Friday, September 10, 2010
written on the bus today
This is the second time I have taken a bus from Minneapolis to Chicago. The first time was more than 21 years ago.
Your father was the same then as he is now: generous. He bought a plane ticket for me to fly from Miami to Quito so I could visit you and meet him, your mom and your brother. All I needed to do was get myself to Miami and he would tend to the rest.
Being a poor college student, I had very little money. So, I decided to take a bus to Miami, rather than fly. In Chicago I had to switch busses. It was dark when I arrived there and I still had the better part of 24 hours worth of travel ahead before we’d be reunited.
We had been dating less than a year but I already knew you were the only one for me. (You yet remain the only one for me).
You were on mission that summer in Ecuador, the dear country of your childhood. While you were away, I thought of you every waking hour. I remembered your scent and that crooked smile, your eyes and wit. So, I came fully resolved to ask your father’s blessing to marry you and buy our wedding rings.
I had plenty of time to worry about the impression I would make on your parents when I visited. Little did I know your dad would end up playing nurse to my nausea. The previous Christmas you had them singing “Troy to the World” instead of “Joy”. If I was a joy to them that summer it was due more to their grace and patience than to my insecure behavior.
Today, I paid my own way to Chicago, but I am typing this on the bus because of your dad’s continued generosity. Not only has he supported our work, he also bought me this computer. Again, grace.
You have inherited your parents’ graces: good humor, joy in the midst of struggle, patience, a strong work ethic and perseverance. You have been given their gifts to be loyal and true in friendship. Their faith has remained strong in you and I see their dedication to nurture others as I watch you parent our children.
Your mother practiced hospitality and you have carried on that warm tradition. Your mother’s kindness lives in you and I now see it living in our children. You are the tenderest and strongest soul I have ever met.
21 years ago I knew all this to be true of you, but it was only as if looking in a dirty mirror compared to how I see you now. You are more beautiful now than you ever have been to me. From what I can remember, I can say the sky is bluer today than it was then. The clouds have blown over.
Revelation can happen on a Greyhound bus as much as it can on the island of Patmos. The God that sows love is under the footrest upon which I lean now. Over these many years he has shown me that he is the footrest and you are my feet. Because of you I have been able to keep running this race. Because of your grace, you have forgiven me for those times when I treated you like the footrest.
There are bumps in this road but the driver is generally steady, keeping his eyes on the horizon in front.
This year I do not need to travel as far to see you. Chicago will be my last stop. You are closer to me now than you were then. I will see your face sooner and more readily. 1989 was just a summer preamble. Today, we have a whole season of work behind us and a new season awaiting. Today, we make our new home together. Though autumn is here, we will not weaken in our resolve to build a home of rich, enduring virtue. Laughter and honesty, freedom and delight. This season, we have our eyes set on winter when all things shall be covered in white so we can see their forms more clearly, truly. Covered in natural purity. And for that I am thankful.
I write this on our long bus ride today because you have written this on my heart. Thank you.