Open Letter to the Man Who Holds My Hand in the Dark

clouds-on-hills-2Dear Man of Mine,

A couple of months ago when we were at a friend’s wedding, I stood in the fellowship hall before the ceremony wrapping the stem of the bride’s bouquet with a white ribbon, silk over thorns, and I thought.

I thought about the day sixteen years ago when we stood, bare toes on rough carpet in a plain little sanctuary, and you held my hands as we made promises for better or worse. Someone had put red glitter in the foot washing water, and the pictures took so long that all the food was gone by the time we made it to the reception, and it didn’t matter one bit because I had you and you had me. And a couple weeks later we sat in the car by a pond and talked about all the things we didn’t know yet.

And it’s true. We didn’t know what was coming. But you knew how to hold my hand.

You held my hand as we birthed two babies and lost two more, as we learned how to be a family and wobbled our way forward through moves and career changes, as we fought and made up and discovered who we were.

Then you held our youngest while I spoon fed my mom, and you held me up when we stood by her grave.

You held me quiet in the night as I learned to breathe again. And when hope light started to peek over the horizon, you cupped my face and lifted my eyes to see that tomorrow was still there.

You gave my hand a gentle squeeze the day we stood in church and sang about trust without borders, knowing our hearts were being pulled across the world. And you smiled weary over the luggage in your arms as we took our first steps into a new country, a new chapter.

And the things we didn’t know yet, oh, how they ache like a phantom limb…

Strange, new words that became familiar and found their way into our home.

Dark eyes staring big, and wide grins and coffee skin.

New rhythms, new traditions, new friends who became our family-away-from-family.

We walked those emerald hills round and round, planning and hoping and looking ahead.

And when the sudden Dark came rolling in like a storm through the valley, you were there. You wrapped me close through the nightmares that stole my sleep, stole my mind. You read Psalms against the fear that came when the stillness after midnight pressed down and all I could do was remember and remember and remember. Your voice and truth words wrapped a guard around my fragile thoughts.

I don’t know why we stayed there then, but we did. Nine more months in those mountains, the fog laying heavy every morning like a blanket of promise while I remembered, remembered, remembered the pieces of me stolen by the Dark. Every day a step upward into healing, and every night your fingers around mine as we prayed for strength, for peace, for broken things to be restored. I don’t know why we stayed, but I’m glad we did. Because I saw you like I never had before, saw you strong and humble and standing firm, and I saw us held together and carried above that impossible storm. Those months had a beauty of their own.

And now here we are, living a stone’s throw from the same pond where we stopped all those years ago and wondered what might come. There’s still an awful lot we don’t know yet. But I do know that tonight you’ll tuck our daughters into bed because they’re daddy’s girls, and you’ll pray over them promises of for better or worse, and later we’ll lay in the quiet dark, my hand in yours, and I’ll breathe easy because you’re beside me. We’re older and a little wiser and a little more ragged around the edges, but there’s hope light on the horizon and there’s still a tomorrow.

And we’re going there together.

I love you.


1 Comment

  1. Sarahjoy
    Dec 7, 2016

    Love it. Thanks for opening that letter to us.

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