This happens from time to time. Because it's the world. Because the world is messed up. Because there are so many problems and so much pain. It's sad and it's hard and it sucks sometimes.
We all try to make our own personal worlds okay. We fall in love and surround ourselves with the people we consider family. We go through our days and make our plans and work really hard. We all try, all of us, in different ways.
My world has been lonely lately. It's been lonely for a long while, to be honest. My kids are growing up, as they should. They are working their part-time jobs and busy with their friends and activities. It's good. It's as it should be. We're all busy, and that part is hard and that part is sometimes lonely. I'm working my full-time job and a second part-time job I took so things could be just a little easier. It's not many hours and it's kind of fun, so it's not a big deal. Our car insurance is high because of two teenage drivers, the Boy Child just got braces. These things won't kill us, won't break us...but the extra money helps me feel a little better. My husband works his full-time job and a few night a week he works a part-time job too, delivering pizza. The children aren't children anymore. They are getting older and next year they will be in college full-time. He wants them to stay home with us for a few more years. I want this too. We want to pay off our house. We want to travel. So we work hard now and make some sacrifices. We set aside our money so they can live here with us a little longer, so we can own our house free and clear, so we can see Alaska and England and all the other places we want to go.
Mostly, it's for the kids. We want them to be here. There are good colleges close by and we want them to be here, with us. We want their lives to be easier. We want them to work, we want them to get good grades, but the other pressures of life can wait just a bit.
I love them. He loves them. Biologically he is not their father, but oh...he is their daddy. With every ounce of his heart, he is.
This life is the new normal. It's not been a particularly fun normal, but it's the new normal. We're busy. We're thankful for the time we all get to have, when we do get the time.
It's okay. I don't love it, but it's okay. It's been okay.
It was all okay until last night.
Last night someone hurt my husband.
Last night someone attacked him. Hit him in the head. Broke his nose. Beat him until he was black and blue. Until he bled all over the sidewalk, the car, himself.
For less than $30 and a pizza. This is what they did to my husband.
My precious husband. Who works two jobs for his family...because he loves two children that aren't biologically his enough to want to make their lives easier and give them a good start in life. My husband who is unfailingly cheerful and positive and funny despite his lack of sleep. My husband who is optimistic about things when I am so terribly negative. My husband who is the kindest, sweetest soul I know.
My husband who has loved me through thick and thin (literally). My husband who despite having no real-world example, stepped up and is a wonderful father. My husband who quietly accepts my particular brand of crazy and sometimes just shakes his head and wonders what I'll come up with next. My husband who is good, kind, decent, and hard-working.
My husband, who didn't deserve this.
First I cried and then I got mad. I'm still mad.
Okay, actually? I'm furious. I'm livid. And today, as I was driving my husband to the pharmacy to pick up the medication that he needs to dull the pain and hopefully prevent infection I said something like, "I want to find the person who did this to you, rip their testicles off, and force them down their throat."
Actually, that might have been exactly what I said.
And actually? That's exactly what I felt.
I said this to my husband.
And do you know what he said?
"I prayed for him this morning."
This man who attacked my husband. Who beat him, hit him in the head, and broke his nose. Who stole from Jason the money that he earned. Who stole from the company my husband works for. Who took what was not his and ran off like a cowardly piece of crap.
My husband prayed for him.
People have hurt Jason, and not just this thug. There is more hurt in him than I will ever know. I have come to a somewhat reluctant acceptance about all the things that I will never know about this man and all the hurt he has kept locked away. Yet, he gets what is important. He understands what makes a family. He loves. He accepts. He forgives. He finds grace.
I am not at this point yet. I am angry. I am still so very angry. I want this person caught. I want them to pay for what they did. I want to shake them and scream at them, "How dare you hurt him?!?! Don't you understand what he means to me??! Don't you know? Don't you get it?!?" I know he doesn't, of course he doesn't, but my God. MY GOD.
And Jason. He prays.
His first thought is of me and the kids. He didn't want us, especially the kids, to see him this way. He didn't want such a painful reminder that there are such bad people in the world, such desperate, awful circumstances. He doesn't want them to worry. He doesn't want me to worry.
I know it could be worse. I know this. It could have been a gun or a knife and it could have been that my husband never came home. I know this. It's horrible to even think about, but it's sitting in a huge lump in my throat and it's been here all day. I could have lost him and that is too horrible to even comprehend.
For the past several years I've thought of Thanksgiving in terms of unanswered prayers. As many people know, my first husband decided oh so many years ago that Thanksgiving day was the ideal time to tell me that he didn't love me and never had. That he was leaving and he didn't give a damn that I was pregnant with twins. Thanksgiving was a hard day for me for many years and then eventually I came to understand what a blessing that horrible event was. Without that terrible day in 1997, I would not have done many things, including meeting my Jason. The man who tells me every day that I am beautiful. Who took on the dad role when someone else wouldn't and then couldn't. Who appreciates everything I do (even down to the tiny things like replacing the batteries in the clock and buying paper towels) and tells me so. Who is currently quietly snoozing next to me with two black eyes, a broken nose, swollen lips, and a busted forehead.
He prayed for the man who attacked him. My God.
That is beautiful and sad and painful and kind of amazing, all at once. That goodwill. That forgiveness. That undeserved kindness.
I suppose that's what grace is.
This Thanksgiving I am thankful my husband came home. I am thankful there was no gun or knife. I am thankful I get another day with him.
I am thankful that he continues to show me, with his quiet words and actions, what it is to have grace.