It is almost that time again ... time to break out the hearts and flowers, the strolling violins, the Valentines and the chocolate-dipped strawberries.
How, I ask you, can it possibly be nearly Valentine's Day, 2015? I am fairly sure that I only finished putting away the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers yesterday. Can't put away the turkey, I'm married to him.
Seriously, well sort of, this is the guy who did BOTH of the following things in the same year.
We were having dinner at a nice little restaurant, one that was a tad over our usual budgeted fare. White linen table cloths , dimly lit candles, a reputation for fine food. I left the table briefly and when I returned there beside my plate in sweet repose lay a single long-stemmed red rose. Sighhhhhhhh.......
However, on my birthday that year, I desperately needed a pick-me-up, as life was hard on the job, and harder at home. You know what I mean - you have had that same kind of week, or month, or life.
He knows I love flowers. Any kind. All kinds. Long-stemmed, short-stemmed, single-blossomed, double-blossomed. Never met a flower I didn't like. Okay, there was that one overpowering gardenia that just about put me into cardiac arrest, and a couple of stubborn calendulas that insisted on developing black spot every time I turned around.
Still, ninety-nine times out of one hundred, give me a bouquet and I'll give you my heart.
My birthday arrived and my darling husband produced not a nosegay nor a bouquet. Not a posy nor even one of those paltry little half-wilted flower arrangements you can buy at Safeway for $4.99. Nope.
With a little flourish of delight in his own thoughtfulness, he proudly placed a STEP STOOL in front of my wondering eyes. A very sturdy, Stanley, step stool.
A whaaaaat? You read it right.
Come on, honey. For pitiful sakes. I already know that I am short. Short-sighted, short-limbed, and in that heart-wrenching moment, short-tempered!
But here is the funny thing. I have no memory at all, none, of what I did with that rose. I suppose I must have tossed it the next day - either that, or left it on the backseat of the car to wilt.
But that little step stool - I must have used that thing at least three times a day for the next twenty years. I really did not appreciate his gift at the time, because I could not help but compare what I got with what I had hoped for. # # # # #
I have done that with God more than a few times over the years. He would give me some truly useful tool in my life, something I could get years of mileage out of; and I would spend six months pining for the fragrance of what I had "hoped for" but never received. Finally I would stumble over the unassuming tool God had given me to use, and guess what?
It was a thing of pragmatic beauty. A handy-dandy way to get a handle on my faith, or latch onto a fistful of His promises in a fresh new way. And I had almost missed it.
# # # # #
We have been married for a little over a quarter of a century now. This year who knows? Maybe it will be two-dozen red roses, or maybe it will be a short-handled spade for his gardener/wife. Either way, I plan to smile and say, "Thank you."
(Lord, please help me to take the same attitude with you, the next time you hand me a pan when I was hoping for a parade.)
Until next time, your grateful gardener, Marsha