Tag Archives: marriage

Karma?

It’s time to tell him. Right now.

I stopped walking and nearly dropped my mug of freshly brewed coffee.

It’s time. Now.

“No, Lord. Please, no.” The panic started to rise from my toes, buckling my legs with weakness. I set my coffee on the kitchen table next to me. “Everything is good, now. You made it that way. Please don’t make me tell him. ”

You must. Now is the time.

I slowly headed toward the stairs leading up to my bedroom. It was 5:30 a.m. and the house was dark except for one light shining behind me from the living room. I put one foot on the bottom stair and looked up the darkened path to the top… terrified and ashamed at what I was about to do to my poor husband who was sleeping peacefully.

Ghostly figureQuiet tears began to slide down my face as I began the slow climb up those stairs. Every step felt heavy as if cinder blocks were tied to my ankles. “Lord, whatever happens I trust you. If he gets angry and leaves, I understand it’s my consequence. I deserve it. If he kicks me out, you’ll tell me where to go.”

I approached the top step and took a deep breath. Gently pushing open our door, I stepped into our darkened bedroom. Even though the room was cool, I felt sweaty and clammy; my mouth as dry as if I’d been in the desert. I sat on the edge of the bed next to my sweet husband and ran my shaky hand along his face. I didn’t need the light to see my husband; I know every inch of him by feel. I leaned in and gave him a kiss on his forehead.

“Heyhon,” came his groggy voice.

My heart pounded in my ears.

“Hey, Love. Um… I have something I need to confess to you.”

“Oh yeah? What?” his voice was a little more awake now.

“Um… so, remember two years ago when we were having trouble and you asked me several times if there was someone else and I said no?”

“Yeah.”

“Well. I lied. There was. I was having an affair. I am so sorry, hon. I am so so sorry.” I began to weep while still trying to hold myself together for what I was sure to be an angry yet well deserved outburst toward me, complete with a request for the dissolution of our marriage.

Andrew was quiet for only a moment before he tenderly replied, “You know, I wasn’t there for you the way you needed me back then. You found someone who could support you emotionally. I get that. And if you would have confessed this back when we were in counseling two years ago, I wasn’t mature enough to handle it. You probably weren’t mature enough to deal with it either. Neither of us were. This whole thing would have been different. It’s okay. I forgive you.”

Shock and awe do not even begin to describe my feelings. What followed was a deep and tender conversation about everything that happened regarding my unfaithfulness; I answered all his questions honestly; and we ended the conversation in laughter (of all things) and a deeper intimacy that has yet to wear off.

If karma were a thing, I’d have a broken marriage today. Karma would dictate that I should have experienced the devastation I feared as I trudged up that stairway. I don’t believe in karma because karma is self-inflated with the permission to expect and appreciate revenge upon others yet never accept it as something we deserve ourselves. There is zero room for grace or humility

I believe in something equally inexplicable yet far more powerful in producingphotodune-693733-grace-xs love and restoration. God. God offers grace–an unlimited supply–to those of us who don’t deserve even a drop. It’s the opposite of karma. Grace requires me to offer love and understanding to others when it doesn’t make sense–when it seems impossible, inconvenient, and sacrificial. Revenge would be so much easier. But when I look at myself in the mirror, it doesn’t make any sense for my husband to love me either–an adulteress. When I sit down and pray, confessing my multitude of sins after asking for a bunch of selfish things, I imagine how hard and frustrating it must be for God to love me, and to give me yet another chance to get things right when He’s already given me a million opportunities. It doesn’t make sense for Him love me.

But He does. Every single day.

If karma were a thing I would be dead. I spent the last 13 years starving my body–abusing the temple in which I’ve been given to live and breathe and bear children. Yet, God is in the midst of restoring my body and breathing new life into me, the same way He restored and breathed new life into my marriage. I simply cannot wrap my mind around this Love, this Grace, because it is so BIG. All I can do is cry in my marvel and humility.

I tremble in fear at how I will take this gift of grace for granted again today. I hate that I do it. I don’t mean to. My humanness makes me weak. I spend my days asking God to help me be better. And He does. And when I mess up, He pours out his grace again. Over and over.

If karma exists, then I may as well just give up on life because I deserve revenge every day–karma doesn’t tolerate humanness. God does exist because I have experienced His grace in mighty big ways–God’s grace not only tolerates my humanness, but loves me, protects me, strengthens me.

 

*Note: This confession happened in the summer of 2014, so we’ve had much time to process and heal. The lesson I’ve learned about grace is as recent as the date of this post, so it’s a new idea that I’m still getting used to. 🙂

In for a root canal, out with a husband

Today I am entering rehabilitation for my eating disorder, but I cannot help but notice that today marks a very special anniversary.

I don’t know when I will be back from recovery, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy this story about the very same man who walks faithfully beside me in sickness…

***

November 3, 2001

Awesome. I have nothing to wear. What does one wear to a root canal anyway?  Pft. It’s not like I’m trying to impress anybody. With that thought, I threw on an oversized, men’s corduroy button-up shirt, some old jeans, and tennis shoes, all of which were strewn about my bedroom floor.  Running my fingers through my hair was the final touch on the day’s look. It’s a root canal, not the prom.

Walking into the dental office, the stormy morning had blasted wind and rain against my face, causing my hair to paste itself to my cheeks. “Hi, I’m here for my emergency root canal,” I informed the receptionist while trying to gracefully pull hair out of mouth.

I sat in the waiting room hoping the flutters in the pit of my stomach would settle and wishing I hadn’t made my appointment so early. An 8am appointment left no time for pre-root canal coffee.  

“Leanne?”

Oh boy. My turn. “Yes. Hello,” I said to the dental assistant, forcing a smile and coating my sour attitude with faux sweetness. The combination of nerves and lack of coffee made me grumpy, not to mention the pain in my tooth.

“Come on back. How are you?” the assistant asked as we walked side by side to the operatory.

“Oh. Well. I am here for an emergency root canal, sooo, you know— I’ve had better mornings.”

The assistant smiled and directed me into the chair. “Here,” she handed me a pair of sunglasses. “Put these on to protect your eyes.”

I put them on. They took up half my face and reminded me of the goggles I used to wear in high school chemistry. Sexy.

The dentist came in and finished prepping me for the procedure, which included placing a rubber dam over my sick tooth. The excess part of the dam blanketed the other half of my face. The thought of my own mug shot—sunglass-goggles, white rubber dam, and my mouth gaping wide open—distracted me from the numbing sensation trickling throughout the right side of my face.

“How you doin’ Leanne? You ready?” she asked.

“Gngh. Ung-huh,” I said.

She must’ve deciphered I was good to go because the high-pitched squeal of the drill filled my ears followed by a vibration deep into my tooth.

After a few minutes the doctor stopped and left– leaving me to sit there vulnerable with my trap wide open.

That’s when he came in.

“Hi!” he said in a cheery tone.

His chipper greeting was clear evidence to me that he must’ve had his morning coffee. I was jealous.  He wore light blue scrubs and had weird looking microscope glasses hanging around his neck. Who is this Chippy McChipperton?

“Hah.” I said, releasing the pent up drool that had built up under my tongue. I hoped he didn’t see it sliding down my chin.

“I’m the janitor,” he informed me.

Liar.  Janitors don’t wear medical scrubs and microscope glasses. I eyed him curiously through the dark tint of my sunglass-goggles. Not sure who you are dude, but definitely not a janitor.

The dentist came back in and continued working on my tooth; obviously the cue for Liar Pants to leave. His presence lingered in my mind, though, and offered me mental distraction away from the demolition happening on my tooth.

Thirty minutes crawled by and my doctor up and left… again. This time she rested a metal thing in my mouth and halfway sitting upon my bottom lip. What is her deal? The tension in my jaw tightened as I glared at the ceiling, which made my neck muscles hurt. Weird things happen when your mouth hangs open forever.

Enter Liar Pants. Great. This guy again. I took in his facial features this time. He had big, soft eyes (the dark goggles made his eye color inconclusive), dark blonde hair, and a handsome young “baby face,” sort of like a high school senior portrait. He’s cute.

He wandered over to my dental chart and gave it a good scan. “Oh. You work at Bed Bath and Beyond?”

“Ung-huh,” I said. I knew he wasn’t a janitor! They aren’t allowed to look at charts!

“How long have you worked there?” he asked.

Seriously dude? Can you not see my mouth is occupied by a variety of dental apparatus? Clearly I cannot answer you… literally.

I held up four fingers, “ ‘oh ee-yuh.” More drool escaped down my chin.  Ah geez. The dental assistant— the one person who hadn’t abandoned me the whole morning, wiped it for me.

“ ‘ank oo,” I said quietly.

“You’re welcome,” she said, smiling.

“Four years is a long time. Must be fun,” Liar Pants concluded. He smiled at me just before he disappeared again. I followed his movement out the room with my eyes.

The dentist came back to continue working, only to leave me again a short time later. Seriously? This is never going to end.

Right on cue, Liar Pants came in the room only to turn around and walk out.

I turned my head toward the dental assistant.

“Hoo ‘ah?” I asked her.

“Oh!” said the assistant excitedly, settling in close to my ear as if she were about to reveal a juicy secret. “That’s Dr. Sype. He just started here about six months ago.”

“Oooh-uuuh. He coo,” I said to her and gave her an obstructed coy grin. I also winked, but that was pointless given the fancy specs I was wearing.

I heard a shuffle behind me. My ears turned hot with embarrassment as I realized Dr. Sype had walked in just as I had made my confession. Oh geez.

He came around the chair and gave me a wide (and very handsome) grin. “I’m Andrew. Mind if I take a look at your tooth?”

Um. Do I have a choice? I am kind of trapped in this here chair with my mouth hanging wide open.

“ ‘hur,” I said, noticing he’d just introduced himself by his first name.

He poked around in my mouth with a metal instrument. Please don’t drool. Please don’t drool. Please don’t drool. I held my breath hoping that would keep the pool of building saliva from escaping down my chin.

“Looks good,” he said. “You’re almost done.”

“ ‘ank oo.”

Thank you? For what? Complimenting my sick tooth? Geez, Leanne. C’mon!

Finally the procedure came to an end. I removed my super cool sunglass-goggles and rubbed the sweaty indents that had formed on the bridge of my nose. Standing up, I felt a bit woozy and could tell my rain and wind-battered hair had matted nicely to the back of my head.

“You okay?” asked the assistant.

“Yeah. I’m alright.” I couldn’t feel the right side of my face and talking was hard. It felt like there was a golf ball shoved down the inside of my jawline. I rubbed my lower jaw just to make sure it was in fact normal size.

As I emerged from the dental operatory, I nearly smacked into Dr. Sype.

“Hi!” He said, grinning and looking at me with (what I could now clearly see) his beautiful blue eyes.

“Oh. Hello.” I think I smiled back, but I was uncertain since I could only feel half my lips. I reached up to the corner of my mouth to check. Yep! All smiles!

“Everything go okay for you?” he asked.

“Um. Yeah. You know. For a first root canal, I’d say the experience was okay.” Gah. Where is my mouth? Oh no! Are you drooling? Check! Check!

I raised my hand to tuck my hair behind my ear, giving the side of my chin a casual swipe on the way up. Whew! Dry. Okay. Fluff the back of your hair while you’re at it. I gave the back of my head a quick finger sweep, getting one of my rings stuck within a knotted tangle. Seriously? A fast and painful tug released my fingers from the mop atop my head. I smiled at him. Man he’s cute.

“Good. Glad it went well. Here’s my card in case you’d like to call.”

I accepted the card and gave it the obligatory glance, “Oh. Thanks.”  My eye caught a faint scribble in the upper left hand corner. It was his home phone number written in pencil. There was a cool prickle over the surface of my skin and my heart jumped. Oh. Mah. Gah! Liar Pan… Dr. Sype just gave me his number?

Looking back up at him, he was staring at me with his smile. “Talk to you soon. Have a nice day!”

“Yeah. Cool. Thanks.”

The assistant, who was still by my side, gave me a grin.

“I cannot believe this,” I told her, bewilderment in my voice.

“What? I think he likes you,” she stated.

I carried his card with me the rest of the day, pondering the events of the morning. That evening when the feeling returned to my face, I paced in front of my telephone flipping the card around in my fingers.

What do I say? Do I call him Andrew or Dr. Sype? Is it too soon to call? How does this even work? Did I seriously pick up a guy during my root canal? How do I even start the conversation? ‘Hi. This is Leanne from this morning. You know, the one with drool sliding down my chin?’ Or how about ‘This is Leanne from the dental office. I was the one with rubber and plastic covering my entire face. Remember?’

Finally I mustered up one nerve and used it to dial his number.

Ring. Silence. Ring. Silence. Oh no! What if he isn’t home? Do I leave a message? Ring. Silence.

A mechanical voice sounded over the line: “Hi, you’ve reached Andrew…” Shoot! Don’t panic. Just hang up. NO! Don’t hang up. Leave a message. What do I—

BEEEEEP

“Oh hey, um, Andrew. This is Leanne…um… frooom… the dentist office this morning?” I paused and winced at myself, gripping the phone for dear life. “Just thought I’d give you a call and, um, say you know, hey. Feel free to call back.” I left my number and hung up the phone. No way is he ever going to call you back.

The next evening we had our first date.

August 21, 2004

Andrew and I faced each other, standing at the altar and exchanged wedding vows in front of over 100 friends and family. By 2008 we had two beautiful kids who, today, drive us completely crazy. I’ve since had two more root canals, but I don’t mind because I totally love my dentist!

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#ThrowbackThursday–Anniversary Edition

Just married; August 21, 2004

Just married; August 21, 2004

 

Dear Andrew,

350I wanted to get you something really cool for our 10-year wedding anniversary–something that signified the magnitude of the milestone we’ve reached. I “Googled” for some ideas, but cuff links, coupons, and creative frames didn’t seem to fit quite right. It dawned on me that perhaps the best gift would be what I gave you 10 years ago–an expression and promise of my heart in front of tons of people.

Marriage is really hard, and for us two years ago it almost became too hard. We’ve learned that sometimes things get worse over time, but you’ve shown me that with a heart dedicated to doing whatever it takes, the broken parts can heal to where “for better” becomes better than ever.

Here is what I have learned about you, your character, and your heart in the last 10 years:

You don’t love me because I’m encouraging, charming, cute, a good mom, and make a mean Mongolian Beef (not to mention, I am  incredibly modest about my virtues 😉 ). You love me despite

~my eating disorder. I’ve scared you to death choosing a path to my own death, yet you pull me closer rather than push me away or give up on me when I cycle through bad weeks.

~my celiac disease. Let’s be honest; there are worse diseases we could

Remember when we used to eat cake?

Remember when we used to eat cake?

be battling for sure, but celiac comes with some unattractive side effects that don’t exactly say “hold me baby.” I say “we” because instead of abandoning me in the kitchen to fend for myself, you do all the research and all the shopping and all the encouraging and, most importantly, all the taste testing of my experimentation so we can live a celiac-lifestyle together–and so I don’t have to be overwhelmed by all that stuff because you know that I do. (By the way, don’t think I haven’t noticed the extra Tapito you’ve been pouring all over your food lately. It’s okay. :))

~my tendency to be impatient, irritable, and a bit “control-y.” I think this one is pretty self-explanatory–moving on.

~my anxiety and fear of the dark, spiders, food, and even the slightest possibility that we might be inconveniencing someone. You are an amazing spider warrior and a brave scary-noise checker.

~my love for someone before you. Jesus. You totally accept and encourage my love affair with Him; you listen to me when I gush about my mornings with Him and all the wonderful things He teaches me.

Guess what He showed me this week when I was praying about you?

Over the last 10 years I have, at times, taken you for granted; disrespected your love for me; and disregarded your feelings. I look at all the broken parts of me and see you standing beside me loving me even still. You find me beautiful; you find me worth the investment of time, money, and emotion (and emotion is hard for you!); your patience with me is unwavering; and you constantly show me how valuable I am and wish with all your heart I could see it for myself.

I have treated you the same way I treat God; you have responded the same

You still look at me this way.

You still look at me this way.

way God responds to me–with an unconditional love and amazing grace that I cannot understand or fathom to deserve. And it only grows as the years go by! This is not to say you are God, of course, but rather God gave me you as physical, earthly manifestation of His love for me. You are my love gift from the Lover and Savior of my soul. Look, I know that sounds all like “there will be blood,” but I am trying to say that your irrefragable love gives me a glimpse into the divine-ness that is found in the gift of marriage. (I get bonus points for using “irrefragable”–good word, huh? Bet you had to look it up! 😉 )

It’s only taken me 10 years to see but a sliver of what a lifetime together will bring–and I am so excited! I pray I don’t mess it up.

The other week our daughter asked me how she was going to pick the man she was to marry. First I told her she didn’t have to think about that for a long time since she’s only six years old. But then I said,

“You know how daddy treats and loves mommy? Find a man who loves you the same way. Who adores you exactly as you are– and sticks around and loves you even when things change and who is willing to flex and grow with what life brings. Find a man who has the courage to engage a dedicated heart when life requires him to pursue you beyond the confines of comfort to make sure you know you matter–and more importantly that you are loved.”

She promised me that would be the kind of man she’d pick. One just like you.

I love you so much! I would like to say I can’t wait for the next 10 years, but the truth is I am so happy with where we are now that I just want to indulge and enjoy and rest in what we have right this moment. It’s taken us 10 years to find this place–we should stay a while, don’t you think?

So, I have nothing for you to unwrap this year–not even a card, but I couldn’t find one that said all this stuff. Nothing can convey my heart the way my own words can. I promise to keep learning how to love you better, and I promise to keep my dedicated heart to you–for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. But especially for worse, poorer, and in sickness because that is when love matters most and when we best honor what God has given us through the gift of marriage.

Happy anniversary, Hon’!

Love,
Leanne

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Papa's Perspective: Thoughts from a 97-year old

*Update: Our beloved Papa Sype passed away last night (Thursday, May 22 2014). His final days were anything but restful, so today while we grieve the man we adore so much we also feel great relief that he’s at peace.

I pray today Papa is celebrating in reunion with his beautiful bride,  Ruth “twinkle toes” Sype who has been waiting for him in heaven the last two and a half years.  “Gigi and Grandpapa” (as they are known to my children), have a great story which I wrote about in a post called “Going out in a Blaze of Glory” back in 2011.  I hope you will take the time to learn about them because they were pretty awesome and special people! 

Today I am reflecting on all the things Papa has taught me over over the last 13 years I have known him; I thought I would re-share with you the wisdom he passed on to us when I last saw in November. 

Peace to you and yours, dear friends. 

Leanne

***

Papa<—- This is John, a.k.a. Papa. He is my husband’s grandfather and my children’s great-grandfather.  Papa is the most generous, honest, kind, wise, loving man I know. I adore him and love him as my own grandfather. We just got back from a special, no-reason-in-particular visit with him in Rockford, IL, where he’s lived the majority of his life.

At 97 years old, Papa has experienced a lot of life; he’s got much to share if you just ask. He’s from the era of “the olden days,” but his perspective on life, marriage, parenting, and friendship is timeless.  I peppered him with questions all weekend, trying to savor every bit of seasoned wisdom he had to offer…

Q: What do you think the key is to living a long, happy life?

Papa: Find something useful that you love to do. If you’re doing something you don’t like… don’t do it. Find something else; I don’t understand why people think they have to keep doing something they don’t like doing.  This is why school is so important.

And also, always be honest and thoughtful with others.

Q: What’s one piece of advice as a father and/or parent?

Papa: That’s a tough one because no one thing is deserving!

Q: What was/is your favorite part of parenting?

Papa: I was Boy Scout dad. We would take groups of 10 or 15 boys on camping excursions up to Canada. Not many parents wanted to volunteer for these trips, so there were only a couple of us chaperones, which meant the boys would have to carry more weight. We had to get all those boys passports, you know. That was hard! But, we taught them life and survival skills on these trips… many of the boys had never even been away from home, away from their parents, so it was a big deal.  All the boys had to earn merit badges for their uniform; they worked hard to earn those badges.

You know, a lot of the other troops were real strict about proper uniform attire, but for our group, we didn’t pressure the boys about making sure they had the proper socks and a starched shirt. For us it was more about the skills and camaraderie than it was about the uniform. I loved those trips, and my boys would come with me.

These were 10-day trips, and that would give Ruth {his wife} a break! *grin*

Q: Out of all the places you have ever traveled, what was your favorite place to visit?

Papa:  Whales because it’s a country with kind and simple people who live a simple life; nothing fancy. Also, France and Italy, particularly the countryside. We think we have preserved things over here for hundreds of years; these countries have preserved things for thousands of years.

Q: What is your favorite invention from your lifetime?

Papa:  Probably the telephone and radio.

Q: Is there something you miss from the old way of life that our KidsandPapakids will never experience?

Papa: Why yes. And it is quite simple: sitting on the front porch. Life used to be simpler and entertainment was always outdoors in your own neighborhood.

Some other wise thoughts I captured:

On friendship: Learn your points of disagreement with friends or fellows you work with and stay away from those topics. If the other guy brings it up, then go ahead and chat about it. Otherwise, there’s no reason to bring up things that cause unnecessary friction.

DSCN3287On marriage (note: Papa and his bride, Ruth,  were married for 70 years before she passed away in January 2012. Out of respect for privacy, I will remain vague on the details of the following story):

“We went through a pretty rough time later in our marriage. Ruth confessed she had a problem; I wasn’t aware of it and she had to convince me there was indeed a problem. Of course we considered divorce because that was what most people in our same situation had done. We decided not to go that route… it isn’t worth it and it’s hardest on the kids, even when they are grown.

So, we drove up to Minnesota for treatment. I decided to go with her because it was recommended that spouses go through the program too. On some level I must have blamed myself for our situation because at the end of the program I felt so much better knowing it wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t necessarily Ruthie’s fault either. We had been aware of some past stuff in her family, but no one ever talked about it.

If we both hadn’t acknowledged the problem and if we both wouldn’t have invested in solving it, we never would have made it.

On modern technology:

~ “I was foolish not to get onto the internet. Now when everyone talks it sounds like blah blah blah. It sounds like a bunch of baloney to me.”

~ “Boy, cell phones really make a difference, don’t they!?”

We love your wisdom, Papa!

Papa: Wisdom is a funny thing. It’s based partly on your experiences and partly on your attitude.

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Left to right: my son, Sean; my husband, Andrew; Papa; my daughter, Haley; Me!

One of my most faithful readers…

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My social-media-shy husband, Andrew, and me.

About two years ago, my husband and I went through a significant rough patch in our marriage. In the midst of working our way through it, Hubz began reading my blogs. I had  three to four years worth of consistent content across two blogs and my business site. He’d never read a single post.

As he began to invest time into reading my work, each day he would come home in awe of what he’d read. One evening he returned home and said, “I love what you write and it makes me want to be student of you–I feel like I am dating you all over again… learning all about you.”

I was surprised because how could he not know me? I mean we live together, parent together, sleep together,  and talk together–everyday. Yet, he was shocked to read I was crying in the shower, feeling overwhelmed by motherhood, and finding the profoundest, tenderest moments in the crevices of my days.

Blogging is a space for me to pour out what is on my mind and heart… to experiment with my expression, to wrestle with my thoughts, to discover the meaning behind how I feel, and to engage the public in hearty discussion. I communicate differently and deeply and honestly here. I mean… I’m a writer.

It’s through my writing where I reveal my language. And for my husband, my blog posts are where he discovered how to communicate with me.

He is one of my most faithful readers now. I never know what or when he reads until I see a comment notification from him. And my heart gets all fluttery and my face gets a goofy smile when I see his name. I am excited to read his thoughts and encouragement. His comments open the door for quality pillow-talk discussions, loving texts randomly through out my day, and the safety to cry, laugh, or vent freely– because I know he gets my heart.

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If your love has a blog– read it. Comment on it. Talk about it. And if you, dear reader, are the writer wishing your significant other could just understand… put your blog in his/her bookmarks bar and let them know it’s there for their reading pleasure. 🙂