than when I share stories
or plead for your mercy on others.
Yesterday, October 13, was my fifth anniversary!
Five years ago I made a choice
to stop living for myself
and to marry the woman I loved,
but in truth it was she who gave me the honor.
You see, my love knew of my situation...
the likelihood of my incarceration,
and made the decision to marry me anyway.
Can you comprehend this?
In my foolishness I had driven drunk and injured two people
and now faced an unavoidable felony sentence in prison.
Could you have done the same?
We may think that our love for someone else
could be so pure, so strong...
that we could endure any hardship,
the difficult times away from one another.
But more than four years??
Was she naive? Simpleminded perhaps??
Once I was there, serving my time
the guys I lived with told me what to expect
that “a good woman can wait one year,
and maybe a real good woman will last two,
but not more than four.”
And thus an expectation was set.
And while I could say that “they” knew too little
to give me ‘advice’ on relationships
their tales sounded much like the stories I had heard
when I served five years in the military:
That people cannot wait to live their lives
on the other side of fear and uncertainty,
especially when they want a family.
Could I survive?
Would I be incomprehensibly altered?
Somehow changed deep down inside
and unwilling to be around her after,
or even unable to father children after?
Yet she risked it,
and gave up her own will for a time.
As did we both.
For years we had lived in stubborn pride,
unwilling to move forward
because in our relationship
everything had to be about the “me”,
and then all of a sudden, we changed.
We gave up our self-focused, self-absorbed lives.
And we gave God the opportunity to use us
to guide and lead us into a new way of loving one another.
Then something happened that we never knew was possible;
the “What-If” occurred...
What-if, I lived for her and she lived me....
and what if we dedicated ourselves to God
and trusted Him in this marriage?
What if we gave up our own selfishness
and gave more of ourselves where it matters most
to love another more than ourself?
So on Friday, October 13th, 2007 we were married.
I gave her all I had: my money, house, auto, my love,
and she gave me more than I could ask,
all her heart, all her time, and all her future.
And our hope was in the plans God had for us,
and our trust in Him has carried us through.