Friday, November 18, 2005

Reason #12: He Was Young and Vigorous...

One of my DH's favorite movies is "The Mask of Zorro." He often uses the analogy of Zorro in his sermons to illustrate how we sometimes place truth before love on our agendas. It is easy to justify using the Sword of truth (God's Word, otherwise known as the Bible) to cut someone all to shreds (figuratively, of course) and then try to show God's love to the "bloody pulp" that is left.

I don't know why my DH liked "Zorro" so much, but I did enjoy the movie. My favorite phrase in the movie is when Antonio Banderas had just left Catherine Zeta-Jones after a memorable sword scene. Flushed and flustered, Elena (Zeta-Jones) tried to explain what had transpired to her "father," who was chasing Zorro (Banderas). In describing her encounter with Zorro, Elena (Zeta-Jones) sputtered, "He was young and vigorous, Father... he was very vigorous!".

Like, Zorro, my husband was once young and vigorous... very vigorous! (I wrote about his physical stature in several previous posts.) He is starting to show the middle-age bulge, and complains about aches and pains in his back that were never there before. As I see him sprouting more gray hairs, and getting more bald, it occurs to me that he is getting old.

I don't know why that comes as such a shock to me. I certainly have been aware of my own gray hairs and saggy body parts, and the general all-over body aches of a pre-menopausal woman. I was hoping, of course, that he didn't notice!

One of the joys of an intimate marriage is the freedom to be "naked and unashamed" in front of each other, just as Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, before they fell in disobedience. Through their sin, we have inherited the effects of the curse: pain, sickness, and death, just to name a few evils.

Growing old is a necessary stage in the cycle of life and death. Physical maturity wasn't designed by the Creator to be ugly and painful. We can only see rare glimpses of the beauty that God intended, like the lacy, transparent skin of a grandma's hands, or the softness of her weather-worn cheeks; or the silver sparkles in her snowy hair. We might notice the tender gruffness of a grandpa's whiskers, or the wisened lines of his forehead, or the curve of his bent shoulders, from carrying the weight of the world far too long.

We are not taught to revere our elders, and respect old age. Mostly, we just fear being naked, and experience the shame of growing old.

I'm thankful that we can both grow old gracefully together. Lord, help me not to take for granted the intimacy we share--it took years to grow. He may have been young and vigorous once, but I will love him even when he is old and weak.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Reason #11: He is very generous.

One day, I saw a car pull into our driveway, shortly after my husband arrived home. I heard the door open, as he went out to greet the couple from our church, so I kept on with my housework. After a while, I heard the door open and close, as my husband came in and went out again. Curious to know the reason for their visit, I looked out the window, just in time to see my husband carrying our microwave oven out to their car! He loaded the appliance into the back of their car and sent them off with a cheery wave.

I met my DH at the door, with a look of consternation on my face. He explained that he ran into the couple at Home Depot, and they were shopping for a new microwave oven. Upon hearing of their need, my darling DH insisted that they follow him home, and take our extra microwave oven. Yes, it was an extra one... yes, it had been given to us... but, still...! That was back in the days when microwave ovens cost over $200, not $59.99!

My DH is generous to a fault. He lives the scripture that if someone asks for your tunic, you should give him your cloak also. He operates under the principle of "Reciprocation": "Give and it shall be given to you". He has blessed so many people with cars, with computers, with gadgets-and he has been blessed in return.

The fault with my husband's huge generosity lies in his failure to communicate with me and to wait for my agreement. He has learned, over the years, that I don't appreciate not being able to find my favorite frying pan because he took it to the church for a men's breakfast. He has also learned that he will spend a few nights "in the doghouse" if he forgets to tell me that he invited someone to stay at our home for a "free Bed & Breakfast" and they show up unannounced.

My DH has a few pet phrases on the subject of possessions. If he senses any greediness or covetousness, he remonstrates, "Hold on to your possessions loosely," and "It's all gonna burn!" That is all true, but it can be very irritating to hear.

He once got into serious trouble with my mother when he "blew up" a hard-boiled egg in her microwave oven, and in a defensive mode, he argued, "It's okay, you can just go out and buy another one!" Again, that was back in the day when it was considered a major purchase.

I do love my DH's very giving spirit. It is so Christ-like to bless others, even sacrificially. And I have learned, over the years, not to hold too tightly to my possessions. After all, "It's all gonna burn." Like the saying goes: "I've never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer."

Lord, help me to follow my DH's example and give generously to others with a willing heart!