Fleeting Gratitude and Combat Boots

Tonight was another late night.  But it is a late night for a special reason. I have that joyful restlessness that I used to get on Christmas Eve as a child or even now when I have a new idea or I write a new piece. I am hopelessly (and most times, regretfully) sleepless.Tomorrow is my birthday and not just any birthday, I am turning 25. Grown woman, certified.

So to compliment the anticipation of the words, hugs and songs from my sweet students, I decided I would try on different outfits for school the next day. After I chose my winning outfit I headed to the laundry room to throw my clothes in the wash. On my way I kicked a neatly wrapped silver box with a pink bow and envelope taped to it. I ran to the bedroom and gave my handsome and sleepy husband a jump-in-the-bed-all-in-yo-personal-space type of hug and pleaded with him to let me open his present at that moment.  Of course he wasn’t moved and asked me to wait until midnight. I relented and let him sleep while I [attempted] to finish grading.

It was 11:59 and my hubby called me to the bedroom and wished me a Happy Birthday as soon as it struck midnight. I jumped on the bed and gave him another hug but quickly squirmed out of his grasp to open my present. I opened the card and smiled as I read my husband’s (who is a self-proclaimed non-mushball) beautiful words. Then my eyes stopped tracking his handwriting and rested on a phrase.

He wrote: “ I am not able to give you everything you want yet, but I thank God for the little…”.  My heart broke suddenly. I have recently been complaining about not being able to buy new fall clothes and not having enough furniture for our new apartment. I never stopped to think about how he may have felt, with having the heart he has to provide for me. I felt guilty that my seeming dissatisfaction made him think that what he gives to me is “little”. I hope he knows that even having the opportunity to lay down besides him each night gives me total joy, or holding his hand or his arm makes me giddy. I hope he knows that watching his interactions with others brings me immeasurable pride in being his wife and looking into his eyes leaves me speechless with gratitude.  His presence does and will always satisfy me. And if he doesn’t know this I will be sure to tell him.

I sit here thinking about the face he may have been making as he wrapped my gift.  If he had help, I can hear the jokes he was cracking to whoever helped him wrap it.

Fast forward to  when I opened the gift. I saw a pair of black combat boots nested in gold tissue paper.  I was blown away that he remembered how I mentioned I wanted some. The principal was greater than the material.

Then I began to think of a reoccurring message I believe God has been speaking to me. I have been feeding into some “if /then” statements for awhile. If I live in my purpose then I will be happy. If I do not disappoint people then I will feel better about myself. If I had new clothes then… If we had furniture then…  All of these conditions for my satisfaction have been taking a toll on my life, perhaps in my marriage and definitely in my relationship with God. He has been telling me that there are no external conditions for my happiness or satisfaction. EVERYTHING THAT SATISFIES IS FOUND IN HIM. EVERYTHING. And I am grateful that HE is a relentless teacher…reaching me even through my fleeting gratitude . I’m listening God.

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