to my husband, on our anniversary
my beloved –
you don’t often talk about yourself. . .not in a way that would make people understand exactly who you are and what you do. And I probably don’t reflect enough about how different and wonderful my life is because of you. . .but, I suppose wedding anniversaries are good days to do that. . .
As I look back over this year I cannot believe what you have been able to do and be and accomplish – getting Kijabe Hospital recognized an NGO in America for the first time in 100 years, learning all the history of this place and the people that came as a legacy before us before us, learning the operating theatre in a way that the scrub techs and nurses and anesthetists know me because they know you by name, making the hospital website beautiful and telling the story in a deliberate, honest way, making the hospital blog, organizing donations, knowing leadership and the pastors in away that communicates true respect and mutual friendship, having what you were doing be seen as so necessary that a department was built around it, teaching the interns, making the Facebook page truly tell the hospital’s story. . . and doing all of this in an effortless way.
I made a blog post about how I wear my exhaustion and busyness on my sleeve. It’s a bit too vulnerable to publish right now. . . but you do the opposite. You have accomplished all of this like a duck. . . furiously moving under water and smooth sailing above. . .no one sees the strain, they just see approachability and joy in a way that I wish I could portray. And it makes me proud and in awe.
And then there is the biking and the soccer and the running. . .I know I tease you, but I love that you love it. I love that you literally do super man things that I could never fathom doing – I mean, few women can say that their husband biked the height of Everest in a week and loved every second of it. . that he can play soccer with Kenyans and be picked for their team, that he can run with the Kalenjins. You are more handsome today than the day I married you, and I love the safety and certainty I feel in your presence.
And the girls. seriously – I never in a million years would have dreamed that I would have a husband that loved my children so well – one that knows what their schedules are better than me, that senses their moods and calms their tears with mercy and grace, that makes them laugh and kills (imaginary) zombies with them. That built them castles and life size houses and beds and desks like it was normal to be able to. . . who truly knows them as well as I do, if not better. They think that you can do anything. . . and they feel safe and loved and known by you. I love the bit of out of sorts they are when you are not here, because it reinforces the steadiness that you bring to their day to day – the willingness for adventure and unexpected . . . .the certainty that you have it under control.
And then, there is the way you see the world. You have an ability to chase light and open windows to what other people cannot see even on days when the shoulds and the coulds and the demands try to crowd out the beauty. I hope this week lets you chase it a bit and allows you to look back and see the pictures that have defined our time here and what exists in the void. I hope you can see the story that doesn’t show a poor Africa in need, but a strong Kenya with purpose and laughter – a story of competence in adversity. Oh, and baby elephants and baby giraffes and spectacular sunsets and our girls, growing quickly.
And then, I think of this home that you have built with me – literally – the end tables, the deck, the bathroom vanity, the bedside tables, and the bunk beds, the desk and the cabinets, and the kitchen table where we have shared so many meals. You have built this home with your vision and your hands and have given me the impossible in the middle of it all. You have made our home a haven for the weary and a place where I love when people ask me where I got “x” because the answer is almost always. . . “David made it.” It is wonderful and ridiculous the competence and eye you bring to it all, and I love that your literal fingerprint is everywhere.
And then there is me. I stumble through the weeks when you are not here. Not because I am weak, but because you steady me, you push me, you hold me. You bring levity to my sincerity. You allow me to voice fear and doubt. You make me feel loved and normal and like my world is not always unraveling a bit. You make me feel beautiful. You make food appear as if by magic. You know how lack of phone credit or a charger stresses me out. You understand that marshmallows bring me joy and that being late still makes me a bit crazy. You look at my strengths and do not try to squash or hide them. You see my weaknesses and do not define me by them. You make me stronger, goofier, and more able than I am.
I love you – and my prayer for this year is that you may chase the light, face the darkness, hear His voice clearly, and that we may grow stronger in this beautiful place that is our home.