Last year my wife wrote a post about the 18 things we have learned in our 18 years of being married. It was a cute concept, and I think Angela covered everything. So when she asked me to write something for this year, I started to sweat. I couldn’t ever think of 19 things I’ve learned about anything. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t write a blog article called, “19 Things I Haven’t Learned and Consequently Can’t List Here: Unabridged Version.”
So instead, I’m going to write about one thing I’ve learned.
- Angela is more amazing than I thought.
As far as I am concerned, the highest compliment that can be paid from one person to another is this: You know everything that is wrong with me (and that’s way more than 19, I don’t mind telling you), and you love me anyway.
That’s what Angela has done for me. She just…loves. It’s such a show of what it is to love like Jesus does, and I realize now that without it I would wither away.
And it’s not just me that feels this radiating warmth. People just feel comfortable and free with her. When we were buying my car earlier this year, the salesman found himself pouring out his heart to us about his life—past and present. (I say “us” but I was more of a spectator). “I don’t know why I’m telling you this,” he kept saying. “I’m so sorry.” She just looked at him and patted his hand and told him it was OK, that obviously he needed to talk about it, and we were happy to listen.
This happens all the time. Angela jokes about it, saying that she must have a “TELL ME ALL ABOUT YOUR LIFE” tattoo on her forehead. But the truth is that she makes people feel comfortable; she listens and engages and empathizes without being patronizing or condescending.
She’s a woman on a mission. Literally. She decided that she wanted to get licensed as a minister, so she studied and applied and interviewed and got it. There wasn’t any doubt in her mind that she wanted to do it, and so she just…did it. That may not sound all that impressive, but then you didn’t watch it go from idea to reality like I did. It is such a great example for our kids to see, how wanting something means having to work for it.
And then there is Indonesia. A visiting missionary floated the idea to Angela to fly out to Indonesia and speak for a large women’s conference. “Would you be OK with it if I want to do it?” she asked.
“Sure thing,” I told her. Because, honestly, I thought it was purely hypothetical. Not that I’m not OK with it, of course. It’s just I wasn’t prepared for such decisive action. I am by nature an investigator. I like to circle around a decision and examine it, play out alternate scenarios and contingencies, try to predict pitfalls. It usually paralyzes me into indecision. Angela just knew it was an exciting opportunity, and struck while the iron was hot.
So, again, she set about getting it done. She sold personal belongings—some of which were hard to part with. But for her it was the sacrifice that needed to be made because this trip was important to her. She wants to be an instrument of God to change others’ lives. That is her ultimate calling, and her actions truly bear this out.
I love you so much for who you are. I love how you bring balance to our lives. I love how your passion for others has driven you to action, and often to sacrifice. I love how you love others—including our family. I love how you’ve opened your heart to do new things, and that you have been willing to be uncomfortable to do them. Thank you for loving me for these 19 years!