Friday, April 13, 2012

I Chose Mike

The best gift I ever chose for my children, and now grandchildren, was a gift I picked out years in advance.  I chose Mike.  Coincidentally, it was also the best choice I ever made for myself.

Mike is a man of integrity, a quality I greatly admire.  People are naturally drawn to him because he is honest and real and kindhearted.  Over and over I have seen him put the needs of others above his own needs.  In fact, his life's work is based on that premise.  He put aside his own dreams when he felt he was being called to be a pastor.  He worked hard for many years, studying through college and seminary, in order to be well-prepared for that calling.

Most people who know Mike do not realize that he doesn't think of himself as a people-person.  That's an odd thing for a pastor, I suppose.  Mike is seriously an introvert, probably also not common for a pastor.  One explanation I read comparing introverts and extroverts said that extroverts get their energy amped up by being around others, whereas introverts are refueled by their time alone.  Yes, Mike is definitely an introvert.  That makes it all the more impressive to me that he spends his days giving of himself to others!

People who get a chance to know Mike quickly learn that he's funny.  He generates a good time like nobody's business!  Our children learned this very early.  Last night Maria, Eric and Cordy were at our house.  It was after 8:00 pm and Mike had been on the go, away from home, since 6:45 in the morning.  I'm certain he was tired.  When he walked in the door Cordelia no longer cared about anything or anyone else; she wanted Grandpa!  She was not to be disappointed.  Grandpa fell right into a game of "chase" and Cordy's squeals of delight made us all smile.  Maria commented that she remembered Dad coming home from work and playing with her like that.  All children should have such memories!

Mike is a man more comfortable in his jeans than anything else.  Recently a friend from church saw him in jeans helping clean our church building.  She chuckled and said how strange it seemed to see him in jeans.  It really brought home to me how differently others see him.  She didn't realize how quickly he puts on his jeans when he's not at work!  Mike at his most Mike-ness wears jeans and holds a guitar.

People from church likely don't think of Mike as an introvert either.  They see a guy who freely and easily preaches to them in a manner more like a friend talking with you.  They see the man teaching them with authority.  They see the man called by God.  They aren't wrong, but there are more sides to Mike than people can see from the church pew.

As a husband, Mike is very supportive.  One of the best examples I can think of to help explain what he is to me is to tell you about the day Sara died.  Sara was my patient when I was an oncology nurse, but she'd also become my friend.  She was a fellow nurse and she was fun and good and kind.  I'd given her chemo off and on for years, from her very first diagnosis, through her relapse.  I'd been part of her palliative care as she slipped toward her death.  I cared about her and her family.  Her husband told me mine was the only non-family photo on her fridge.  The day she died I called Mike to tell him.  Of course she wasn't the first patient I'd had to say good-bye to, and certainly not the last.  Mike knew I had a deep connection with Sara, though. I'd obviously known it was coming and I was relieved for Sara, but it still hurt so much.  When I got home that night, Mike met me at the door.  He didn't say a word but just opened his arms to me and held me while I sobbed for Sara and for all the patients we couldn't save.

Now, before you think our marriage is all about hugs and sweetness, I should tell you how mean he is as well.  You see, today is Mike's birthday.  It is also a very happy day for me.  The thing is, I am 8 weeks older than Mike.  He makes sure those 8 weeks are grueling, often bringing up our age difference.  Today, he turned 54, the same age I've enjoyed for 8 weeks.  He didn't miss a beat, though.  This morning he already pointed out that next year I will be able to order off the senior menus for a full 8 weeks before he will qualify to do so.  See?  That wasn't a very gentlemanly comment now was it?

Nevertheless, I wish a happy birthday to my husband, the jean-wearing, funny, charming, supportive, goofy, honest, kind and sometimes mean introvert!  I love you.  I still choose you.


Michelle said...

Yes, what a blessing a man is as husband, father, and grandfather! Jerry was also one such, and after seven years I still miss him. Just today there was something I wanted to ask him about--"I'll ask Jerry" popped into my mind.
Have you read the book "Quiet" by Susan Cain, about "The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking." I've just started it, being most definitely in the introvert category.

Janine said...

Such a special post honouring your man. What a wonderful couple you two make. Hope he has had a fabulous birthday! Much love to you. Janine

Allen said...

He is a special and wonderful person, just like YOU!!.

Pam said...

You made me laugh and cry. He sounds like a very wonderful man. I love how you titled it, and I know what you mean about the best choice you ever made... I made the same choice with my husband... the best one I ever made. There isn't enough positive assessment these days for our men. We need to hear it and speak it more. You are blessed, and I know he is too.

You'll have to gloat about your senior citizen discount when you get it, and make him jeliose ha ha. Well, Happy Birthday Mike!

Love the baby blanket you crochet on your previous post. Its beautiful.


Maria Rose said...

He is all of that and more!

Kate W. said...

He is amazing -- thank you for sharing "your" Mike with us today! And may he have all the blessings he deserves on his special day! Love to you both!

AKM said...

Aww, many blessings to Pastor Mike on his special day, and lots of Cardinals wins this summer! :-)

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