This is part of a series of letters in which I write to my future self:
March 11th, 2020
Dear forthcoming Michaela,
I want to remind you of Grandpa today. When you start wondering how to judge a man’s character remember Grandpa. His faithfulness to Grandma, to Daddy, to you and to many others. He was a man. A man who knew that family is not tied together by blood or ancestry but by commitment and the love that grows out of the soil of faithfulness. Grandma married him even though he picked out her wedding dress without asking her opinion first. He chose her and he stayed with her through cancer and surgery and other health problems. He saved her life from negligent doctors. He adopted her son. He served our country for over two decades in the Army and worked as a civilian many years after to provide for his family. He always sat at the head of the table every morning, coffee in one hand, newspaper in the other. He always laughed at Road Runner. He always hummed and jingled his pockets when he was looking out a window. He always insisted that shrimp was pronounced “Swimp.” He always called his “Mikkiwikki” on her birthday. He always let her curl up on his lap. He was faithful in his love but also faithful to take up any opportunity for a good argument. He was not perfect but he was a man strong enough to survive the horrors of war while being gentle enough to delight in counting a new baby’s fingers and toes to “make sure they were all there.” He was wonderfully predictable even in his unpredictableness. You know all this but it is good to remember. And I can tell you that even though he passed away 6 years ago today his faithfulness is still reaping fruit in numerous ways. It is good to see God imaged in the people He creates and Grandpa imaged God’s faithfulness to His family. Do you remember being surprised when Grandma told you that she married him because her mother told her to on her death bed? You were surprised because you know how fiercely she loved him and still loves him and I am convinced it was his faithfulness that won her heart.
And so Michaela, remember Grandpa, and as you remember him remember that a man worth marrying will embody God’s faithful love like he did. A man worth marrying will live life with a passion and commitment to Jesus and His Bride, the Church. And in the same way he will have a passionate, faithful commitment to you. He will be one that will hold you in the darkness and laugh with you in the light. He will choose you and stay with you because he will know what love is. That it is not less than attraction and valuing another but that it is also so much more. Love is an action, a choice, it is selfless, it stays, it sacrifices, it is steadfast. So if God ever chooses to give you to a man like that he will be worth it, he will be safe.
Remember, love never ends.
Your bygone you