"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

09 February 2012

In light of Valentine's Day...

A little over a month ago, I read Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, which is such a marvelous read. It was one of those books that, as I was reading it, I wished I had written it. She's candid, she's funny, and I loved the fact that she is really nothing like me other than being a lover of words.

In one of the chapters, she talks about reading an older book about being a good housewife. She decides to have her husband rate her housewifeliness on a scale from zero to ten, based on thirteen characteristics. Of course, I got curious about how Nich would rate me, so I copied her list into my journal (at the time, I had the thought that I would do this every few years, just to see how my husband perceived me) and presented it to Nich. I explained what I wanted him to do, and after some initial balking, he agreed to humor me.

I have to state here, for those of you who don't know my husband, that Nich is incredibly honest. I knew that he wouldn't "fluff" his numbers just to spare my feelings. However, he is also extremely kind. In fact, his kindness and generosity - to his friends, to complete strangers - were the two things I noticed most about him when we first became friends. He is also quite reflective, so I walked away, leaving him to take his time, spending the time bracing for the 2s and 3s I was sure I was going to get in categories such as "cheerfulness" and "self-control."

I prayed that I would receive the numbers he gave me with grace and humility.

Sorry for the terrible lighting. Being the daughter of a photographer clearly did nothing for my skills.

Y'all, he FLOORED me with his generous numbers. As Little B napped, we talked about each category. He explained why he had given me the numbers he had, complimenting my strengths and gently, sometimes humorously, reminding me of the areas where I need work (some major). I won't go into all the details, but you know how there are those moments when you feel yourself falling in love with your spouse a little bit more?

Well, this was definitely one of them.

Happy Valentine's!

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