The most horrific thing a parent can go through. Something happening to your child with no ability to make it better. And yet she smiled at me, almost like she was normal. Almost like her soul wasn't dying. Who knows- maybe her daughter was in remission. Maybe her hair was starting to grow back and this was just one final follow-up appointment. Who knows.
But it just goes to show how powerful a smile can be. How powerful a steady heart and spirit can be. How the waters may rage around, but cannot touch what is on the inside.
Think of how important smiles are. Often times we fall in love with a smile. We look at that certain man and have butterflies in our stomach, and then he looks and smiles right at you- and you know you're a goner.
It was not like that for me and my husband.
I knew who he was before we actually dated. Despite our age difference, we arrived as freshmen together. I had classes with him and we had mutual friends, but we never really talked all that much our first year. It wasn't until our sophomore year that we began to talk and spend casual time together. Even as we spent time together I never actually thought romantically about him- I'm not sure why. He was the class president and very "cool", for lack of a better way to say it. I however was always happily clueless and a bit dorky. I respected him immensely just from watching him the past year though. But I just did not consider any relationship with him...until he asked to talk to me. He sat me down, and in a notoriously NOT smooth way, delivered some matter-of-fact, non romantic speech about how he would like to start a relationship with me and was not into casual dating and only was asking because he thought he could see marrying me. Huh.
I was stunned for the rest of the day, but when I woke up the next morning- I knew. I just knew. We were engaged 6 months later and married 8 months after that.
Jeff had come out of a pretty heavy lifestyle before giving his life to Jesus and coming to college. Because of his past with drugs, women, and alcohol, he was very serious and very intense, and had NO CLUE how to treat a woman. When we first started dating, he would go right into the cafeteria with his friends without waiting for me. He sat me down to make a weekly schedule of when I could spend time with him, because he didn't want to lose his nap times. After not seeing each other for a week over break, he refused to come out of his room to say goodnight to me because he was tired- he leaned out the window and yelled goodnight. When he proposed, he did not want to get his knee dirty so he didn't actually get down on one knee. He proposed 10 minutes before curfew.
It's amazing that I ever said yes. Things were not much better those first bunch of years we were married- but here's the thing: I did not marry a man for his smile. I did not marry him for his looks, his ability to charm me (which wasn't there anyway, lol), his smooth talk, the way he dressed, or for his status on campus. I married him because of his character.
All those other things are just the external- they mean nothing in the ways that truly matter. A smooth talker with have no words in tough times, a handsome face may not be so handsome after a car accident, and a man of status will lose his position when no longer living the college life. Character however, withstands it all.
Jeff is not the same man I married. His character did not allow him to stay the same. His character caused him to work hard and keep working hard until he changed all the things he did that hurt me. I married a man who ten years later selflessly cares for his sick wife. Who prays over his 6 children. Who still puts Jesus first despite all he has been through.
You wonder why I talk and pray and harp so much on character- this is why. Because it is the only thing that will remain when literally everything else falls apart. I don't know that woman in the elevator- but there was more inside of her than a pretty face. To smile in the midst of hell takes something. To trust in the fire takes more.
Character. It's the difference between a charming smile and a smile that knows in Whom it believes in.
Jeff smiles. I still smile. I smile despite my pain because I know. Because he knows. It's more than skin deep.
I can never express fully just how much I love and respect my husband. What an honor it has been to watch character live itself out say in and day out for the past 11 years. I hope I am learning from him. I pray that no matter what happens to my health I would never forget that which my life is founded on.
Because character really is the essence of a person. It makes all the difference.
|Me and Jeffy on our wedding day 10 years ago|
|Like a week after we started dating|
|Hubby when we first started dating|
|When we were dating I put his last name on my hoodie and go cheer for him at his basketball games, lol|
|And finally, this is us now :)|