Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Happy Birthday, Linda!

February 23, 2016

It's sometimes hard to remember the way it used to be. Linda and I have been married for more than two-thirds of our lives. What was it like to be young and single? While I'd like to try the young again (of course, with the experience of the intervening years), I cannot and don't want to imagine single. Had something happened to one of us early on, either she or I would probably have considered marrying again, but now, she has so completely stamped her image upon every aspect of my life that there is no way I could escape it, and no way anyone else could begin to fill that "Linda-shaped" place in my heart.

As I write, next to me sits a photo of her leaning in to me, eyes closed as I kiss her forehead. Youthfulness has long departed, but the youthful love that brought us together has only grown. I say this as a confirmed realist. I'm no romantic. I don't deal well in the currency of feelings. But I know what it means to want another's well-being above my own; the deep satisfaction that comes from doing or saying something that pleases the other.

Our society sells sex mislabeled as love; foolish people young and old fork over their souls like so many coins in hopes that in physical coupling they can find spiritual fulfillment. To some degree, it's possible. God made us physical beings, declaring it good. And he designed the sexual union to be so emotionally and spiritually charged that it helps cement the bond necessary to keep couples together long enough to create the conditions needed for children to grow healthy and strong. But apart from a life-long "till death do us part" commitment, that binding turns to bondage, ensnaring people in a never ending quest for the next encounter, the next turn-on that never comes and never lasts.

With the passing years, the desire that brought us together has slowly morphed into a pleasure and fulfillment that encompasses both body and soul, bringing us to that Scriptural place where "the two [have become] one." Linda is as much a part of me as my arms and legs, perhaps even more so, for I could live without arms or legs, but I'm not so sure I could live without her. Exist, maybe, but not really live. Today I am thankful for this woman born on this day many years ago, and for her willingness to endure my faults and failures, and through it all - good and not so good - blessing me beyond measure.

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