Friday, August 13, 2010

Of Armor and Aluminum Foil

I'm writing this entry now, but it's really meant for tomorrow.  Sixteen years ago tomorrow I married the person who has become my best friend on this earth.  It's been a long, but short, sixteen years.  Sixteen years filled with sickness and health, riches and poverty, better and worse, and last summer, the thought of "'til death do us part".  Sixteen years that have seen ten job changes, six houses, five kids, and three diseases.  Did I mention that it's been sixteen years?  Anyway, we've been through a lot in those years.  More than some and less than others.  Profound, I know.

What can I say about the person who knows what I like even when I don't?  Someone who can finish my sentence, or beats me to my own thought.  The person I call first when news hits, good or bad... or when I just have a thought that I need to say out loud.

Well, I thought about this a few years ago, and I wrote a letter to my husband, thanking him.  A letter telling him that I respect him.  On this anniversary I wanted to share that letter with others, because this essay emulates who he is, who I have been, and who I strive to be.  May you all be blessed with these thoughts that I humbly submit on our wedding anniversary.  Thanks, Scott,  for doing all that you do for us!  Happy Anniversary!

Of Armor and Aluminum Foil


“Whatever happened to my knight in shining armor?”  This lament uttered by women in church and out of church.  By quiet women and brash women alike.  By women married for years and women married for months.  One woman wondered why her husband’s armor looked more like dented aluminum foil and less like the gleaming metal encasement her man sported when she married him.  As I have mulled over this question, I think I have come to a conclusion.  This question ultimately stems from a selfish, ungrateful heart.

The whole idea of a knight in shining armor lends an unrealistic vision of life in Camelot.  A life of brave men fighting beast and foe for the fair maiden’s heart.  The idea of being swept away from the tedium of life, to a new and exciting “happily ever after”.  These thoughts, however, only set up the one thinking them for failure or disappointment.  Women over the years have carried this perception of men in their heads as well as in their hearts, only to find the armor rusting, dented, and patched with aluminum foil.  Within their very soul they question, "What happened?"  Quietly the answer is whispered back.  "Life."

Life creeps in and takes over.  The beast that seemed so ominous in the early years of knighthood, cowers before Life.  When faced with the choice of a new suit of armor, or diapers, the diapers take precedence and the suit must be mended.  When faced with slaying the dragon of a boss, or remaining within employment… the armor becomes slightly dull and the employment continues.  This metal uniform begins to show signs of battle, and the time the knight has to repair or replace his armor becomes limited.

The armor that has this appearance belongs to a knight that has met Life in a battle for his wife and children.  Instead of allowing the ones most precious to him to confront this formidable foe, he has chosen to wear the scars from war.  He has sacrificed his dreams, his hopes, his appearance, his very existence (at times), in order that those he loves might be spared.  All this is reflected in the dull mirror of armor that has become merely his protection, instead of his source of pride.

His worth is found more in his relationship with God, in a wife who respects and serves him, and children who honor him with their words and deeds.  At one time his armor meant all that to him, but now so much more has taken its place. 

When we see and realize this, we can hardly ask ourselves, "What happened?"  As we observe this breed of knight we can determine where his true priorities lie.  When we hear the wife of this knight ask her scathing question, we can also ascertain where her heart is as well.  In her selfish, unrepentant heart, she has placed herself far above her husband and his sacrifice for their family.  She has claimed that he needs to be as the day they were married, even though I am sure that she is not the same maiden that walked down the aisle.  What a mournful thought.

As I have considered this, I wanted to let you know that I have seen the rusting, the dents, and the foil patches on your armor.  I have also seen how many of those blemishes came to be… and what you went through to shield us during those times.  You have protected us and you have loved us sacrificially.  I love you and respect you!  We cannot give back to you what you give to us each and every day.  I would much rather have you wearing this set of armor than the set you wore when we were married.  Thank you for choosing us!

All my love and respect,