Twenty years is a long time. I was thinking about that today during my run. OK, it may have started with me wishing I still had the body I possessed twenty years ago. In the middle of my run, with sweat dripping off of me, I began to recall the good ole days. You know. Those days when one could eat practically anything and never gain a pound. Sadly, those days are long gone. Twenty years, one marriage, and three kids later, a lot has changed. Indeed, my body has begun to show it's wear. And some days, I would gladly exchange the extra pounds and stretch marks for my slim figure of yesterday. Still, to have the body of twenty years ago, I would have to also trade the life I have lived in between yesterday and today. And for me, the cost is too great. So that is the reason I am sweating instead of eating Ding Dongs on the couch. I have learned a lot in twenty years. Most importantly, I now understand that life takes maintenance.
It was about this time twenty years ago that I met my sweet husband, Marty. I was a clueless 19 year old college Sophomore at Iowa State. Working his way through school, Marty was a beautiful Junior who was taking meal cards at the residence hall dining area. And though we had wandered around campus separately and even had a few classes together, Marty and I had never laid eyes on one another. All that changed with a turkey sandwich on a day I wasn't even planning to eat lunch.
Usually, I skipped lunch. But on this fateful day, my roommate insisted I go with her for lunch. A bit irritated, I stood in line impatiently. At last, I made it to the front of the line and saw the reason my friend had been so insistant that I eat. Marty was working that day. I handed my meal card to this adorable guy with the bluest eyes I had ever seen. For a moment our hands were both holding opposite sides of my meal card. I can't explain how I felt in that moment. All I can say is I knew he was special.
Shaken and surprised, I struggled to find words as I silently smiled and heard him say, "Hello." I remember thinking..."He HAS to have a girlfriend. There is no way he would be interested in me." I couldn't have been more wrong.
Marty has never stopped getting my attention. He makes me laugh. He challenges me to grow. And, he infuriates me more than any other person on this planet. That is because there is nobody in this world that I love as much as him. Time has marched on, and I still look into those eyes in amazement. He has been more than a companion. For my husband knows me and understands me in ways that I don't understand myself.
I was thinking about that today as a song played on my I-Pod. It is called "Phil's Song" and it is from the movie Band Slam. Every time I hear it, I think of my Marty.
The words go like this...
"I am no prince. I am no saint. And if that's what you believe you need. You're wrong. You don't need much. You need someone to fall back on. And I'll be that. I'll take your side. If I'm the only one, I'm used to that. I've been alone. I'd rather be...half of us. Least of you. The best of me. And I will be your prince. I'll be your saint. I will go crashing through fences in your name. I will I swear. I'll be someone to fall back on."
When I met Marty, I had a totally different idea of what I thought I needed. After all, college can be a confusing time for a girl. Life wasn't going the way I had planned and I was different then. Confused about who I was and scared about where life was going, my heart was lonely and closed off. Marty changed that. For in his eyes, I saw a safe place to grow. He saw the best in me and he was someone to fall back on. He still is. After twenty years, it is good to know that some things never change.
And so, it is for my Marty that I step into the heat and continue to sweat. For, I want to be here for as long as I can to see my life in his eyes. And my life with Marty is worth a little maintenance.