This morning my husband quietly got out of bed early and left me to sleep. An hour or so later I awoke to the sound of the hammer drill. If you don't know what that is, it is basically a hammer infused into a drill and it sounds like a combination of the two. Only louder.
Nathan then walks into the room and softly comes alongside me and says, "do you hear the sound of your house being worked on, Mrs. Thum?" And as he leaves the room he asks, "do you want some eggs?"
Note: this was not a typical morning.
This morning's first encounter is something I would classify as romance. It's that out-of-the-ordinary gesture of love that takes me by surprise and makes my heart sing. And at this stage of life, the sound of a hammer drill is the perfect accompanist for my singing heart.
I've heard women say lately that living through a renovation has been among the more difficult things in life for them. I usually swoon when they say such things, for alas, someone gets me. Because I'm pretty sure my husband would be perfectly content living in a cardboard box full of dirty laundry, as long as it had a garage full of greasy tools and hardware.
In about a week we will have been caretakers of this church house for three years and it has, for the most part, felt like a difficult three years. So difficult, in fact, that Nathan and I started seeing a counselor. That's right, our renovation actually drove us into therapy.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining and I am definitely not ashamed. I am so thankful that I married a man who appreciates counseling as a healthy part of life and wanted it as much as I did (read: single ladies, seek this quality in a mate). I will tell anyone who will listen that we go to counseling because I hope it will encourage them to do it, too. I believe that going to counseling doesn't mean we have a bad marriage or one that is in trouble, it actually means that we have a good and healthy one. And I believe that absolutely everybody has stuff to unpack.
Fast-forward from the stressful, frustrating, divisive place that we found ourselves in as a result of living in a construction zone. Scroll through the weeks our counselor described as detox, in which things got worse before they got better. Pause on this morning, where I wanted to wake up grumpy and offended from a conversation my husband and I had last night about insurance, of all things, but couldn't in light of his sudden romance.
This morning all I could do was smile and feel utter gratitude and happiness, and I couldn't help but wonder if I was feeling that simply because things were so hard for a while. Would I take the hammer drill, sweat and sore muscles for granted if they were just expected? If I were so privileged that construction workers were always traipsing through the house and bathrooms were being efficiently constructed in less than 6 months, would I forget to stop and realize that it is happening because my husband loves me? Because I can't think of anything that feels more like love than a gladly given sacrifice.