Have you ever read, Giants in the Earth by O.E. Rolvaag? I read it years ago in an effort to understand my brother-in-law. He is a giant and quite stoic. Swedish. He comes from a small rural town in Nebraska. See the connection? Not an exact parallel but very similar.
After reading the book, I understood the arduous task of being a pioneer with a dream. Of being a tough breed who can accomplish much because of the need to fulfill a vision. Through the difficulties of the frontier life, Per Hansa’s wife could not handle the losses and the struggles. She falls downhill emotionally and he cannot help her. He tries, but he can’t reach her need. It’s a tragic book and the ending is even more despairing. I did understand stoicism better, but mostly, I saw the frailty of weakness.
My husband is a giant. Now anyone who knows us is rolling on the floor with laughter at this point. Yes, he is quite short in stature, but not in strength and definitely not in character. His stamina amazes me, and his lighthearted determination is a rare quality. He brings much needed laughter to our home and a tenderness I find compelling. He deals with the struggles of day-to-day living with a disabled wife and three very active teenagers.
I felt a spark the first time I met him. Really! He was so cute and charming. I was intrigued. But did he pay me any mind? No. There were too many blondes around to see the short redhead blushing across the table. I tried to speak about a common connection, but he didn’t even hear me.
Not too many weeks after, I saw him coming down the walk to ask for my vote for student body president. His smile was incredible, his eyes dancing, his enthusiasm contagious. But, did he see me? No, not yet.
Months later… a new year… a new semester… something changed. Now it could have been my constant watch for wherever he was located and hoping, beyond all hope, he would catch my eye, and in that moment giving him my biggest smile and then coyly looking away. Or… it could have been God.
I tend to think it was God. You see, my husband is a giant. He has always been a giant. He is a man after God’s heart and, above all else, he has asked God’s will for his life. So, he had been praying…and somehow, at the right time, he spotted me. I knew my life would never be the same. It took him awhile to catch on, but eventually he saw me as the plan God had for him.
We will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this year. Oh, they have been good years, but mostly, they have been very hard. Almost like being on the frontier doing the best we can to make a life for ourselves and our children. He has had the strength to do the hard work, and he has had a weak wife who desperately needs him. But is our story tragic? Some might think parts of it are quite tragic, but I don’t think so…no…not at all. God has blessed us in many ways. But, you know, I feel I have been blessed the most. My husband knew when we were dating that I was not the healthiest person, but he still chose to marry me. “In sickness and in health.”
I have leaned heavily on him, and he has let me. He desires to help me and I find him fascinating. God put us together. We both had been praying for God’s will for our lives and He gave us our hearts’ desires.