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#29 Thank You’s

 

Over the past few years, but especially in the past week, I’ve watched some amazing wives live out their wedding vows pretty flawlessly. They have held and comforted the men who could no longer hold and comfort them. They have said no to attractive distractions so they could say yes to sleepless nights, sorrowful conversations and to-the-bone exhaustion. They walked with their men, not just down a church aisle, but also every step through the Shadowy Valley to gracefully and gratefully drop them off at heaven’s door. And then they turn back to their lives alone. From we to me. From us to I. From cherished companion to cherished memories. They are heroic, beautiful and brave. I would like very much to be like them when I grow up. And so today, on our wedding anniversary, Steve and I salute Debi, Lynn and Mitzy for showing us all how it’s done.

 

And to the man who stole my heart 29 years ago: there has never been another. You have loved and loved hard. Even in the breaking seasons, when everything felt so perilous, I have never had a doubt that this thing we’re doing is real and right and it will matter in eternity. The yes’s we said to each other and the no’s they necessitated have been built like bricks into the walls of our legacy. Our lives have mattered, but our LIFE has mattered. The us of you + me is the best thing I’ve ever been given.

 

Because we gave up on anniversary gifts years ago, and because words matter more to me than flowers, I want to give you a thank you for every year we’ve been married.

 

1. Thank you for fighting so hard for a marriage that wouldn’t sink beneath the waves of culture or compromise or catastrophe.
2. Thank you for trying to teach me to swim. And for not hitting me back when I panicked and hit you.
3. Thank you for going to the store a thousand times through four pregnancies to buy Top Ramen and watermelon.
4. Thank you for Italy. I never would have been brave enough to take that trip without you.
5. Thank you for being such a gracious fighter. It has made all the difference in our marriage and in the way our children view relationships.
6. Thank you for always, always, always believing the best about me. Nothing in my adult life has made me braver than your constant faith in my ability and my dreams.
7. Thank you for teaching our girls how a man treats a woman.
8. Thank you for teaching our son to be a gentleman.
9. Thank you for that one time you left a penny for that waitress who was so terrible to you because it gives us the best story to tell. (And I have to believe it was a good lesson for her.)
10. Thank you for loving Africa, and for teaching me to love it too.
11. Thank you for always making me feel beautiful.
12. Thank you for so many incredible conversations on the River Trail.
13. Thank you for saying yes to so many of my crazy ideas.
14. Thank you for taking such good care of our cars. I’m trying to be better at it. I really, really am.
15. Thank you for being gentle. I didn’t know how much it would matter when I married you…but it really matters.
16. Thank you for being a fast forgiver.
17. Thank you for being a fast apologizer.
18. Thank you for being such a faithful friend to so many.
19. Thank you for loving worship and for teaching our children to love it too.
20. Thank you for taking care of me after four babies and two surgeries.
21. Thank you for taking such good care of those birds outside the patio window.
22. Thank you for wanting to live when so many would rather give up and die.
23. Thank you for always answering your phone, even when it’s hard to speak.
24. Thank you for letting me go away on girls’ weekends and conference weekends and Pam’s-turning-50 weekends.
25. Thank you for doing your own laundry for 48 years.
26. Thank you for never giving up on the church.
27. Thank you for never giving up on your friends.
28. Thank you for never giving up on me.
29. Thank you for never giving up on you.

 

I love you. And in a world where the concept of love is pretty punch-drunk, please know how deeply I mean it. The past few years have proven to me how much I really, really mean it. If nothing else is ever said of me when I leave this life, let it be said: she was married to the very best man – and she knew it.
 

I love you madly,
 

Bo

 

February 1, 2014 - 7:02 pm

Jennifer - Made me cry!! What a beautiful and moving testimony!

February 1, 2014 - 8:02 pm

Allison - Beautiful!

February 2, 2014 - 4:08 am

Jane Lellman - Happy anniversary Bo and Steve! I so appreciate both of you. I miss Jim with my whole heart, but through ALS I was also able to see and say that I loved him with my whole heart when it really mattered. Knowing that takes some of the bitter out of the sweet of the past three years. And yesterday when we found a box labeled by Jim as “Dad’s keepsakes” I was happily able to dig right in and then joyfully discover the first little gift I gave him 42 years ago when he left for basic training. Thanks Bo for putting love into words.

February 2, 2014 - 7:14 am

kathy - So deeply touched. Love come to life in these words. What a beautiful life to share with so many. God bless you both.

February 2, 2014 - 1:28 pm

Michael Wenham - I bet this made Steve cry. It made me cry with gratitude. Thank you for sharing your heart, Bo, and encouraging others of us going through the Shadowy Valley.

February 4, 2014 - 6:43 pm

Henry Cardwell - I also have ALS. Diagnosed April 2012. My wife and I appreciate your book and your stand for our Savior, Jesus. We keep you in our prayers and would like an update of how Steve is doing.
Henry & Julie Cardwell

February 5, 2014 - 10:01 pm

Linda gregoire - Thank you Steve and Bo for sharing you most personnel love story, you both have been examples to those of us blessed enough to call you “friends”. It’s probably not always easy to share so deeply form the heart, but I want to say thank you.. You always have something worthy to share 🙂 oxox happy anniversary to you both <3

February 7, 2014 - 11:15 pm

Lynn - Thank you so much for your sweet words…..It’s so surreal that over a week has passed. I’m not sure how and where those days went so fast. The first of many strange days, in a strange and silent house, with a strange looking future that seems so unattainable. But, with good friends like you, those days will go by quickly until I find my way back onto the path. <3