Mr. Beaver has given me flowers many times since we stood at the altar. In fact, when we were first married and he was serving on a submarine in the U.S. Navy, he would arrange ahead of time for flowers to be delivered while he was out to sea. Now at nearly three decades into our union he finds several reasons each year to grace my "office" (read home) with floral reminders of his love. I have, of course, treasured being romanced in this way.
Last night, however, he brought home what has to be the most beautiful bouquet I've ever received from him. The beauty of these flowers doesn't come from them being my favorite type of flower, although I love roses. They're not even my favorite color. They won't stand out for their longevity, already today they were beginning to fade. Instead, the beauty of these blossoms is in what they represent.
Yesterday was another hard day on my road to recovery following surgery. I was weaker than I have been in some time and at times nearly overwhelmed by pain. I was curled up in bed when Mr. Beaver tenderly presented a dozen cream-colored roses to me following a run he made to the grocery story with all the kids in tow after a long day at work. They immediately spoke volumes, vividly reminding me that my man is fulfilling the vows he made on our wedding day. Oh, we took our vows seriously as we clasped hands and stared into each other's eyes on a cold December night nearly 29 years ago. But in all honesty, saying the words and living them are two different animals. When we promised that we would stick with each other "in sickness and in health," we were both strong, resilient 22-year-olds. Long-term illness was something that happened to other people. When we got sick, we bounced back quickly.
However, the past year has to have tested the strength of Mr. Beaver's commitment to the promise to remain at my side no matter what the circumstances. After I made a slow descent into a pit of unrelenting abdominal pain, we agreed to major surgery. Within a couple of weeks following surgery I was able to say that I was better than before the procedure. However, I've yet to arrive at full healing. I just haven't been able to be the same wife to him. In addition, these long months have required my husband to take on so many of my roles in the maintenance of our family and home. (In fact, he is out right now with all the kids again buying winter clothing for our growing brood.) He has cheerfully and willingly taken on the additional responsibilities, never even whispering a word of complaint.
You can see now the reason that the cream-colored roses touched my heart deeply. They represent tried and tested love. They represent faithfulness. They represent the sweet aroma of Christ's sacrifical love for His church. They signify wedding vows kept, by His grace and for His glory.
I love you, Mr. Beaver!
Today has been a better day. I've felt stronger and faced far less pain. We don't yet understand the ups and downs, although the opportunity to see two physicians at Mayo Clinic a couple of weeks ago shone some light on the situation. Mr. Beaver and I will drive back to Rochester, MN, on Thursday (October 18) for two GI tests on Friday. With true Mayo flare, the results will apparently be back by the end of the day, and we'll meet with the GI specialist at 5 pm to hear his plan for treatment. Your prayers would, of course, be a real blessing to our family.