized in that window of time that although I was unable to outwardly appear playful or bubbly, I did find joy in something.  The quiet, peaceful joy you experience within a love like ours.  I take joy in our love.

A love that isn't loud or exuberant most days, but unassuming and humble.  The kind of love that doesn't have to apologize for or explain the misery.  The kind of love that's just willing to see you through it.  One so deep that he could love me when I'm so unlovable.  One that's grown to understand that love is a choice to act, and not a feeling.  I marvel that I am on the receiving end of something so sacred, and am eager to return it.

I take joy in a love that is patient enough to let the storm clouds roll by and get us through the valleys.  I take joy in our love because it's one that's been slowly morphing us into better versions of ourselves over the past decade; versions of ourselves that better resemble our Creator.

I take joy in a love where so much can be expressed with the squeeze of a hand.

As I sit here trying to sort out my feelings, I hear splashing and shrieks and giggles coming from the bathroom upstairs.  He's ordered me to sit a while and relax while he bathes you, Katie.  I realize I'm completely undeserving of a love like this one.  Undeserving, yes.  But very, very, thankful.

I pray every day that you girls will one day experience a love like ours.


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