He called to tell me it was on it's way. He had been gone, out of cell phone range, for five long days. In the span of our three month courtship, it was an eternity. He took to a remote beach on the Pacific Coast of Washington, with a Bible, a camp stove, and a tent. To think about things. I could only imagine what terrible decision he might reveal to me when he got back. What does one discover in the wilderness? I hadn't ever been there alone, and to imagine one so intrepid...
And that's what he told me when he got back: to expect a lumpy package. No hint of what was inside. No epiphany shared.
It arrived, at long last, and it was lumpy indeed! It showed some obvious scuffs and bruises from what appeared to be a rather difficult journey between the Washington post and my door in Minneapolis. I peeled back the cardboard expectantly, hoping for some clue to that unrevealed epiphany from his days on the beach. Only to reveal this alien rock. Pock-marked and dull gray, at first glance one could even say it was ugly (one whose eyes weren't clouded by the rosy shades of love, that is!). Yet in each hole and crevice there was a shell. A beautiful shell. This rock had been home to hundreds of little creatures when it was adrift on the bottom of the sea, rolling in toward shore with the breakers. And he spent $26.18 to ship it to me! I had waited all my life for love letters, and this is what I got. A lumpy package, a few scrawled lines of endearment, a man's heart woven inextricably into the convoluted bumps and lumps of large gray rock shipped from coast to heartland. It wasn't until months after our wedding that he finally revealed the epiphany: on that lonely, wind-whipped strand, he heard God whisper, "Marry her."
What he received in return for the lumpy package was probably equally alien to him: line after line, page after page of letters. Ginger cookies on his birthday, overnighted so they would still be fresh. A crock full of homemade bread. A jar full of agates from the Lake Superior shore.
Two halves of one whole, making up a more complete profile of the face of God when we're put together. May 2nd came and went this year with hardly a memory shared, celebrated in a house full of sick progeny. The day we embarked on this beautiful, perplexing, synergy we call marriage. The day of our first kiss. Celebration, in these busy days, takes place in myriad unexpected ways, ways that would have seemed alien to me in years past. A quick kiss as he whisks the wee ones of to bed, a fleeting glance that shares humor in some joke above the children's heads bent over supper, hands hard at work together in the house or the yard.
Every day leaves me looking forward to more with this man, my beloved alien.