What did you say
I know you were singing
My ears won’t stop ringing
Long enough to hear
Those sweet words
And your simple melody
– Those Sweet Words
Every day someone tells me that I’m “going to meet my match”.
And every time I hear those words they are accompanied by Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and this feeling of an impending fate I cannot outrun for long.
Maybe I have met my match – and won.
Or lost. Depending on how one looks at it.
Love is confusing that way. You win when you lose and you lose when you win.
If that confuses you, it should. Like I said, love can be confusing.
Boy, am I confused.
But I’m probably the wrong person to talk about romantic love. I’m as romantic as a piece of toast – with no butter. (Or so I would have you believe.)
Despite my lack of success in this department, my love life seems to enjoy growing attention. It’s actually like a stupid movie that is absolutely horribly directed, scripted, and casted, yet gets the attention of undiscerning movie-goers, and even fans. I always thought people liked watching success. I guess people like watching failures too. Maybe like those fail videos on YouTube.
The things that people are interested in always baffles me.
A big part I’m sure is the fact that I’m my dad’s son, which makes me related to two very inspiring love stories: my parents’ and my brother Joseph’s.
And I admire these two people immensely.
Once I asked Joe, “Do you ever have a hard time with Carla?”
He looked at me and said, in his very “Joe” manner, “Yes. Of course. And I’m sure she has her times with me. But I’m supposed to love her like Christ loved the church and daily cleanse her with the Word. So that’s what I do.”
I sat there and listened to him amazed. How in the world did someone as selfish as me come out from the same mother as this angel?
Seriously, what a thing to say. What a way to look at his love. “I love her like Christ loves me, and He daily washes me. I daily wash her.”
Speaking of washing, I once commented that they could save money on water since they were married and can legally shower together. They looked at me and said, “David, you don’t take a bath together every time just because you’re married.”
Shucks. I actually think that would be neat.
The things I have to learn.
I have to give credit to my dad though, who has upped his “get David married” efforts.
NOTE: I was about to use the line “In fairness” but I absolutely dislike it when people use it as if it’s a sentence starter, or worse, a sentence in itself.
Speaker 1: In fairness to my dad, he has upped his “get David married” efforts.
Speaker 2: In fairness…
Me: rolls eyes
Anyway, back to my dad’s efforts.
A few weeks ago he called me out of the blue because he had a few things to say,
Pop: David, I’m reading this book. You HAVE to read it. You know that it’s not good for a man to be alone?
Me: Hi Pop. So what’s this book I HAVE to read?
Pop: It’s a book on how to have a great marriage, how to live happily with your wife.
Me: So you mean the book every man wishes exists actually exists??
Pop: Yes. And it’s so simple. When I get home, I just turn off my phone, ask your mother about her day, and really listen. I really just make that time about her. When we have dinner, I go ahead wash the dishes. She doesn’t have to ask me. I just do it. And it’s not hard at all. Then we just watch what she wants or whatever. It’s been amazing.
Me (thinking to myself): That’s not the book every man wishes existed.
Pop: Men have bought into this independence thing but in reality they’re just afraid to get hurt. Women on the other hand are by nature more relational. Men think they’re Batman.
Me: Hey… I like Batman.
Pop: You need a girl. And you need to start dating and learning how to be a good husband. You need to stop being Professor Higgins. Look, Joshua is getting married to a sweet girl. She’s good for him. Joe and Carla are about to have a baby. He’s really been an amazing husband. And that girl I wanted you to get to know. I was already telling you to stay…
Me: I know we talked about this. I told you, I wanted ink for my fountain pens.
Pop: Fountain pens??? I’m just saying, you need to buy this book and watch About Time.
Me: So now I have to buy a book on marriage AND watch a romance??
Pop: Just do it. Let me know when you’ve gotten it.
We ended our phone conversation and I walked up to my friend’s house. I rang the doorbell, and as I waited, I opened my phone to Instagram. And lo and behold, the first photo that came up was from my sister-in-law Carla showing Joseph on his knees waxing the floor of his upcoming baby’s room. It said this:
My husband is a hero for doing this. He is now polishing our dear Philip’s room.
And he as he polished he had this big smile on his face. Who smiles while polishing the floor???
Grrr… Talk about setting the standard high. One of the benefits of being Joseph’s younger brother is having a theologian on hand ready to take my calls and questions. The problem is having to live up to an angel.
On the other hand, it’s always healthy to be surrounded by high standards to emulate. In this area I’m a lucky guy.
I do feel really lucky.
Fast-forward to tonight. I’m sitting on my mattress on the floor with the wall as my new headboard. Earlier, some guys came to take my bed frame, my dining chairs, a table and it’s two seats, as well as a bunch of my other stuff. They have now joined my TVs, sofas, and unused clothes in an exodus out of my life as I simplify. In my kitchen stands an unplugged fridge, there are no pillows or blankets on my bed, just that thin cover I bought super cheap.
Beside me are my Moleskines, matching black notebooks stacked neatly, containing thousands of thoughts, ideas, events, and notes. As I read through them I can only think of how good God has been to me. Tucked into the entries are verses, sweet words that have sustained me throughout the years. Sweet words that I needed to hear when those I had relied on had none for me.
There is no sweeter word than a promise from a loved one. It’s more than a statement but a commitment. We like promises because we want to be able to hold on to something. That’s also why promises are so heartbreaking. Like I always say, we never fall for something we don’t want or for someone we don’t trust. We always are fall – or are fooled – by something we actually want and by someone we actually trust.
But God’s sweet words are trust-worthy. My Moleskines remind me of that. Prayers and prophecies now being answered, even as I doubted their veracity then. Now I watch the different roses now flourishing in my life, all made beautiful in their time. Sure there’s still much to weed. I’ve been an idiot too long. But it’s nice to finally see blooming.
My dad was right. It’s not good for man to be alone. Thank God, I am not alone. Never was. Never will be.
I think I’ll get off this computer, and read His sweet words…
… to me.
End of the day
The hour hand has spun
Before the night is done
I just have to hear
Those sweet words
Spoken like a melody