(c. photo R. Nungesser, Dolomites, Italy)
When I thought about dating my husband, I kept two very important things in mind. And these two things were no small matters:
1. Richard was available to go anywhere in the world to serve God…ANYWHERE.
2. Richard was very, very adventurous!
My father always told me that part of a good marriage was having fun and going on adventures.
So I had to think. Hard.
How much adventure did I really want in my life?
How far did I really want to go to live—even if it was for God?
For some of you, these questions are no brainers.
You may say, “Anything for love!”
Or “Off, off, and away!”
Or “Never in a million years! My way or the highway!”
Well, I had a very content life. I was extremely into service in my community. And I loved my job. And my family all lived within 20 minutes of each other.
My life was rather comfortable. Grand. Lovely.
And here I was considering dating a man that would take this glorious life and FLIP it literally upside down.
But then I thought about it…Would I rather a comfortable life without Rich or an unexpected life with Rich?
And, well, you know how the story goes…
I went with the unexpected. I married Rich.
(c. photo Bill Holmes at wedding of Rich/Brooke)
Now, don’t get me wrong.
I am full of adventure too.
I have been jumping off mountains LONG before I ever met my husband (para punting).
I am the one that dragged my husband bungee jumping.
I have been parasailing and snorkeling since I was in my teenage years. And riding dirt bikes since the age of 5. And camping-I’m a pro.
I’ve even been on helicopter ride (front seat) in New Zealand. We landed and walked around on a glacier. Yeah, baby!
You see, it’s not that I am a complete bore.
BUT—I do enjoy coffee, fires, books, movies. I enjoy cuddling up at home. I love to write. And I love to eat! Good food and lots of conversation. Those are my leisure pursuits!
Then you have my husband: white water guide down the Arkansas River in Colorado for 3 years and thousands of miles; sky diving; snowboard instructor; rock climbing guide; mountaineering man; pilot of a small plane.
Yep. It’s obvious to see that he has out-adventured me.
And, yes, he’s taken me rock climbing (My least favorite adventure—let me tell you about the 90-foot-rappel. NOT MY FAVORITE).
He’s taken me flying (and he wanted me to grab the gears while he TIED his shoes. CRAZY MAN).
He’s taken me down the river—and he didn’t even dump us! Impressive. Because we watched three boats dump after we made it through the rapids and ended up helping rescue many floaters after that.
And he has taught me how to snowboard (I was a skier). Ummm…I am not sure that my bum ever appreciated those lessons. OUCH!
So, it’s not even that I am really a dud. I have gone on some of his adventures with him…
In fact, 5-months pregnant, we went swimming with Manta Rays and snorkeling where I was STUNG by a jelly fish (yes, it HURTS…bad!).
But it comes down to this.
He can LIVE off of adventure.
I can only live to experience adventure.
And when we moved to Poland—a very flat part of Poland—I actually felt something for my husband. Empathy.
Here he was in the peak of his health and physical fitness. Here he was still young enough to experience physical adventures and we were in the land of flat. Yes, many lakes, but very little places for high-risk adventure.
And, like I said, I was all chill with that. But he-he was a bit sad.
That’s when I decided that I needed to step it up in the wife department and create adventure for my husband—Meet Him in the Middle.
While adventure was not near, I had to help create adventure from afar.
Here are some ways that I was able to help my husband achieve continued adventure:
He went to work in Uganda for 6 weeks (he had previously worked in Kenya for 3 months before we were married). Before his work began, he was able to meet up with his brother and a friend in Tanzania and they all climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. In April. In the middle of a massive snowstorm. And, of course, my husband was in heaven.
In Poland, I got him Scuba Diving Lessons/Certificate for Father’s Day one year. He can now go for his Level II. (I’ll have to make that happen one day, eh?)
He was able to go to the Dolomites in Italy with a friend, Artur, and climb all of the routes that required helmets and ropes. Again, heaven.
And, one of my proudest, Mt. Elbrus on the Russia/Georgia border. Unfortunately I sent him there during the Russia/Georgia conflict. Let’s just say that it was a good thing there was a snow-covered mountain between them and the conflict. (In fact, I think that he’s going to write about this adventure in his next blog posting for us) But they made it successfully. Phew!
(Richard on Mt. Elbrus, Russia)
What did I do while he went on his adventures?
Well, I worked. I took care of Adelyne. I “stoked” the coal and took care of all of the home-front fires. But that’s all okay. Because I was very glad to do it.
And I am still glad to do it.
One of my greatest joys in life is not only to see people come to know how awesome Jesus is—but it’s to take care of my family.
If that means sending them off to the wiles of the jungle-then so be it. As long as they are happy to go AND remember to come home safely.
I know one day Adelyne and Maxwell and Belly Josephine will also want to go on adventures.
And I’ll have to take a look at their dad and say, “It’s your time. Go forth and shine!”
And it’ll be a time for new adventure in his life-Teaching his children how to go and experience the world.
I’ll sit at home, with my coffee and a big dose of prayer on my lips. But I know that it will be worth it. Because seeing joy in the eyes of my family is enough of an adventure for me!
And that is how I meet my spouse in the middle. How about you?