a beautiful soul…

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While wandering back roads searching for the perfect autumn tree in Wisconsin, I had to stop and stare at the cornstalks restlessly shifting in the rising winds. Warm days up north are a wonder and want to be savored slowly, so we did. And while I looked for the beauty, I almost missed the most beautiful thing in my life, save one.

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I almost forgot the beauty in my husband. Almost. And while I’ve always thought him to be the most handsome guy I have ever seen, and I’ll readily admit to falling in love with his eyes long before I formally met him in college, it is the beauty in his soul that has drawn me towards him. On our trip, he revealed that a former girlfriend of his had been in contact with him, and while I asked questions, I caught my love in a new light.

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He has long assured me he is the lucky one, and while I’m not one to argue (please laugh here), I know it is I who am blessed. On the night we really met one another, we stayed up all night and talked until the sun made a bleary-eyed appearance through the curtains. And the next date? Even though he had heaped the one armchair with clothes, shoes and a basketball, knowing I’d be forced this time to sit next to him, I managed to find a few inches of space and perched on the chair. (My mom told me to never to sit on a bed with a guy. So I listened this once because I so wanted to impress this man.) And we talked all night. Again. I kissed him on the cheek and left with bright sunlight escorting me home.

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The next time we did a bit more than talk, but my point is we connected. We were so evenly matched in so many ways, and when we compared our timelines we discovered how many times we had been together, except we didn’t know it then. I sat next to him in our college classes since we had the same major and our last names bumped up against each other. All…the…time…

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This funny, self-deprecating, outdoors loving, athletic guy kept me on my toes in so many ways. Do you know he is in my college graduation picture? I’m shaking hands happily with the college president while over my shoulder is my boyfriend (husband) grinning as he accepts his diploma. Once seated I whispered to him, “I graduated first,” and smiled. The next week we had finals. In our last final exam ever, I sat up front, painstakingly poring over my paper, and the moment I stood up to turn in the test I heard a commotion behind me, and a blur flew down the steps in the exam hall. My boyfriend slapped his test down on the table while I placidly walked over and turned in my test too. When we were both in the hallway, he leaned over, grinning broadly, and said, “I finished college first.” Yes, he had. How could I not love him?

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So while I show you pics from our stay near Lake Michigan, I admit I didn’t see him in a new way. Until he told me about meeting an old girlfriend. And while I wasn’t super excited to know he had met her, I did see by the way my husband treated me, that he loved me. Wanted my best. Thought of me first, so often, ahead of himself. And I’m realizing, with our nest empty (but a grandchild due in two months!), he and I have so much good going on.

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We have time for each other. Finally! We could have drifted apart aways without noticing much, but thankfully we both felt wide awake to the possibilities open to us; to being able to intentionally plan on being together. I had started to let my daughters claim my time, and I only have so much energy to place into each day. I want to be with that beautiful soul I fell for so long ago. And just in case you wondered if I was hearing God correctly, I have one last, tiny story, so you’ll know, just as I did.

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We were finally sitting for the dreaded CPA exam. Your eyes must be on the test at all times and many proctors watch for cheating. Guess who had assigned seating right next to me? Him. The boyfriend. Now husband. I thumbed through the test pages to better allocate my time, and while I always listened to when the first (show-offs!) paper flippers started making those familiar rustlings, the boyfriend next to me started flipping to page two waaay before I had even solved half of page one! I couldn’t look, only listen, and I panicked, during the most important exam ever. I kept working, doggedly hoping to catch up to him when suddenly he had turned to page three. That meant I was now a whole page behind him! Utter panic. Mercifully the bell rang and pencils down. He decided turning the pages early would throw me into terrors and it did. The guy knew me better than I did. We both laughed more when he explained the effort he put into turning the pages back so quietly that I wouldn’t catch on.

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I’m back home. Ready to spend time with my one true love. The boy who makes me laugh so much. Who made me a mother to three great kids. Who brings me Starbucks on bad days. I’m grateful for realizing I have beauty next to me. Well, not literally. He’s sleeping and I am writing to this to you, quite late. Find beautiful people. Kind people. Beauty is there, if only you’ll look for it.

Until next time…

 

Terrible truths and beautiful lies…

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Looks lovely, doesn’t it? Almost like a beach view room somewhere Southern and much warmer than the cold waters of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. This trip had been planned for two months and I enjoyed the first part, but somewhere during the middle of our stay, my world crashed in and I fled for the safety and comfort of home. The pics I took show my feelings as my world unraveled. This first picture is warm, happy and full of hope.

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In the early afternoon of the second day, we drove around and the sky and trees mesmerized me. Wiscosnin in mid-October is a flirt and not afraid to show her true colors. We passed so many farms, with the crops harvested long ago, leaving the corn to rustle restlessly in the wind, while the sun decided to hide. Moody. Stormy? Possibly.

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My husband and I drove around a bit, chasing autumn and drinking in old memories. The afternoon was about to split open, but we enjoyed our time and stopped at a beautiful market. We filled our drive with laughter and songs. And one last Starbucks before I lost the taste for tea or food, really. While I’m not going to spill my secrets here, look at the pictures and you’ll feel what happened.

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Someone I know chose to keep their own secrets and the pain it caused was something I haven’t felt in years. As their story slowly poured out, over hours, I had to be alone and walk paths where my head could wrap itself around a new truth. I’m thankful for truths. They’re beautiful. I decided to skip the family dinner and headed outside for fresh air and a new perspective.

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As dusk settled lightly around me, I found a wooden path and wandered, alone on a bluff. The chill of night had arrived but I felt hot and stifled in the too warm room and drank in the coolness bringing clarity and sharpness to my day. To revelations that, once out, had to be faced. But the truth, revealed, fully and irrevocably, is a gift.

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In the middle of your pain, whether it’s physical or emotional, can you find a piece of beauty? The pictures speak. I know, I took them too late in the evening, but the sun keeps slipping lower on the horizon each day as we inch toward winter. No one walked my paths. I moved slowly and watched the beauty of a lake and sky almost perfectly matched. The color blue imbued everything. Including my mood.

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The small sounds of gentle waves slapping the rocks lulled me slightly. Do you do that? When something is troubling, do you head outside and look for a respite? Instead of grabbing a cigarette or another drink, heading outdoors is the better choice. While I turned truths and lies around in my head, night fell upon my shoulders. I carried night with me.

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I finally headed back to the hotel. A sleepless night welcomed me. And then my husband decided I had experienced enough pain on this trip and it was time to head home. Days earlier than planned, but sometimes he knows what’s best before I do. I’m here at home now. Still figuring out why lies came my way. Still processing the truths. And I’m hopeful for my family. That we will get past this, and maybe we all learned truth-telling is always best. I think that’s the beauty I’m carrying forward. The person who hurt me with lies, is saddened, as am I, but the path ahead is clear. I can see it now, even when things are almost dark and dusky.

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I took this today. The trees are showing their true colors after a summer full of green. The clarity of this photo exemplifies my feelings. I’m ready to tackle this problem. I see where I’m going, and with a husband who has always been my best friend, I feel like we can face the world together. Whatever comes our way, or even just my way, the two of us can handle. And I think that’s pretty beautiful.