“What IF this year I gave you for your Christmas gift from me the man you married?” I asked Karen, my beautiful bride of 42 years.
“What are you talking about?” she asked.
“Never mind,” I said.
A few weeks later the double portrait of us as newlyweds that I had commissioned our friend to paint from a beloved old photograph that had been taken outside our old church where we had once attended a friend’s wedding there decades ago and Karen wore the dress she had worn on our own honeymoon the year before finally arrived by a delivery service from clear across the county on a Friday night last month while we were home alone in our pajamas watching a romance movie together on television.
I encouraged Karen to go into the bedroom while I unwrapped our portrait and hung it on our family room wall and then led Karen by the hand with her eyes closed from the bedroom to a spot in front of the painting until I could tell her to open her eyes.
But before I asked Karen to open her eyes, I said to her . . .
“I asked you a few weeks ago what if I gave you for your Christmas gift from me the man you married . . . and I want to do my best this year to be the man I once was who so easily took things in stride because we both believed in Jesus and so love and mercy so easily flowed from just that and I’m sorry that for years and years I’ve not been that man for you and for our family . . . but with all my heart, I want to be.”
When Karen opened her eyes, she said simply, “Oh WOW! It’s BEAUTIFUL!”
Then she looked at me and said, “You already ARE that man.”
And I prayed in my heart, “May it be so, Lord Jesus . . . may it be so!”
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