Stone asks ….

I sit on the kitchen counter and he leans right into me. Or will back me right up against the washing machine. He pulls me in close at the bike trail. He gets my attention to tell me
that he loves me.

His eyes dart away as he drives. He says he cannot look. If he looks me in the eye for too long, he is distracted from the task at hand. So, he must look away. I can’t fathom. Really?

He tells me, “Your eyes are beautiful.”  When he first told me, I blushed a simple thank you. The thought renders me speechless. Nobody has ever told me this. I think my eyes … are quite average and plain. Average lashes, lackluster color, small in size … they’re just not outstanding.
But, he thinks them beautiful *wrinkles brow* … and he tells me often.
He tells me, “I can’t believe nobody has ever told you.”
I think, “I can’t believe that you think they are beautiful.”

Ever-so-gently, he s.l.o.w.l.y outlines the oval of my face.
He tenderly runs his tall middle fingers from the part atop my head,
across my forehead and temples and down the hollows of my cheeks
until they meet under my chin.
“I like this,” he says. “I like that you don’t color your hair. It’s natural. I like the gray.
Don’t cover it. Don’t color it.
I like that you have these beautiful wrinkles here,” as he softly traces around my eyes.
I have not asked or fretted. I have not mentioned my gray or my thinning flesh.
I am comfortable in my covering of skin.
He is not reassuring me of doubts that I have revealed. He is instigating these expressions
of admiration
and frankly, I am … hollow with surprise …
After all these years of striving to be what another man wanted
and coming up short,
I now find myself
admired for what I deem average …
yet he loves me … in spite of me?

God is telling me that I can be loved, real as I am … gray and all …
warts and moles, belly fat and dry skin, selfish heart and self-centered attitude.
I do not have to be “perfect” … I can just be me.
I am thankful …

… and overwhelmed.

He has not run away when things get stinky
with our hodge-podge mix of offspring
and our own collection of personal baggage.
He is accustomed to a quiet, tidy, orderly home and life.
I appear disheveled.
Overwhelmed would be a better description ….
my children, my home, my life, my attitude …. are all a work in progress.
But, he has not run away.

Even when he visits our home,
he doesn’t seem to mind the birds chirping and molting
scattered blue and white striped feathers gracing the floor under the hutch.
He may even accept my Mudger, though Stone is NOT a cat-man.
And he adores Dulcie … he even asks me to bring her to Atlanta or camping next time.
I scratch my head in wonder. Really?
There is always noise with us.
The big kids, Joy and I, when combined, are a raucous bunch.
James tickles Jet, squirming on the floor. Joy screams and plucks instruments.
Glory is always loud. She does this silly little dance in the kitchen.
I sing … all the time … music following me from room to room …
Bose speakers in one room, iHome in another, my phone always playing a tune.
And he hasn’t run away. I am amazed.

Stone asks over and over ….
“You know that I love you, right?”
It moves me.
He doesn’t just parrot the phrase BACK to me
because I have first made the statement … NO!
He does not say, “I love you,” with a p.e.r.i.o.d.
He  i.n.i.t.i.a.t.e.s his feelings in question form
so that I must reply.
Did you see that? Did you? HE asks ME a question. I swoon.
He does this often … in the grocery store, the kitchen and on the trails.
I am bowled over by this … not an act of man,
but a gift from God … a reminder to me
that this man was hand-picked by a loving Father
specifically for me … the two of us complimenting each other’s
strengths and weaknesses.
To another, this simple question would mean nothing; to me, it means the world.
It is an amazing thing.

He loves me where we are the same:
patient, health oriented, positive attitude, frugal,
gifted to teach, creative in the kitchen, God-seeking, servant’s heart,
lovers of camping, biking, swimming, and God’s creation,…..

And he loves me where we are not similar, though I know it’s much more difficult:
He skims over the emotional because it’s work … and somehow feels unnecessary?
I look deeper, dig, analyze, turn over rocks. I hunt, search and want to talk …
because to me, it is as e.s.s.e.n.t.i.a.l to understanding.
It is not enough to know “that” … I must know “why?”
As a Geologist, he analyzes data.
As a writer, I analyze emotions, motivations and intentions.
The two are far from one in the same.
But, he has not run away …
in fact, he stays
and is willing to work through the messy.

And I rejoice.
He leans right into me, he backs me up, he pulls me close.
He asks me questions. He sticks it out. He loves me … wrinkles and gray.
And I am comfortable, hollow and overwhelmed with gratitude
all at once.

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