Yesterday was Bill’s b-day. I’ve come here to FB to post a birthday something or other for him about a dozen times, but nothing comes out right. Or it sounds too much like what I said last year or the year before. And I don’t care so much about what people reading might think – it’s that I want to have something to say that expresses to HIM the real reality of my love for and adoration of him.
I scrolled through my phone to find some good pics of this last year. Finger flick after finger flick reminded me of the difficulty of this past year. Stuff that doesn’t make it to FB posts and only your closest friends really know about. But those memories are hidden in our photos. The stories that only he and I and maybe our kids know.
We were out to dinner last night talking about 2019 and what we hope the year will bring. We spent a bit of time reminiscing about 2018. Its highs and its gut-punching lows. About how unfair life is sometimes and how it could be easy to question the whole “you’re a good, good Father” song we sing so easily on Sunday morning if you weren’t constantly on guard for that sort of fallacy. And yet, once we pulled down the layers of the unfair bits of 2018, it was easy to see the inside pieces of blessing and joy and private victory.
Bill is a good, good father. He is a good, good husband too, but as I scrolled through my phone, I was bombarded by the depth of what a good dad he is. Photo after photo of his presence in their lives. Our talk last night resonated with me in a different way. God’s faithfulness to us is often fleshed out through Bill. Through his constancy and faithfulness. Through his steadfastness. He’s not god nor would he even want me to project an image of him that is perfection. But he is steady and dependable. He is a rock. He is kind and gentle and present. He is funny and fills the kids’ lives with laughter. He is who they run to when things aren’t going right. When unfair things crash down around them, he is the one who tries to help them make sense of it. When trouble comes at the midnight hour (which has happened more than once to us this year), he rushes to their aid.
This morning, two friends of mine are met with peril. One peril passed, and he will live another day. One peril looms, and she likely will not. Apparently a car crash is more forgiving than a pair of failing lungs. And while I want to say of my friend who walked away from his rolled and burned up van this morning that God is “so good and so faithful”, I can’t. I can’t because it’s only partial truth to imagine that faithfulness only looks like getting out of scrapes. Is God not faithful to my friend who is dying today? Is He not faithful to her husband and children as well? Is He not with them as this epic lifelong heartache builds like a tidal wave rushing to crash upon them sometime today?
And I see this in my husband as well. How many hard things have come our way this year that we have had to stand back and allow? And yet, even in the allowing, there is steadfastness.
Faithfulness is a tricky thing. We want to think it only means happiness. We want to think that it might mean that the executor of faithfulness has a magic wand that is waved over our troubles and then we are spared. But when they happen… what then? Is that not faithfulness as well? Is that not steadfastness as well?
Bill, I’m sure it will take me the rest of my life to understand how and why you chose to love me and my four the way you do, but we are forever grateful for your good, good heart that reminds me so very much of the heart of our good, good Father. Thank you for trekking with me, with us, during the painful lows this year. For being there. For presence. For patience. For strength. For purpose. For forbearance. For being our human rock. Thank you for knowing when to hide us from trouble and for knowing when to let pressure make us stronger. You are our hero. We love you and hope for you the happiest of 47th years.
Also, you can take Delaney ice-fishing. I’m telling the whole world so I won’t change my mind. Again. Ha!!