I knew by taking on this challenge of writing about my blessings and what I am thankful for I would encounter obstacles. I just didn't realize they would come so soon. Election time is hard. Our society has made it out to be a "do or die" situation. Every election it feels as if the future of our country rests on this very election. It then causes a panic when the election doesn't go your way. People get worried that everything will change and of course for the worse. I get tired of it. I get tired of the name calling on the TV ads. I am tired of "Us vs. Them". It doesn't work. We learned that in kindergarten but forgot it somewhere along the way. So this is my obstacle today. Negativity. But I will overcome it and look toward what I am thankful for today. I hope you are reading this and thinking as well, since no one but Joy is sharing your blessings. ~hint hint~
Today I want to focus on my husband. I met Jack when I was only 18 years old. He did not make the best impression on me, but there was always something....something I couldn't put my finger on. He dressed atrociously, which back then counted a lot...okay, still does, and he stood me up for a "prayer meeting". (We were prayer partners in BSU) After a year of being aware of him and him being aware of me, he made his move. Thank goodness I was smart enough to not let his painter's overalls and torn slippers influence my decision. I said yes, and the rest as they say is history.
We married at 21. Now stop a minute and remember yourself at 21.......really stop and remember....do see any resemblance to who you are today? Not me! Well, yes, of course there are some similarities, but many of the big things have changed in my life. The same is true of Jack. He is VERY different than he was back then. But we have changed together.
I give Jack a lot of credit for us being together today and still so in love. He pushed us to go out on dates, to go away for weekends, to stay connected. When we had children, he was able to see into the future how we needed to stay strong, so he fought for time away from the babies. He was right. I am so grateful that he had that insight.
Jack knew from the beginning that I was sick. But neither he nor I had any idea what lay in store for me. Some men would have left, it would have been too much for them. There were years where I had many more sick days than good days. But he hung in there. He was always there for me. He learned how to be my advocate and get me what I needed before I could even articulate it myself. In those times, I can relax and know that it is all okay in his hands. That is a blessing. To not have to worry about the kids, what is going on at home or keep up with the meds and what drs. are saying, but to just rest and heal. Then he stepped up again and took the entire burden of earning for our family on himself. He saw that I needed to quit working and made it possible.
Jack has always seen the best in me. He sees things in me that I don't always see, and he tells me. Miraculously, I often live up to just that. I am a better person being with him.
He makes me laugh. His humor has gotten us through many, many, many dark days. He is witty and even though I don't always get his jokes, I so appreciate the effort.
He has embraced all my quirkiness and learned to love, or at least tolerate, my weirdness. He just goes along with me at night when I make up the bed to then turn down the covers to crawl in. He just lets me crawl up on his lap and holds me when the world just seems like to much. He enjoys my silliness, and praises my attempts at crafts. He knows I need order and plans. He tries to accommodate but also helps me see that plans and order aren't the most important things in life.
He has been the best partner in parenting. He has helped to soften my edginess and my strictness. He values me and my intuition with the kids. He makes a conscious effort to be a part of both kid's lives. And again, his humor in parenting has saved us many times.
I love Jack. He is my best friend. He is the one I want to tell all my secrets, my sorrows and all my joys. His hand is the one I want to hold when I am scared, sad, or joyful. His face is the one I look for in crowds. He is the one that makes my heart go pitter patter even after 25 years.
Before everyone is throwing up, I realize that many of you aren't at the same place as I am in your marriage. I would like to make a couple of points which lead to the main thing I am thankful for in Jack McKinney.
One, it has not always been like it is now. We have had some really rough patches. Being chronically ill causes a strain on even the best marriages. Having children and being a minister causes ENORMOUS strains on our marriage. All the changes we have grown through have caused some difficult discussions and difficult times in our marriage.
Two, Jack is not perfect. I am not perfect. But we are both committed to make this marriage work. So, we have done some very hard work in our marriage. It has not been all hearts and happy. It is hard work, and we have done our share.
But here is the most important thing about Jack McKinney, he has never given up on me or us. I am so thankful that 26 years ago, he was brave enough to ask me out and I was smart enough to say yes.
I love you, Jack and am so very thankful for everything.
What are you thankful for today? Will you be brave enough to share?