Someone asked me why I thought God had brought us to South Dakota. That’s a very good question. One I’ve been struggling with for three years. I did have an answer for her. It was to get to know my husband.
Okay, I know we’ve been married for 33 years. You’d think I’d know him pretty well. And I do. I tell him that I have a PhD in him. I study him. I know his habits. When he’s in the bathroom in the morning if I listen for ten seconds, I know exactly how much longer it will be before he’s done. I know his favorite foods. I know how he likes his eggs. I know his likes and dislikes. I know his sizes. There isn’t much I didn’t know about my husband, even before we came to the land of snow and ice.
So why did I have to come here to know my husband that I didn’t know. When the call came for us to come to South Dakota we were celebrating our anniversary at a beach in Florida. We’d been married for 30 years. I don’t often get my husband to go to Florida nor does he love the beach as I do. It had the potential to be such a perfect day. We were there for five days. Usually our anniversary trips are overnight, if that.
|Birds at Coco Beach|
|Picture I took as we left the beach that evening|
It was an omen of things to come. I said to him, do you realize this is the longest we’ve ever been alone, just the two of us? He married a ready-made family of 4, my three children and me. In a little over a year of the “I do” our first child came, then another, and another, and another and another. Organized and disorganized chaos was the manner of our lives. Kids, careers, life – always busy. Somehow we managed to stay together in spite of some very serious challenges. Sometimes our love continued through all manner of disappointments, discouragement, and despair. We survived illness, death, and poverty. Trust me, I’m not being dramatic either. We went through hell and back quite a few times.
For the last three years, it’s been him and I, alone. Those five days that seems so unique are now our way of life. At times, we came close to not making it. The pressures of job and snow almost shattered our lives. I sunk into a deep depression. He fought battles at work. We learned that without each other, we couldn’t stand the pressure. We learned how to hang on to each other. In the process, I fell more deeply in love with my husband than I ever dreamed possible. Why? Because I’ve seen his character. I’ve learned he is a man who can be faithful. I’ve learned to put the issues of the past, in the past. I’ve learned to forgive. I’ve learned that he loves me.
I’m watching him sadly begin to disconnect from his dream job. I’m watching him bring home personal remnants from his office. I see his sad face as people ignore him and marginalize him. I see how hurt he is by the lack of appreciation from those he cared so deeply for and helped. I’ve seen a man who truly cared for the people of South Dakota and Extension hang his head as in cannibalistic fashion, they jockey for position. I hurt for him.
He’s strong. But I’ve seen his vulnerable side. I’ve leaned on him. I am going to be strong, so he can lean on me through this transition. It’s the least I can do.
Yes, ours is a great love story, and it's not over. We go back to Tennessee more in love with each other than when we came to South Dakota. For that, I suppose I will have to say Thank You to South Dakota and it's Storehouse of Snow.