In Praise of Him…

I saw him at church. He wore overalls, cowboy boots and an unspeakably sad expression on his face. He didn’t see me, on account that he was always looking at his feet.

He had come to the church before I had, and it was rumored that he was waiting, hoping and praying that his wife would come back, they had a baby girl. He held her in the back pew on the left side, someday, they said, he was hoping he would hold her there too.

He was a good man I could see, rather sad and shy, but good. Shame seemed to have left its shadow, I know, cause I see things like that. I had been divorced long enough to wish for him to get his family back. She must be something, I thought… to wait that long, to still want her back. Turns out she is.

I didn’t mind him much… passed in the aisle and gave a farmers nod he did, real shy like. One night he stood before the congregation and he poured out his heart in his profession of faith. I, still a young woman, was utterly captured by his vulnerability, transparency, and faith as he spoke. Many years later, he told me that he had spoken with such crushing vulnerability, in the hopes his wife would hear – I did.

I became his wife three years after his first marriage was ripped apart. It is funny how I can still grieve for him, for her, for their girl – even though I’m unspeakably glad that I get to love him. Love never stops wanting what is or what would have been best for the beloved, even if that wasn’t me. I love him deep. 

When it came round to being that we might be both thinking on each other in a loving sort of way… we took pre-marriage counseling first, cause we were both so stinking scared. You see we both had babies, both had our first marriages blown to bits, and we were both pretty gun-shy to do it again.

“You see the thing is,” I told him one night… “I have never really known sexual purity, even as a girl.” I was wondering if he would mind very much if we didn’t kiss until we said I do. He thought that would be real nice like… and we made that agreement – and so it was.

He leaned down once that ring was on my finger and kissed me full on the lips. I was His and He was mine. And we meant it.

We married in August and his birthday was in September. For his birthday that year, he took me shopping… I had hardly any clothes. I had lots of heart, but little help. I recall he bought me lovely clothes, a leather jacket and TWO pairs of shoes. I wept with joy then… I weep now with remembering.

He doesn’t know quit that man, and he’s a giver you see. He gives what he knows how to give, and that has been resources, a helping hand and truckloads of hard work. It has gotten him sorely used, especially by church folks – but I wouldn’t change that part of his heart for anything. He is learning to give himself too, his self is more precious than any riches, and he is beautiful to me.

We each had a child when we married, and had three children together, two are here now, and one in heaven. He is a good father, a damn good one. He tries every day to know them and let them know him. We cared for someone else’s girl late in the game. He has loved her right good too.

He goes, every day to work. He is smart and right good at what he does. He takes care of his employees, because he values his men, in fact, he takes good care of everything, including me. There is not much that I can give him, that he can’t get without me, but he lets me love him good, and I sure try.

We have plans you see. We are gonna raise up these last two babies, launch the other three and then there is this little place on the coast. It is a shack right now, but someday it will be a sweet little cottage by the sea.

He’ll be there, and I will be too – he and me – by the sea.