My husband had been out of the country on a four week work assignment. He had made a 15 hour non-stop flight into Chicago O'Hare, taken the EL into Union Station, and then brought Amtrak to Kalamazoo...almost a 24 hour trip in which he slept very little. When I picked him up at the Kalamazoo train station around 9:30 p.m., he was wiped out. I told him since the next day was Saturday and we had no place to be, he could sleep in and catch up. He responded, "Oh, no, we have to be somewhere at 10 a.m.." I disagreed with him, saying we had no where we had to be, but he insisted we did, and that I should wake him by 8 a.m.
He went straight to bed as soon as we got home, but I was still up for a while. I was trying to figure out where we needed to be the next morning. Then it dawned upon me that Sunday was our 40th anniversary. This is the first year I totally forgot about our anniversary! Paul is not a gift giver, not even a card, and so we did not make a big deal about birthdays and anniversaries. Since he was out of the country, I guess I was just looking forward to him being home, and not considering the calendar date. However, I thought, if he wants to get me flowers for our anniversary, he can do that any time...not at 10 in the morning. He had me puzzled!
The next morning as we were preparing to go out to breakfast, I asked if we were meeting anyone somewhere that day. No, we were not. He took me into Kalamazoo for breakfast, which was unusual as we normally ate in Vicksburg or Portage. It was a restaurant I had not been to before. During breakfast I noticed that Animal Planet was on the television, and I thought perhaps he was taking me to a dog kennel to pick out a new pet...since we had to put our two dogs down in the last 3 years. But I didn't say anything.
After breakfast we got in the vehicle and he told me I had to put a blindfold on, which I did. He said some guys were watching us, and the police may pull us over, thinking he is kidnapping me. Thank goodness that didn't happen! He drove for about 15-20 minutes, and I had no clue where we were. Then he parked the car and told me to wait.
When he came back to the vehicle, he opened my door and told me to keep the blindfold on and to take his hand and trust him. He told me when to step up for a curb so I didn't stumble. Then we went through two doors...and for some reason I thought we must be at a hospital. That for sure didn't make any sense!!
When we stopped walking, he said, "40 years ago I couldn't do this....but today I am." I started crying, because then for sure I knew he was doing something for our anniversary. That was totally out of character for him, especially to sacrifice sleeping in to get up and take me somewhere special. He touched my heart.
Then he took my blindfold off and there I stood, facing three store clerks on the backside of a wedding band display case. They were all smiling and I was crying, just totally amazed at what was happening. It was hard to focus on wedding bands because I was still trying to adjust to this soft spot in my husband. He obviously had spent time, while he was away for a month, thinking of me and our anniversary and how to celebrate it. And I hadn't even thought about it at all!
Well, they took my old wedding band...a $99 band that we had purchased at Service Merchandise 40 years earlier...he had a matching one...and cleaned it while I was trying to pick out a new wedding band with diamonds. I said I wanted some plain and simple, did not want to draw attention to my hand...nothing big and gaudy. The first one they put on me stayed on while they put others on to compare. I liked the first one the best, and so did Paul. He had already told them what price range to focus on, as I was worried about spending too much money...the bookkeeper in me.
They were going to need to re-size the band so they would need it for about a week. As we were wrapping up, I said to them "You must have surprises like this all the time." They said I was the first one to come in with a blindfold on!! They were totally tickled over what was happening. They even gave me a free pearl pendant necklace to honor our anniversary.
Now...if you go back to an entry I made a year ago in August you will read my blog about our 39th anniversary. Paul was out of the country at that time also, but I had received a gift card from this same jewelry store (Helzberg Diamonds) to come in for a free pearl necklace. I told them that it was my anniversary and that my husband was out of the country, but that God was using them to give me an anniversary gift on Paul's behalf. I thanked them for allowing God to use them to gift me as we could not afford such gifts. Paul had been unemployed for a year, and was on his first job. God was intervening on our special day, even though we were apart. You can read about it in the archives. It's a good story.
Every time I look at the ring on my finger, it isn't the beauty of the ring (and it is simply beautiful), it is the remembrance of what my husband did for me...the love he put into that gift...the time he took to think of me and plan such an event. I will forever cherish him in my heart!
People change. Circumstances change. You just never know what is around the next bend. Just keep going forward, trusting God, holding onto His hand, and live each day in surrender to His will. He has some surprises ahead for each of us!! Of course, the ultimate will be the day we meet Him face to face!!! Meanwhile, enjoy the journey by practicing His presence!!