I was way too intense. It started in kindergarten, I think. I was unprepared on my first day…no rug. Don’t know how it happened but I was humiliated. And my gruff teacher left me in tears as she shooed me off to share with someone I had never met before. It was then I made a silent pact to always be prepared.
And hence, my “overdoing it” came into play. When an hour of study should have sufficed, I took two. I signed up for early morning college classes to free up my afternoons for study. It was into bed by 10 p.m. to ensure readiness for each tomorrow. Good times had their place, but I was a serious student. It really didn’t matter if the dorm was rocking. My studies came first. Headaches. Yes. Stress. Yes. But preparation yielded great grades!
Then “he” walked on campus. A guy who knew how to enjoy life. Smart. But fun loving. Decent grades. But not addicted to studying. He was there to enjoy all aspects of college life. And to impact me forever.
We took some of the same classes. Without cracking a book, he’d get a better grade. While I was buried in study notes, he was out building relationships. Everybody’s best friend. The guy who made you laugh.
Fortunately, he pursued me. He showed me how to loosen up and have fun. I’ll never forget the spring afternoon I actually cut a class with him to go for a walk in the park. (True confessions, kids)! What a milestone! Trying to stifle the guilt over such irresponsibility, I actually found myself enjoying our spur of the moment “date.” I still remember it like it was yesterday.
He was not afraid of fun, and it was rubbing off. And I found myself falling in love with a guy who would keep me smiling when life got difficult. God knew I would need him. He was my knight in shining armor and my rock of gibraltar when infertility, miscarriage and cancer hit us hard in the years ahead. He never let me wallow in self pity or take life too seriously. And he always made me feel beautiful!
And today he still holds the title of family fun-lover. I noticed it again on our drive to Destin, Florida, earlier this month. The grandkids were in the back of the van for most of the trip while Grandpa and Dad took turns driving. But on one of our stops, Grandpa climbed in the back with our 6 and 10 year old. Noisy fun turned into high gear with him at the center.
With G’Pa back there, lively conversation and spontaneous giggles erupted like lava from a volcano. They were making up stories and creating illustrations to go along with them. The giggles were contagious. Belly laughs were enticing all of us. Before I knew it, our 13 year old granddaughter crawled back to join the fun. She would not miss the party her grandpa was hosting.
Are you afraid of letting go? Taking life too seriously, without being able to laugh at yourself, stifles joy…even amidst pain. The Bible is clear about hard work and discipline, but it also encourages cheerfulness.
Heartache crushes the spirit, but a happy heart makes the face cheerful.
The days of oppression are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
A crushed spirit dries up the bones, but a cheerful heart is good medicine.
I’m so thankful the Lord brought him into my life over 40 years ago. He’s the best husband, father and grandfather all rolled into one big fun-loving kid! On many occasions, he has helped me laugh when I wanted to cry. He’s been by my side every inch of the way, in good times and in bad, providing and protecting…with a perpetual punch line.
Happy Birthday to my knight in shining armor who still knows how to make me laugh!