Today the most important man in my life turns 33. In all the chaos of life, his birthday snuck up on us. For the 2nd year in a row, Ezzy has stolen the spotlight and we are completely consumed with her care. But in all honesty this humble man wouldn’t have it any other way. Some might still be surprised to hear that, mainly because they don’t see or interact with him regularly to experience the dramatic change that has taken place in his life.
I am forever grateful that God decided to move William Richard Harney to rainy Ketchikan Alaska. His family lived on the other side of the US, Baltimore Maryland. Why on earth a family, surrounded with their own family on the east coast would pack up and move to a tiny island that has 5 stop lights, intersections and a road system that abruptly ends on each side of the island is so clearly divinely planned to me.
A friend in highschool introduced me to Richard, I can’t shake that day. We were sitting in sophomore hall talking and I remember her saying “here he comes”. I looked up, saw a 16 year old boy full of more testosterone than seemed legal, a goatee, earrings, ball cap, a grey sweatshirt (yes I remember the colors even) kaki skater pants and skater shoes. My heart didn’t skip a beat, I didn’t see him and say “that is the one”. I simply saw a boy, shrugged it off and went back to my life…
There are days when he stands at the front door, a head overtaken with grey hair, breakfast on a plate (because he spent his morning making it for everyone else and didn’t get a chance to sit and eat it while it was hot), he locks eyes with me as I sit and sip my hot coffee trying to armor up for the day. It is in that moment time stands still, my heart will skip a beat, a smile over takes the corner of his mouth and I know exactly what that man is telling me without a single word uttered.
He is 33, I am 31, I can’t imagine a day without him in my life, I am still pursued, sometimes more intently then I was when I was 16.
We recently took our babies on a walk in the blip of sunshine we received. We dropped the commitments already booked on our calendar for the day, something we rarely do. Responsibilities followed through is a big deal for our family. Yet he called me at the end of his work day and said, let’s go walk and ride bikes. How do I say no? I have been blessed with a man that chooses us daily, more then daily, chooses us with each breath he takes. Do I wonder what life would have been like had we parted our ways permanently? Yes, there have been days my mind wanders, especially when the stress is high. I was bound for a private east coast college, he was pursing his love of soccer in college. I recall making the call, deciding to stay close to him. I recall the moment I thought I made a mistake, telling him I needed space. He waited, waited for me to spread my wings. To make sure I knew as he did, that we were meant for eternity.
He works harder then most men his age I know, I sometimes have to corner him and tell him to turn it off! I see him walk in the door, heavy shoulders, a look on his face that he desperately needs to go and retreat in time out, but there he is, engulfed with little ladies wrapped around his legs, a son demanding his immediate attention. His eyes lock on mine, no words need to be said, I know what he is saying…
I am watching his care extend beyond his own children. He chooses every season, every sport to coach our kids. That means that 8-12 kids come under his wings. It means that when I watch games come and go, there are little souls running up to him, hanging on him, resting in his care as they are seen as valued.
Summer seems to turn most wives into widows. Not me, please don’t think I am judging your circumstance if it does the opposite for you. It is our story, our journey, one that we have chosen together. Summer means that he has soccer teams to coach on Friday and Saturdays, meaning the deer hunt has to be put on hold, the early morning bite is going to have to happen without his pole in the water. It means that he is going to get out of bed, go and wake his little warrior up, hold her, tell her she is precious to him, put her on her vest and snuggle his other babies as we get ready for our always packed Saturday’s. He chooses us, trusting that if we are taken care of well, provisions will come in abundance, a family rooted in Christ will happen, hunts, weekends to himself with happen when God ordains it too.
A new little life is growing inside of me, responding to his deep voice when he decides to call out her name as the rich tones of his voice vibrate on my belly. I see him already making room for another soul that is going to depend on him, need his care and love. Does he have days where caring for 6 mouths gets to him, um yeah, I don’t know how it couldn’t, but he does it with grace and assurance that God created him for this life.
When I think about the cocky youthfully arrogant 17 yr old boy that is now the confident 33 yr old man centered in Christ, I see a testimony of the power of God. I see a man being honored, a man that God absolutely believes will lead his family in love to the throne room of God, a man that sees what has been given to him as a blessing and not a curse.
If you see my man today, wish him a happy birthday, he is a man that lives behind the background, rarely receiving the recognition for all that he does for us and many others.
Happy birthday my Ephesians 5 man!