Every six months or so I feel like something happens in my life that urges me to slow down, put the brakes on, re-evaluate, and do some careful planning loaded with a lot of rest. We always have about 16 projects running and countless emails to respond to and events for work that demand our full attention. Just when I had the next 25,000 minutes planned out in detail, Michael had an unexpected appendix removal! Yes, it was terrifying, and yes, he is recovering beautifully.
When I went to the hospital to be with him at 5am, just before they wheeled him back for surgery, his face so pale and his body so sick, I felt like, wow, I have been taking this guy for granted. I sat in his hospital bed and held his hand and prayed for peace and safety over him, then told him weird what-if scenarios to make him smile, like what if you just got up and went to the nurse's station asking where the restroom was in a British accent, with your backwards robe hanging open? He loves those what-ifs. He is my best friend, my constant cheerleader, my devil's advocate. God gave me a perfect counterbalance, and I always just assume he will be here working hard and never complaining. I think I felt just fine until they asked me to take his wedding ring. Mike hadn't removed it in 8 years, and it was tough to get off. I just gripped it in my hand. They assured me his surgery was serious but routine and I'd be able to kiss him in two hours. My heart fluttered as I walked away to wait.
I really thought about Michael. I thought about the man that he was and how much better my life is with him. I thought about how he is so funny and such a brat at the same time. I thought about how there isn't a soul on this earth I'd rather fall asleep next to every night or a man that I'd like to make banana bread for every week. There isn't anyone else I'd like to be growing a business with or watching TV with or talking through building our own dream home. I thought about how every time I send him the grocery store he buys the wrong thing, and how he tells me how beautiful I am because I gave him a son. I thought of my flaws and how he hardly notices. I thought about how much he loves sweets and shooting expired film. I remembered how tender-hearted he is and how patient he is with Noah. I thought about his love of music and classic old things and ways of life. I thought about how much God loved me for allowing me to soften and change into a wife that was not only suitable but the best match for Michael. I thought, wow, I sure am in love with him -- God bring him back to put on this ring.
Marriage is a tricky business, and it's hard, to say the least, but the reward is so precious. I thought about how much baggage I just needed to let go of that morning and start brand new. I am making an effort to encourage and not discourage and to listen rather than bark out my needs. Ultimately, Mike isn't responsible for my happiness or well-being, he's just a bonus in this life. The more I trust the Lord the better we get, the more I say, "Yeah, he's human" and, "Hey, babe, I'm sorry", the better our marriage feels. The more that my everything can come from Jesus, the sweeter this life gets. Don't ever forget that no matter what stage your marriage is in -- even if it's an ugly one -- you are not alone, you are not too far gone, you are not doomed for unhappiness. We serve a God of restoration, and he desires for your heart to be healed and fulfilled. He desires that your marriage be happy. Cling to Him and treasure your spouse. I promise it can and will get better if you press into the Lord. Laugh more, eat your favorite foods together and don't worry so much. Don't pick up the phone, go on drives together, throw your kids in the back seat and call it a date. Life is short, enjoy today, and make some Lemongrass sodas too while you are at.
LEMONGRASS SIMPLE SYRUP
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
3 stalks of lemongrass, bruised and chopped
the zest of 2 limes
Bring all to a simmer over medium heat in a large non reactive pot then reduce heat to low for 1 hour. Allow syrup to cool to room temperature before straining the lemon grass & zest out. This will last for about a week in the fridge.
To assemble the sodas you will need Mint, at least 6-8 limes, simple syrup and seltzer water or club soda. In the bottom of your glass muddle (smash) a sprig of mint with 1/4 cup simple syrup and 1/8th of a cup of lime juice. Top with ice and 1 cup of seltzer. Adjust recipe to your own tastes. ADD RUM FOR A PARTY... on your couch when your kids are asleep:) I like mine very tart so I add more lime juice! Enjoy-