Originally posted 11/30/2009
Just like clockwork, the front door to our home opened at six in the evening announcing the love of my life was home. From the moment I met Bob, when I was a mere fourteen years old, I knew he was the person I wanted to grow old with. He was, and remains to this day, the most honest, loving, loyal, decent man I have ever met. I am blessed. When I heard the front door open that night, however, the thought that I may not get the chance to grow old once he saw Ann and her son, flashed through my mind. I should have known better.
Walking into the kitchen, Bob looked from face to face, starting with Ann’s and ending with mine. He was not smiling. I quickly walked over to him and wrapped my arms around him, burying my face in his chest. I heard Ann get up from the table and walk out of the room.
“Marla, we need to talk.”
“I know, I know. Please don’t get mad. I’m sorry. I just don’t know what to do.”
We both walked silently to our bedroom and closed the door behind us.
“She needs to go. I don’t want her here. I have to protect you and the boys regardless of what anyone thinks. She has to go!”
I knew he meant what he said and that he was right about one thing. He was the best protector and provider for the boys and me. I desperately wanted to honor Bob the way he had always honored me, but I also felt helping Ann was the right thing to do. I felt like crying because I had created such a mess of things. I asked Bob if Ann and her baby could stay for dinner since it was ready and maybe we could figure out an alternative plan for them during our meal. He agreed, out of his love for me, not because he thought I was right. I am sure of this.
As we all sat at the dinner table, Bob said grace and we ate, silently at first. Eventually, Bob began to ask Ann questions about her little son’s health and her life in general. By the end of the meal, everyone at the table was laughing and talking at the same time just like our usual mealtimes. As Bob helped me clear the table, he leaned over and whispered, “You win. Where are we going to put them?”
For the next twelve months, Ann and her son lived in our home as a part of our family. Her boy gained weight, played with my boys and slept in his very own bed. Ann also did really well. There were moments she would slip up and make a bad choice but she always came back to center because she had found a safe place to fall. She had found the Lord.
When Ann’s baby was born, I had the great privilege of being her labor and delivery coach. I was the first to hold her newborn son, the first to give him a bath and feed him a bottle and the last to hold him before placing him in the arms of his adoptive parents. Ann had decided adoption was the best option for this little one she loved so much. It was one of the most bittersweet moments of my life. I could only ever imagine what it was like for Ann. I remain in awe of her for that act of love.
A few months after the birth, we found an apartment close by for Ann and her first son. My girlfriends, who had all circled the wagons around Ann during her pregnancy, once again showered her with love and kindness. The day she moved into that little apartment, it was completely furnished and had a stocked pantry not to mention broods of people stopping by with treats and well wishes.
Was this an easy journey for me or my family? Not always. Would I do it again? Today! I would do it again today.
Well, that's the end of that story but I am sure there is a new one right around the corner. As I have been reading through the comments left, I asked myself, "Why am I doing The List? Why am I putting myself out there, telling the world my story?" I want to honestly answer those questions for myself and for anyone reading this blog.
When I write the ridiculous stuff I write about myself and my sisters and my family, it is with one purpose. I want you to laugh, to think I am funny, to be a part of the stupidly ridiculous fun that is my life. I have also written about times when I am quite down. That is more for me, to get things off my chest and be able to vent. But what I am writing now, this journey I have chosen, this is about more to me.
There are things I have done and continue to do that I will never write about. These are things that I do in secret. Why? I suppose it's because I believe what it says in Matthew: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them."
But this journey is different. I have spent much time searching my heart and praying about this before starting again. My goal is not to hear what a good person I am or anything else along those lines. My focus is simple.
""Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
That's it for me. Plain and simple. I want people to see Jesus when they see me. I don't want to preach at people. I want my life to be my testimony. I love people. I really do. It is not a chore for me to do these things. It is exciting and fulfilling and one of the greatest gifts I could ever imagine to be able to reach out to another human being and love them. I learned this from my parents. They never, ever told me any of these things. They lived it. So now, I am living it for my children in the hopes they will live it for theirs. That's it.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for your encouraging and kind words. Until tomorrow....