The Bard famously wrote, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”
Growing up, we’re taught this line from “Romeo and Juliet,” the tale of star-crossed young love gone horribly wrong. Well, today I want to use it to tell a much happier tale. It’s the story of the most amazing woman God has put on this planet since Mary. A woman so incredible that even Shakespeare would have trouble doing her justice. While my skills with a quill are no match for his, I’m about to try.
Nearly a quarter century ago, Linda came into my life, a visage of beauty that left me so awestruck I couldn’t find the words to say “Hello.” But something (God? Fate?) gave me the courage. After a few minutes of conversation, I asked her to dinner. Except, in classic fumble tonguededness, I think I might have asked her to take me to dinner.
No matter. She turned me down cold.
It took two more attempts before she finally said yes. By the end of that summer, we were engaged. And married the next. That was 22+ years ago and in that time, my love for this woman – a love I thought bottomless on our wedding day – has only grown.
But why? What enchantment has she weaved over my heart, my soul, my being that could do this? Oh, I could recount the times she’s stood by my side when things looked black. The times businesses failed, the times my health failed. If you’re reading this, chances are you already about some of these events. While all of those have made my appreciation of her steadfastness grow, they don’t explain the love in my heart.
Could it be her beauty? The years have dulled that shine, as it has to all of us. Despite that, she is still a beautiful woman, in many ways more lovely than that first time I saw the setting sun dance through her hair. Others fade with maturity. Linda has become an ever more wondrous sight to behold each morning when I wake. That beauty may have drawn me like the proverbial moth to a flame, but it doesn’t begin to explain the way I love her today.
Is it her charm? Her wit (and if you’ve been on your receiving end of one of her barbs, you won’t soon forget it)? Is it her ability to put others at ease when uncomfortable?
No. None of that explains it, either.
In the end, it’s inexplicable. I don’t think it needs explaining. You see, what matters – what truly matters, above all – is this one simple fact:
My wife loves me for who I am. All she’s ever asked of me is to be me. All I’ve ever asked of her is to let me love her, as best I can, for as long as she’ll have me. 22+ years later, she’s still ok with that bargain. And with more love than I ever thought I had to give, so am I.
Now for a bit of news: today is Linda’s birthday, and I nothing would make me happier than for all of you to wish her a happy one!