Saturday, December 17, 2011
The picture at right was taken on June 5, 1965. We have changed a bit (me more than Karen), but every time I look at Karen the image at right is the one that forms in my mind. We are coming up on our 46th Christmas together. We have missed other dates: I remember an anniversary where I had to call her from Geneva and a birthday when I was in Iquitos, Peru. It's hard to make all the important dates work out, but we have never missed a Christmas together. We had one in a cabin in Mammoth, California, with just siblings and a Christmas stick since there were no trees to be had. We've had them with one or the other set of parents (or both--ouch), and only one with no parents or siblings in California in the seventies, but we have had the great blessing of waking up next to each other every single Christmas since we were married. I've had to wake up with male roommates on spiritual retreats, mission trips, and the occasional revival, but I have never awakened with any other woman next to me other than my wife. It's a record of which I am especially proud. By all rights, she should have left me several times, especially when we were in California, but she says she spoke with God and God told her I was just a little crazy at times but to stick with me because He had plans. He was right and she was right. I regret ever giving her pain, but I treasure every moment she has been with me. This is just one of my gifts to her this Christmas. I could never have accomplished what I have done without her constant support and love. She has always been there for me, when I was writing in Hollywood, making a career of graduate school, or serving the church for twenty-five years--a sort of morality mirror that sometimes reflected what I didn't want to see but what I needed to see. Now, every day, in her pain, she asks if there is something she can do for me. She will struggle with arthritic pain in her hips and pain from fibromyalgia to get up to fix me some hot chocolate. I am all too aware of the sacrifices she has made for me. Priceless and undeserved, but she has taught me what unconditional love is all about. Plus, she still laughs at my jokes and thinks I am handsome, proving that her hearing and eyesight are failing, but making me feel good about myself all the same. There are soul mates out there and I was blessed to find mine. Met her at a church party in college and she didn't mention Africa then. Wouldn't have put me off if she did. She is the light of my life. Karen, I love you now and forever. May we always be together.