Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tidings of comfort and joy

It's a tiny chip of white Corelle (yes - the dinner-plate stuff), etched by a laser - the finished size is about an inch square, and about as thick as a communion wafer (if that). A casual bump could snap it in two. A delicate ornament, hanging on our Christmas tree, reminding me of what really is important on this blessed holiday.

There are no presents under the tree; the third year it's been that way, in fact. Sister Sue is still barely functioning, physically, a year after being disabled. Sister Sandy is in the process of moving from the dear-God-it-finally-sold house to the dream-house in the country. And I am still trying to help out and dig out, myself. So all the "gifts" in my life are gifts without wrapping...

Home. A place to lay one's head. Heat, food, light. A warm bed, a hot shower. So many people have forgotten what an incredible gift these things are. Thanks to ever-growing lists of foreclosures and evictions, an awful lot of people are being reminded how crucial a home is - even if it IS a royal pain, sometimes.

Health. That's been more of a challenge this year than in years previous. Sue's continuing agonies with her back and her knees have reminded me not only how glad I am that mine are still OK, but how blessed I am to be mobile. No wheelchair or walker for me, yet - for which I am grateful. The diabetic care needs to take a notch-up this next year - but there are other things which will probably help that...

Family. Sue and Sandy and their husbands, and Sue's in-laws, completed the family circle this year. We are not all in the best of health, we are not all in the best ways financially or materially - but we are all here, alive and at least partially well. That is a great gift, all by itself. So many friends have lost loved ones in the last couple months, I find myself very grateful for this gift today.

Love. I haven't written much about this here, but when my friend Ted and I had dinner last week, he asked about work and family and health, and then said, "...And what about your love life?" Well, The Guy and I have been in constant, daily contact for more than 3 months now, aided and abetted by video instant messaging, two visits of mine to Springfield, MO and one visit by him here to northwest Ohio. We've found much that we have in common - and much about the other that fascinates each of us. We have found how much fun it is not to be alone, to be cared for by another - and it is, as the old song says, "a good feelin' to know..." And then it happened.

(I posted this elsewhere, so forgive me if this sounds familiar...)

The house Chris and his housemate owned, which has been on the market for seven months...sold. "Under contract," as they say. And the questions began, for Chris. What's holding him there, what would he do? What would WE do?

That's when he asked me...what I thought of him moving to Toledo.

I was blown away. After all, I moved to Toledo because I felt I had to, for my sister and brother in law. I don't think I would have come here otherwise. But there he was, in my arms, saying he was ready to move to Northwest Ohio...for me. Just for me.

Holy capoley, Batman.

My mind, which tends to run to the negative, saw all the reasons why it probably wouldn't work. But arrayed against all the nay-saying voices was the fact that this man wanted to be with me. And I wanted to be with him. Not just for a weekend. And not to "move in together," at least not yet. But I sure didn't want this to continue to be a long-distance relationship (it's expensive, to be honest).

The second movie we saw together was Transformers (which is just a fun piece of film, to be honest). When Sam and Megan (the two teen protagonists) encounter the Autobots for the first time, they are faced with a beat-up, driverless Camaro whose door swings open to invite them in...

Sam: It wants us to get in the car!...
Megan: And go WHERE?!?....

Sam: Fifty years from now, when you're looking back at your life, don't you want to be able to say you had the guts to 'get in the car'?...
What a revelation.

It was the same feeling I had when, years earlier, I heard Robin Williams talking about "seizing the day" and "sucking the marrow out of life" in Dead Poets Society. Yes - of course I want to "get in the car." Even if I have no idea where it's going...

And so it begins.

We found him an apartment; he has been looking for a job long-distance. This Thursday, I will take a two day journey to Springfield, MO (in between the Evil Empire's demands), and I will meet his parents for the first time. And then we will pick up the loaded Budget rent-a-truck and his Ford pickup, and head for Toledo.

Part of me is terrified - afraid of the weight of my past relational failures. Part of me keeps going over why this won't work. But a large part of me is singing hosanna's and torch songs and can't wait and is willing to leap tall buildings...and ride Greyhound buses... to make it work.

Perhaps this is the greatest gift I have received this year - the ability to even consider myself worthy of this affection, this companionship - this love. All I can do, for today, is trust God, do the best I can to be ready for what's coming...

...and be willing to get in the car.

Merry Christmas to all of you. You who share this journey with me continue to be an amazing blessing, wherever and however things go.

8 comments:

brother said...

Steve: Merry Christmas, indeed! I'm very happy for you, and I'm sure you're well aware that a little apprehension in these circumstances is certainly understandable and normal .. but what a wonderful turn of events to be able to celebrate during this holiday season. One day at a time, brother. Thanks for sharing this news. I join you in gratitude at this time for all the blessings God has bestowed. Happy new year!

wilsonian said...

Just look at you... beginning 2008 in such a different place than 2007. May it all get richer, Steve.

Peace to you, and thank you for you friendship...

Poor Mad Peter said...

Drive, he said...

Diane said...

I've been back a couple of times to this. Christmas blessings to you, and prayers as you continue the journey you are on!

Rick Brentlinger said...

Steve-

Get in the car!!!

You've longed for a partner who knows you and loves you.

God has sent an incredible man into your life.

Faith is taking the next step, knowing that there are no guarantees but also knowing that your Father loves both of you extravagantly and His plans tend to work pretty well...

You are loved and so is Chris!

I am so happy for both of you.

Rick

bobbie said...

hooray! wonderful news! i had see the note about love in your google update and wondered - duh - should have come right to the blog!

i'm so happy for you both! big changes for 2008!

Kyle said...

Steve, i'm glad you found joy this christmas. Hope the new year brings you just as much joy. No matter what road the car takes you on, make sure you keep Christ in the driver's seat. You can't go wrong then.

Bear Me Out said...

You go, bro! I mean, you know, hey, GRACE HAPPENS!