Sunday, August 5, 2012
My Better Half
It was on a Saturday night in September, 1976, at someone else's birthday party in our apartment complex near Michigan State University, that we first met. As I recall she was sitting on the floor with a plate of cake in her lap, chatting with whoever was around. I was immediately attracted by her radiant smile and cheerful, easygoing manner, and sat down on the floor next to her--pretty uncharacteristic for a buttoned-up bookworm like me. We had a nice conversation about something since forgotten, and then--being the selfless, generous person she was and is--she introduced me to another young lady. She's often told me since that she instantly regretted doing so. No lasting harm done; after a few weeks' diversion, we both had to admit that our initial instincts were best, and we started over. Before my graduation that June, we had an "understanding," as folks used to say. But first I had to finish law school--and then there was a year of work to accumulate a nest egg. More hesitation, then commitment--for good! We got married on the Fourth of July, so we'd always have fireworks on our anniversary!
The years since then have been a daily revelation to me of God's wondrous grace and providence. There's no "rational" explanation for why an introverted, skeptical boy from western New York and an outgoing, optimistic girl from central Michigan would somehow find each other, be mutually attracted, and yoke their whole futures together--and stay together--despite all the forces of geography, destiny, personal predilection, and life challenges that would buffet them over the years. How has she found it in herself to put up with all my shortcomings and grievous mistakes, and all the disappointments and unrealized dreams that marriage inevitably entails? Only the merciful and miraculous will of God, and the bountiful guidance of the Holy Spirit, can explain these things. What other force could enable us to have and raise three wonderful children to maturity, and them to stay in the path of righteousness and safety in the face of all the physical and moral dangers confronting them in this modern world?
But God didn't act alone in producing this miracle. More than anyone else it has been Melany through whom He worked. Her example of patience, kindness, diligence, faith, and good cheer continues, every day, to be a wonder and an inspiration to me and the children. She brings out the best in us and has made us far better people than we could ever have been without her. Our family and all that we, our children, and our grandchildren will ever be and accomplish in this life, are her eternal monument. May God bless her abundantly and keep us all together, for long years and forever, in the palm of His hand.