“Is there wildlife?” she asked over the phone.
After moving from the midwest where deer and antelope play and seldom is heard a discouraging word, I paused just a moment to consider.
Well, there is my husband, I thought.
“Deer,” I replied.
We are supposedly retired here in the east. Wildlife no more. But, my husband worries about being lazy. When I see any signs of that I’m pretty sure it will be afterlife.
I don’t know what it is inside this man I married that inspires him to rip up walls with his bare hands, pound nails and re-wire receptacles. I’m not sure when the projects will end, when the carpenter’s walls will be in place and actual living begin.
His work intensity has mutated, not slackened.
My resilience has gone into hiding. I jump at 2×4’s hitting the floor. I shoot out of my chair when in quiet reverie of a good book the air compressor decides to let off steam or whatever it does. I always appreciate the finished product. It’s the journey there I’m not so fond of.
He has hobbies too, subtle reminders to relax.
My son bought him a fishing rod. I bought him flies and fake worms.
We bought him a camera, which he picks up for quick shots in between chopping wood, installing plumbing and tiling a bathroom in our unfinished basement.
He takes pictures of deer.
He has an app on his phone that calls birds. He converses with them. He feeds them. They all love him. For an in-depth look on his bird watching, see: Birds, Brains and Semi-Retirement.
He is the Footaeatasaurus to the grandkids and the fixer of what’s broken.
While he pounds nails and puts up another wall, I’m looking out the window, comfy on the couch, still talking with my friend on the phone about our wildlife. She is in Kansas. There is a trash can at the end of the driveway which reminds me, “Keep the lid on the trash or the bears will get into it,” we’ve been told.
“Oh, and bear,” I tell her.
Bear is intriguing for a Kansan.
My late mother-in-law asked every time we talked to her, “Have you seen any bear yet?”
Bear will be the ultimate sighting.
This Christmas our son-in-law bought my husband a trail cam to watch for the bear in the trash can. My husband puts it in a new spot almost daily.
The intensity with which he relaxes wears me out.
And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, I recognize, this is not just retirement, this is marriage. A number of years ago, quite a large number now, we stood before God and all the friends and relatives we could pack into the Kansas church and promised each other to love and cherish. Years layered with things we never imagined when we stood at that altar have passed through our lives. Joys and sorrows. And one thing alone has made the difference.
Jesus has walked beside us across oceans and over hills and into valleys. Ephesians 5 puts a lot of people into crisis, but I love the tender way Christ intended the marriage relationship
Ephesians 5 puts a lot of people into crisis, but I love the tender way Christ intended the marriage relationship
Way back when before we married, a pastor counseled us. “Your marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church,” he said, speaking of Ephesians 5. “It’s going to be a portrait that either testifies of that relationship or shows a different kind of picture.”
Then he asked us, “Are you ready to portray the image He intended to the world?”
Ephesians 5 puts a lot of people into crisis, but I love the tender way Christ intended the marriage relationship, the high regard, and honor He gave both to husbands and their wives. He appreciates male and female uniqueness, yet designed marital unity different than all other relationships in its “oneness.”
“For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:30-32 NKJV
Like most, our portrait has its beautiful strokes, and some chipped paint. But, the faithfulness of the Heavenly Father who joined us has been magnificent.
What can be sweeter than being pledged to this man who works far too hard, runs between his millions of projects and loves Jesus and family so deeply? I am so very proud of him and grateful for the example of Christ he is to me. Happy Valentine’s Day, Philip Schroeder.
The good news is, we found the wildlife.
Recently published article by Sylvia: