At 19 years old, I walked into a restaurant on the Westside of an old steel town and applied to be a waitress in a place I had never even been a customer. The manager called me on my birthday to tell me that I got the job, and I was beyond excited. It was the first job that I got on my own without a reference from a parent or friend. Little did I know that God doesn’t need a reference for his plan.
Within the first week of working there, I had a huge crush on my manager. By the time we had our first date, I was already head-over-heals in love. It was hard to actually do my job around him, because all I wanted to do was talk with him, be near him or just hang out. One day in the kitchen, I was clearing off a plate before giving it to the busboy, but when he walked into the kitchen it was like my brain turned to mush. I stood right in front of him and dropped everything in the garbage – silverware and all. He made a quick joke about not being able to afford the help when they throw away the forks and spoons.
I had never met someone so confident and self-assured, but still compassionate and giving. Some of the people that walked through that door had definitely seen better days in their lives. It was a bit like Cheers, the same people were sitting at the same place at the bar night after night. But night after night, C made them feel welcomed. That small group of steel workers sitting at the end of the bar had some reason for wanting to be at that bar and not at home, and C never judged them, never looked down on them and wasn’t there to simply take their money. I saw something in him that I admired, he saw past the dirty shirts and hands and saw the value in people. My mom has always teased that I could make friends with wall, because I talked to everyone. Hanging out with college guys, I rarely saw them see the value in anyone other than themselves.
The restaurant didn’t make it, but we did. Today is our 15-year wedding anniversary and I can say that together we have been through more trials then most people go through in a life time. If trials could be measured as milestones, we have hit them all. I don’t think a marriage survives on love alone, but compassion, encouragement, communication, respect and acceptance. I pray for my husband daily. I pray for his safety, his health, his job, but most importantly I pray for our marriage. I think it’s important to pray daily over the people you love the most. I constantly pray that our marriage will remain strong our love for each other will continue to grow. God knew exactly what He was doing when I walked into that restaurant 19 years ago, and He continues to work in our lives today.
Just yesterday I had an awful appointment at the Cleveland Clinic, not awful news, just a physically painful appointment and an emotional reminder that cancer treatment has forever changed my body. When the doctor asked about my marriage, I told him that I am married to the most understanding, compassionate, caring and supportive man alive. I think the majority of his patients must say something entirely different, because he looked at me with a bit of shock and said, “that’s beautiful.”
Beautiful…that’s a very fitting description of my marriage and most of that I can attribute to my husband.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 New International Version (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.