Falling In Love Again - Everyday

Document Sample
Falling In Love Again - Everyday Powered By Docstoc
					                   Falling In Love Again - Everyday
                                 By Lewis & Linda McLain



(LFM) Our courtship. The fall of 1965                   The gaze. Two nice people, not
ended a bland era and marked the                  expecting to be more than classmates,
beginning of an exciting era. Yes, it was         not especially attracted to each other at
goodbye to high school and hello to               first. But then the gaze. A face that
college. But it was much, much more. It           reveals more than the color of the eyes,
was the beginning of life for us. We met          but the connection to the heart and soul,
the first week of school. We both had             as someone more articulate has already
been dating other people, but those               pointed out. But this was not the product
relationships were already waning. We             of someone else's story. These were her
gathered with other classmates in the             lips smiling back at me -- lips I studied
Union Building (UB), had some laughs and          and began to wonder what it would be like
subconsciously measured the qualities we          to kiss them.
all possessed. Before long, we found
ourselves meeting with each other, gazing                The gaze froze the moments. I
across the flat surface of a booth.               could hear her words, my eyes widening
                                                  with pleasure as I heard her natural
       Smiles. Laughter. Neatness.                laughter, yet I recall the internal
Goodness. Listening to every word.                discussion I was having with myself as
Connecting. Eyes on the eyes. Little              the subtle twinges were being confirmed
snippets of honesty, little insights of who       as a reality. Could this be the one?
we were sent signals of a friendship
being forged. I'm sure there was a                (LHM) I remember looking into Lewis'
checklist we were going through matching          dark brown eyes as we sipped hot
interests, beliefs, experiences, visions          chocolate and continued the unrushed
and expectations (although nothing too            inventory of personal traits. There came
heavy at that point). Off to class and it         a point in time when we knew the obvious.
would be maybe a few days before we'd             Which one of us would say it out loud?
meet again at that booth. Love is so              We had become friends over just a few
subtle. No plan. But all of a sudden we           weeks. We had the chemistry for making
were thinking of each other, reflecting           a deep friendship. But the feelings of
on the brief conversation of one day and          warmth and trust, characteristic of
anticipating the chance to gaze into each         wonderful friendships, had a new visitor.
other's face the next time.
                                                        The tingling feelings were being
                                                  announced. We liked each other within


                                              1
the realm that stands firmly atop solid           Amarillo. Two semesters of school would
friendship, yet is on another plane. I            be lost, but we chose the known
finally said the words begging to be let          separation instead of the unthinkable
out: "We're in trouble, aren't we?" His           alternative. We lived for the daily mail,
"yes" came back so rapidly that it was            the enormously personal loveletters that
clear that the acknowledgment day had             received on paper what poured so
arrived.                                          naturally from the heart. Time went by
                                                  quickly, and soon we were back together
       The Beatles had been singing about         again.
the simplistic yet powerful emotions of
just holding the hand of a person you             (LHM). Wedding Day and Vows.
love, but we were experiencing it. Otis           Almost immediately we got engaged and
Reading and Al Green had not only the             set the date for August 24, 1968, about
perfect words but the very core of the            16 months ahead. The wedding date
wonderfully dizzy feelings that come              zoomed in like a rocket. The selection of
when awashed in pure, wholesome, old-             my dress, flowers and all the related
fashion expressions of love.                      events came together rather well. The
                                                  day of the wedding was spent with my
       We did walk the campus, stomping           family and bridesmaids making all over
in the snow, almost any excuse for                me. My dad and I practiced walking down
holding each other, to brush back his hair        the aisle in the hallway of my home. He
(he had some back then) as an excuse to           kept messing up on purpose, and I knew
touch his face, to kiss like two giddy 18         that it was just to hold me as much as he
year olds free to roam a college campus           could in these last hours under his roof.
and discover the wonder of being in love.
                                                          Before long, we were walking down
(LFM) From our first real date on                 the aisle with the thunder of the organ
January 14, 1966 after the affirmation            and the beaming faces of the
of friendship had been going on for a few         congregation changing into a slow-motion
months, the wonderful winter turned into          floating scene. I remember my heart
an even lovelier spring and then the best         pounding, seeing Lewis at the end of the
summer of my life. We saw each other              aisle, hearing snippets of my childhood
almost every day.                                 pastor asking us to repeat the vows, and
                                                  the jolt of Lewis' warm lips as he kissed
       But the threat of Viet Nam had             this dream awake for me.
the potential to interrupt this beautiful
beginning, a fear we lived with until the                It was several years before I
fall of 1966. I had a chance to go into the       really went back to examine those vows.
Texas Air National Guard, four months of          Lewis worked while I finished school and
separation, but only to San Antonio and           then he went back to finish when I

                                              2
started teaching. Our first four years of         and listen endlessly to every word
marriage were wonderfully simple, living          expressed?
in two nice apartments, meeting friends,
having evenings and weekends free,                (LFM) Two turning points. Then came
taking driving trips and making full use of       two turning points. The first is that we
the holidays. It was heaven!                      went on a Marriage Encounter weekend in
                                                  June 1976. There is no way we can do
       Lewis graduated from college in            justice to describe the benefits of that
December 1971 and by early 1972 was               weekend within our allotted time. Let us
working his way through the career                just say for now that it was life-changing
steps. By October 1972 we had                     and influenced us in every way that we
purchased our first home and by                   will be talking about for the remainder of
September 1974 had our son, Kenneth.              today and for next Sunday.

      Life was grand, don't get me                       We were taught how to
wrong, but the pulls of the modern world          communicate at a very deep level on the
made it tough to be the couple we once            ME weekend. We also got involved in the
were. The tiredness of the workday for            leadership of ME as well in the leadership
Lewis and the demands of raising a child          in our church. The Lord ignited us. We
were enormous -- even though I quit               worked together in one church and then
teaching to stay home to be with                  started in the leadership of another
Kenneth. Lewis and I have never had a             church when we moved to a new
period of our lives that jeopardized our          community. Our new church grew from
marriage, but our busyness and our                zero to 1,100 members in seven short
acquiescence to society's standards had           years. Linda led the women's group, I
taken the shine off our relationship.             chaired the long-range planning
Much of it was just fatigue and bad               committee, the finance committee and
nerves, but what had been so simple just          was lay leader in the church.
a few years earlier had gotten so
complicated. Some of the humor wasn't                     Our life got complicated again. Our
there like it once was.                           son was a teenager needing us more and
                                                  more while we were involved in things
       Child raising was turning out to not       that, while all for good purposes, left
be our strong suit. As much as we loved           little of us for him. We're going to tell
this son who we prayed for over a long,           you the rest of that story next week. But
two-year period when I could not get              for now, we'll just say that we had to
pregnant, he was testing our patience,            take a second turn and pledge to return
our skills and our energies. What                 to a more simple life, one that nurtured
happened to those days when we could              our relationship, not put strife on it.
just sit and gaze into each other's eyes

                                              3
       We began an assessment of what           years I dreaded weekends, but now they
we wanted in life -- for the remainder of       were the most wonderful, soothing balm
it. We drew on that core love that had          to our lives. There came a moment of
never wavered. We looked back at what           realization: why would anyone want to get
we believed in, what we had advocated in        married if that day was going to be the
terms of a rich marriage relationship. We       pinnacle of your life -- and everything
revisited our marriage vows in a most           was down hill from there?
serious and beautiful way.
                                                      Almost unknowingly, our decision to
       We remembered those dreams of            define success was first and foremost
two 18-year olds. We had accumulated            based on whether we could provide the
some modest wealth, but none of that            "stuff" to make our marriage successful.
mattered if we no longer got lost in the        It was our top priority. It was actually a
wondrous gaze. We were astounded when           rekindling of a dream we shared over hot
we realized that we could pretty much           chocolate. Could it be that two teenagers
have anything in life that we wanted            had actually verbalized the crux of
(within reason) but already had as much         happiness in life?
as we needed.
                                                       All we needed to do is to be the
(LHM) We looked at everything that              trusting teenagers of 1965 and allow
took away from our personal time, other         ourselves to fall in love again - everyday.
than our parental responsibilities. The         We wanted to be in love everyday with
only wealth we thought was important            the same or greater freshness and
was to have someone do our yard, so we          intensity as during our courtship -- even
could spend Saturdays running errands           better. Is was as simple as making a
together and taking naps that left our          decision, because that is just what it was:
evenings refreshed.                             saying let's be who we want to be and live
                                                like we want to live.
      We wanted to eat out most
evenings, largely because we found it            (LFM) How? Allow us to summarize a
took us away from the distractions of TV        few of the key points we've tried to
and telephone as well as the burden of          include in our sharing so that you might
cooking. We found that our family               use it to your advantage:
conversation with our son was different,
deeper. It is amazing what happens when               Friendship. The underlying
you can look into the face of the person        foundation for being in love everyday is
to whom you are trying to communicate.          friendship. Hopefully, you are able to say
                                                to each other that you are best friends.
     Before long we were amazed at              If not, make a commitment to make your
how much more relaxed we were. For              spouse your best friend. I cannot imagine

                                            4
my best friend not being the person I'm                 She described her feelings of
married to. Is there any greater trust            emptiness when she would see other
than that which you share with a best             fathers coming home and smell dinner
friend? Isn't the definition of a best            cooking through the neighbors open
friend someone with whom you can share            windows. To this day she does not like to
anything?                                         come home to an empty house and
                                                  desired for our son to not have that
      Communication that connects.                experience when he was growing up.
Communications must be on a deep level
and deep level means on a feelings level.                We all have feelings of joy, anger,
If I share with Linda all about my day            hurt, security, frustration, confusion,
with nothing but facts and descriptions           helplessness, nostalgia, loneliness and
of the events, I have told her very little        accomplishment. We are humans with one
about me. When I tell her how I felt              of the most wonderful gift God granted
betrayed and misunderstood by how                 to humans -- the ability to feel, to have
someone mischaracterized what I said,             emotions. The ultimate gift to your best
she can better understand my hurt or              friend and lover is to communicate those
anger.                                            feelings, to feel each other's feelings.
                                                  One of our favorite sayings has always
       When I tell her I felt honored and         been, "may we be so close that when one
humbled when in front of a group                  of us cries, the other tastes salt."
someone gave me credit for finding a
solution to a complicated problem, then           (LHM).Wholesome Humor. Lewis and I
she can understand my internal reaction.          came together with a sense of humor, it
If you don't know how I feel inside, then         was as attractive as any physical or
you know nothing about me, really.                sexual attraction. We have nurtured this
                                                  quality of humor, and it has become a
       Years ago, Linda said she would like       wonderful aspect of communication. It
to work when our son got in school, but           breaks the tension at times, but it is not
only in a job that allowed her to quit by         a façade. It is uplifting or wholesome
mid-afternoon so she could be home when           humor. We never give each other jabs --
he came home from school in the                   especially in front of people. In fact,
afternoon. But there was a different              when we are around other people who cut
understanding of that statement when              each other down in the form of jokes or
Linda shared with me that her loneliest           biting humor, we bristle as if they have
hours as a child were between the time            made them the butt of a cruel joke.
school was out and when her parents
came home in the evening, although her                  Elevate One Another. Let us take
older sister was usually there with her.          that a step further. This trait probably
                                                  comes from our parents directly, but it is

                                              5
so important. Rarely do we speak of each           reaching back to send the follower into a
other in front of people, especially when          whip motion. No, usually we have pulled
not in the presence of our mate, unless it         each other through words of
is of an uplifting nature. I've always tried       encouragement, sometimes even warm
to mention to our son the best qualities           silence.
of Lewis, and Lewis says the same thing
about me to him.                                          Cold silence is when you throw up
                                                   the walls by an impatient sigh and a
       First, the comments are true and            treatment that chills the air. Warm
made in a genuine tone. Second, his image          silence is when you say little with your
of his parents is elevated, a conditioning         words, but you convey patience and unity
that has hopefully translated into how he          through a rub on the shoulder, a quiet
treats his own spouse. Why would we not            hug or just a pat on the hand.
look for the good and announce to the
world a hundred traits of goodness about                  And let me give you the most
the most special person in this world --           bitter pill we have for you to swallow
our best friend and lover?                         today. It runs counter to everything our
                                                   society has taught us. You may even jump
(LFM) Pull, Don't Push. Linda and I are            quickly to the conclusion that we are
actually not the same people who fell in           contradicting an earlier statement about
love 32 years ago. We have changed. We             honesty. A Catholic priest once lead an
have matured in all the ways you would             evening discussion we attended and made
expect. However, we haven't always                 this statement, an assertion I first
changed at the same pace or in the same            wanted to argue with him. He said,
way. There have been times when I was in           "There is no such thing as constructive
a different relationship with Christ than          criticism. ALL CRITICISM IS
she was. There have been other times               DESTRUCTIVE."
when it was just the opposite.
                                                          Most of us know our faults. Most
       Little things like her intuition            of us would like to think that we are
simply amaze me to this day, yet my                thick-skinned. Society has certainly
insights seem to reflect a different               taught us how to wear a mask. Most of us
image of the same object at times. I was           would like to think that we are
the academic misfit in our early years             psychologically and even spiritually strong
and have come along at my own pace. You            enough to handle criticism. That's
see, there have been many times when we            baloney!
would have erred seriously and perhaps
fatally if we had pushed each other.                      I can remember almost every word
Instead, we have tended to pull each               of criticism every said to me by anyone. I
other. Not like a roller derby skater              have almost never been enlightened by

                                               6
those words of criticism, only a                 disillusionment. I'm not sure how to
confirmation of something I knew about           describe the fruits of patience, loyalty
myself, even struggled over. The                 and simple hard work. It goes back to the
criticism increased my struggle over self-       vows, but it is also rooted in every
worth at the least and planted seeds of          genuine love song that tugs at our hearts.
resentment at the worse.
                                                         It is at the heart of Ephesians
       Most often, the same message can          5:24 if you don't make the mistake of
be communicated through example or               the fundamentalist who stops at the
through encouragement in its many forms          "wives, obey your husbands part". Paul
(including wholesome humor). There may           says, "husbands, love your wives as Christ
even be a legitimate time of intervention        loved the church … and was willing to die
when Linda needs to be put in her place          for it"
or me in my place. But we have learned
that you build on strengths, not by trying       (LFM) The old saying of marriage being a
to correct every little perceived                50/50 proposition is a big lie. It is
deficiency. Why? Because, like it or not,        110/110. Perhaps it is partially because I
ALL CRITICISM IS DESTRUCTIVE.                    only had one girl I ever really loved and it
                                                 just so happened that she is the only girl
(LHM) Relish the "forever" part. I'm             who ever really loved me, but my calling in
not completely sure we understood the            life is clear. I was put here to make Linda
forever part when we first got married.          the happiest, most secure person on the
We grew up during a time when our                face of this earth. The seeds of this
generation searched everything looking           charge came across a cup of hot
for escape clauses, and I'm terribly             chocolate in college, but the realization
ashamed of that part of our generation.          didn't hit me until about 12 years ago.

        We thrill at the experience of                  It has always been there these 32
things new -- whether it be a possession,        years. We have been blessed with a good
a job, or a relationship with another            marriage all these years but 12 years ago
person. We buckle, however, almost at            it became a great marriage. I have been
the instant of disappointment or                 fairly successful as a business person,
disillusionment. We are unskilled on how         but none of that pushes my marriage out
to work through disillusionment. Our             of first place.
society has taught us to just discard,
abandon, don't put up with it. Even I have              When I say that, many of you may
worn out the phrase, "life is too short."        bristle because I didn't say Christ was
                                                 first place. Not only is what I'm saying
      But there is something that lies           not intended to diminish Christ in our
just beyond that tough phase of                  lives -- He was made a partner of this

                                             7
marriage on August 24, 1968 -- but my                    There is not a business associate,
love for Linda made it possible for me to         co-worker, neighbor or even a relative
understand an aspect of Christ that               that we would allow to put "asunder" our
makes perfect sense after we met and              relationship. We would not even allow an
fell in love.                                     inch and view any encroachment to our
                                                  marriage covenant as unacceptable. You
       I personally don't know how it is          see, we have a stake in your marriage and
that I could understand Christ's                  you have a stake in ours.
unconditional love if it were not for being
able to experience it through a person            (LFM) The second point is a little heavier
Christ joined with me 30 years ago. How           -- at least it will be to some. We aren't
could you understand something so                 going to be around forever. Surprise,
central to the substance of life itself,          surprise! Linda and I both have found it
like unconditional love, without ever             to be a profoundly healthy exercise to
having experienced it?                            talk about death. We talked about it
                                                  years ago, way before we reached the
(LHM) Don't take things for granted.              half-century mark and got a decade and a
There are two things that we'll mention           half away from retirement. It is not a
to seal our loveletter to you today and           negative topic as some think. What could
close by unveiling the communication tool         be more beautiful than to look at the end
that has made the difference for us.              of life and work backwards. It shapes our
Again, we go back to the vows. First, let's       perspective about today and how we want
talk about that "asunder" thing. I would          to live it.
be foolish to think that even if we had
the best marriage in the world that it is                Stephen Covey has thankfully
impossible for us to have a circumstance          popularized the expression, "I've never
or person separate us.                            met anyone on their death bed saying
                                                  they sure wish they could have spent
       We acknowledge that evil is out            more time at the office." In a most
there, and that we are but weak humans.           positive yet sobering way, Linda and I
Our circle of friends is not the same             explored that thought about 20 years
ones today as we once had. One day we             ago, I'm sure it subtly forged our outlook
realized that we had systematically               that is manifested in this sharing today.
distanced ourselves from just about               We'll elaborate on another part of that
anyone who doesn't affirm the sanctity            light next week as it relates to our
of marriage -- at least from anyone who           relatives and friends.
undermines their marriage relationship or
ours. We seek wholesome relationships                     It boils down to this: Don't wait
with others and try our best to witness           until it is too late. If Linda and I weren't
to those who do not.                              here when the sun rose tomorrow, we

                                              8
wouldn't carry the burden of not having           of mentoring our ten varsity
said all that we wanted to say to each            cheerleaders, and our anticipation of
other. Say it. Say it today!                      coming to this Sunday School class
                                                  today?
(LHM) The tool - daily loveletters. We
will now close with just a quick discussion              We'll try to add more explanation
of the tool that has made us search our           to the rewards of writing love letters in
heart and souls with vigor, that has              our sharing next week. We leave you with
shaped the people we are today. It was            this challenge: What can you do for your
the tool we learned on the Marriage               spouse or spouse to be to make marriage
Encounter weekend. We learned how to              a top priority and to make every day as
communicate in the form of love letters.          rich and meaningful as the days of
LEARN? Really, we were just reminded to           courtship? Write a love letter to your
do what was natural when we were                  spouse or spouse to be describing how
separated for the twelve weeks Lewis              you feel now about marriage. L&L.
was on active duty years before.

       We write a love letter to each             Questions???
other every day. We describe our day
but we also describe our feelings. We lift
each other up. We put things in
perspective. We write only about a page
and then we share them. We have written
daily love letters for almost 22 years and
are 15 days short of 12 years without
missing a single day. So what do we talk
about for what is approaching probably
8,000 letters? Our life!!!

       How else could we have worked
through the challenges of raising a child,
the anxiety of quitting a good-paying job
to go into business on my own, the grief
of death of pets and the awful loss from
the death of parents, the pain of moving
homesteads, the agony of selling a
business, the joy of our son's
engagement and wedding, the rich
blessing of going with students and
parents to Europe five times, the delight

                                              9

				
DOCUMENT INFO