“Are you with him?” the state park guy asked me, pointing to Jake, who was studying the map.
“Yep,” I bragged. “Forty-five years now.”
“Oh, then it’s time for a change.”
“You need a new car every 20 years, you know.”
I scowled. Are you trying to be funny?
Then the awkward chatter ended something like this:
“I’m just joshin’ you. I’ve been married 27 years myself.”
March 16, 1974 . . . 45 years ago today was a warm Saturday morning in Texas. I was up early, stuck some curlers in the back of my shoulder-length hair and went for a wee walk through my neighborhood, looking at wildflowers in a section of open field, feeling happy, feeling nervous . . . it was my wedding day!
My mom had complained that only Catholic weddings were before noon but I am a morning person and I wanted an early wedding and Jake had shaved his beard off to please her, so that was that.
It was wonderful not having to wait, happy-nervous, all day. By 10:00, I was in my white eyelet dress (which I made myself. I’m kinda proud of that) and singing on the way to the gymnasium/chapel where we had the ceremony.
Before Jake, I’d had a few boyfriends. One guy I ‘loved’ through high school and two years of college, and when he broke my heart with the words, “I love you Sarah but we will never get married,” I resolved to never get close with anyone else unless I knew he was The One.
About a year later I met Jake.
He was The One.
Six months later we married.
That wedding morning, I had no doubts. (They came later.) I loved Jake and I loved being with Jake because — shows the immaturity of my love — because of how he made me feel.
Jake made me feel accepted just as I was.
Something I’d not felt with that 7-year guy.
Many years after our wedding, years of ups and downs, blessings and struggles, Jake and I were in serious need of help. We found a counselor, and when I was alone with her, I poured out my disappointments about our marriage. She listened, then responded with this:
“Sarah, what would it take for you to accept Jake just as he is?”
I was silenced.
Hadn’t she heard me?
Didn’t she see that Jake needed to change?
Just a little?
Her question accused me. Stumped me. Dogged me for years.
I had no answer.
I honestly wanted to accept Jake like he accepted me.
I sincerely tried.
But there was always a hitch in my self-righteous heart.
Then one morning, probably ten years later, lying awake in bed, I was mulling over the counselor’s question and suddenly I ‘heard’ the answer.
A simple two word answer.
I felt it was from God.
What would it take for me to accept Jake just as he is?
I started laughing.
I’m still laughing.
Yes! Exactly! Bring it on, Lord!
I love how Jesus accepts me just as I am, but does not leave me as I am.
I wish I’d thought to banter back at that state park guy. I’d tell him, “It’s not a change of husbands that I need, it’s a continual change of heart.”
Being married to Jake has been a great adventure.
With lots of miracles.