Happy Birthday Lily!!!
Lily turns 34 today and I just want to post a few birthday wishes and thoughts for this magnificent woman in my life.
I met Lily almost 8 years ago in Hyde Park. We both felt a divine force (and chemistry) bringing us closer and closer together until that blessed day when we got married May 29, 2010.
In many ways, that is when my life really began. Lily has introduced me to so much and given me so much in our time together. I’d like to share a few thoughts:
Lily LOVES to read: For anyone who knows me, you will know that reading feels like work and it can take me years to get through a simple novel. Yet, Lily can chew through a large volume in an afternoon. Every time Lily reads a book and tells me about it, I feel I’ve read it too. I often find myself discussing books in social situations that I haven’t read……haha! Lily has enabled me to posture as someone who is well-read, cultured and knowledgeable. Really though, she is the one behind the scenes who brings culture, knowledge, literature, music, art and history into our home.
Lily thinks, feels, loves, and worships DEEPLY: I feel safe in saying that Lily is the most authentic person I have ever met. Her desires are deeply good and her form of worship is detached from wanting praise from others, worldly vanities, or box-checking. She has a deep, thoughtful and personal relationship with God. She is such an individual, marching to the beat of her own beautiful heart. She will go months praying for things unbeknownst to me until it comes out in a conversation. She’s not showy with her faith. She is always in pursuit of understanding what is God-made and what is man-made, and in that pursuit, she has formed a way of life and a way of worship that is deeply authentic and inspiring.
Lily CARES about the underprivileged: Lily is constantly praying for, talking about and helping the underprivileged. Whether it is donating to the fistula foundation, asking me to watch Half The Sky with her and having her book club read it (remember, I don’t read much 🙂 ), or giving food to the man with a sign at the street intersection, or asking to not receive Christmas presents, but for loved-ones to donate to causes in-stead, I am amazed at how much Lily authentically cares about the unseen, the downtrodden, the underrepresented, the oppressed and the misunderstood. It is a part of her worship that I have been inspired by and completed by.
Lily LOVES God: Lily was raised in a Presbyterian church that always sang enthusiastic songs of praise about Jesus. Those days made a deep imprint on Lily and she continues to live her life with a deep happiness, and joy about her savior. I love rocking out to K-Love songs about Jesus with Lily. It is a joy beyond measure to walk hand in hand with someone who shares with me a deep love for God.
Lily sacrifices to show love to others: Father’s day was a perfect example of the way Lily sacrifices to show love to others. Many people don’t know that Lily’s doctor has asked her to refrain from walking (essentially have bed-rest) for six weeks because she has pulled her groin muscles during her pregnancy, and they are not getting any better. Despite doctor’s orders, Lily got up early on Sunday to make me a Father’s Day breakfast, got me Father’s day gifts, crafted Father’s Day “Super Dad” chocolates with the girls, made an incredible Father’s day dinner, bought me a cheesecake and even offered me a massage at the end of the day (which I turned down because I was too tired and frankly concerned for her). This has been a theme in my marriage with Lily. On my first Valentines day with her (while we were engaged), she made me steak and shrimp, and it was one of the nicest meals I’d ever had. She has such a capacity to give gestures of love to people, even if those gestures require personal sacrifice on her end.
Lily sacrifices for our family: As I mentioned, Lily SHOULD be on bed-rest, but she is not. She cares too much about our children’s development, experiences and musical training. So every day, she’s practicing instruments with the children, taking them to fun places like the pool, driving them to their summer camps and activities and making nutritious meals. She’s so driven by what she wants our children to become. Sometimes harp practice with Lydia is a 90 minute level of Dante’s Inferno (with Lydia screaming, kicking, protesting, etc), and Lily hates it too because of how on-edge it makes her, but she consistently does it, because she cares about Lydia, and she wants her to be a harpist. Her commitment to our family DEEPLY INSPIRES ME.
Lily gets me, understands me and is patient with me: Sometimes when my mind is lost in space AGAIN, and I’m about to miss the turn RIGHT BY OUR HOUSE again, and Lily has to gently remind me where to turn AGAIN, I become aware that there are things about me she has to put up with. My forgetfulness, or ability to be preoccupied with worry is not the only thing she has to put up with. Like anyone else, I can be self-centered, arrogant, opinionated, and insensitive at times. Yet, Lily has seen all of that in me, and loves me deeply through it. She knows exactly who I am, with no secrets, and loves me immensely, and the same is true for my love for her. I tell Lily all the time that she is my oasis. My work is incredibly demanding and grueling right now. Sometimes I feel very oppressed by all the work troubles, but when I think about Lily and the fun, joy and love that I experience with her, I feel a ray of sun in my heart, and it gives me courage to fight through the hard parts of my life.
Lily is FUN!: Just the other night, Lily said something before we went to bed that had me laughing so hard I could barely take it. Because of Lily, I watch cool TV series, like Sherlock, I go on amazing trips to the Pacific Northwest and Disney Land and I wear cool clothes she picked out rather than my old high-school duds (they are good until they have holes right?…..well and even then you can wear them…..or at least I do……). Lily helps me to focus on the joy and experiences available to me in this life, and worry less about my work and troubles.
Lily is extremely humble: One of my favorite things about Lily is how humble she is. Arguments never last, and peace regularly abounds because of how quickly she is to assume fault, or humbly reflect on her behavior even when it is I that am at fault. One drawback of this extreme humility is that it has made it difficult for Lily to see how good she is.
Sweetheart, since you never talk about your virtues, since you are too humble to even notice them, I am going to take this chance on your birthday to put in writing how wonderful you are so that friends and family can celebrate you with me, and so our posterity can have this record of what a remarkable Wonder Woman you are. If you could grasp this day how much I love you, how good, loving, kind your heart is, and how beautiful you are, then I would be a happy man today. May you have the most beautiful of birthdays.
I love you!!