I was at the grocery store a few weeks ago. Not the Wal-Mart where we usually shop, but the little store in our small, country town. Everything costs more, but you can count on a smile and a chat with your purchases. That day, though, was not a chatty day for me. I had worked a long day. It was after 6:30 before I even got to the store. I was tired and not in a very chatty mood. There I was moving at a brisk pace down the aisles, barely stopping to think. The only thing I really wanted was to get home. Home.
A young girl with long, rich brown hair and a green grocery store smock stopped me. "Excuse me. Aren't you Mr. Lawson's wife?"
Don't sigh, Relyn. You aren't that tired. What's it going to hurt you to be friendly? I summoned up a smile and a friendly tone. "Hi. Yes, I sure am. Are you in one of his classes? Can I tell him hello for you?"
"Oh, sure. But, what I really wanted to do was tell you something. ... I was just hoping that you know how much Mr. Lawson loves you. He talks about you all the time, and he never says anything about you without saying, 'my gorgeous wife, Relyn.' Or, 'my brilliant wife'. Something like that. He really loves you."
As I left the store I was crying a little. Not for the gift those words were to me, though they are still an incredible gift. I was crying because of the gift his words are to his students. To those girls: some with terrible homes, some with no fathers of their own - those girls know that there are good men. Those girls know that it is worth the wait to find one who will speak only good things about them. To those boys: some who can only relate to girls with insults or objectification, some who have never been taught to honor their mothers, much less other women - those boys have seen how to treat women with respect. Those boys have witnessed first hand the kind of relationship it is possible to have.
What an incredible gift my Jeffrey is. He is a gift to me, to his daughter, to his students, to everyone who knows him. What a good and Godly man I have married. I am so grateful. Every day I am grateful.
Today is our wedding anniversary. We were married at half past two on a Sunday afternoon eighteen years ago. The day was perfect and beautiful. I thought that day that I could never love anyone more. Funny how deliciously wrong I can be. I love Jeffrey more with each day, each trial, each joy that we share.
I love you, Jeffrey, with all my heart; more and more every single day. Thank you for this beautiful, simple, magical life we share. Happy anniversary, my love. Each day with you has been a gift.
I chose this picture for today because Jeffrey spent over an hour scouting out the poppies in the wild, retracing his steps, and taking me to photograph them. That's just the kind of thing he does. Every day.