Let’s face it, we all want it, even crave it. For someone to say, “You did a great job!” or “I’m so glad you were there for me.” I love it when a customer sees his or her quilt for the first time after I’ve finished quilting it – such joy on their faces! Makes me feel good about my profession. But we need affirmation in our regular lives too, not just on the job.
My husband Tom was very conservative when it came to PDA (Public Display of Affection). When we first started dating, I was 15 and was all about the PDA! I wanted people to see I had a boyfriend! Not something Tom was comfortable with. While Tom was working at Camp Trexler in Harriman State Park, I would often come up to visit him for the day or for one of his nights out, and when I would get there, I would expect a kiss…Not gonna happen. He would always say, “Not in front of the men” (vague F-Troop reference) and I would pout but what’s a girl to do, I was in love!
Fast forward to last year…Tom was still very conservative when it came to PDA, but maybe not as much so as back then. Maybe that comes with being married almost 35 years? He was lucky enough to finally get to take a sabbatical in June (Synod guidelines recommend a sabbatical every 3 to 5 years). Tom celebrated his 18th ordination anniversary last year and this was his first sabbatical (you do the math). We spent the month of June visiting other churches, he took time to rest both bodily and spiritually (being a pastor takes a lot out of you!), and we visited friends and family.
In September he gave out his “Summary of Activities and Results” to council. I had not read it, (I was away the weekend he presented it) until a few weeks ago. Typical church stuff with Tom’s great humor injected into his writing. But that very last paragraph…He thanks everyone that helped out with the sabbatical, from the pastor that filled in while he was gone to friends and family that lodged us but what got me was that last sentence…
“…but most cherished was the love and support and gentle criticism and willingness to leave her own work on the table and keep me safe by accompanying me on the trips — my thanks and my love go out to my rock, my partner, my tree rooted firmly, my caregiver and the greatest thing that has ever come into my life — my wife, Lisa.”
Now that’s affirming. We didn’t have a perfect marriage, but it was a great marriage. All the doubts I had after his death about how I could have been kinder at times, I could have had more patience, it’s okay. He knew how much I loved him and now I am affirmed by how much he loved me.
No more “not in front of the men”.
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