It is your sweet wife’s birthday today. A big one, as you already know, I am sure. She will probably give me a hard time about publishing a letter revealing she is sixty years old, but I think it is important to specify. We all talk so often how growing in age is rough and detrimental to our bodies. Wrinkles, memory loss, muscle weakness, waning beauty, etc. Obviously, this is the truth. However, maybe the less glamorous part of the truth of aging is immense understanding and knowledge. Not just about the world but, I would argue, more importantly about the self. I listened to a message from a priest who said, “we spend most of our lives finding out how far we are from God and from each other.” He is spot on. If we are paying attention, that is. I think this is why God earnestly instructs us to stay sober and vigilant. And why He tells us we have eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear. We see our lives through the lens of our wounds and do not hear the cries in our hearts for truth, grace, humility and repentance. Sometimes we do not even realize how we are wounded and how those wounds, whether self-inflicted as a fallen creature or recipient of abuse from others who are also fallen, affect us in our relationships or lack thereof. I do not deem it any merit of my own that you and I were able to reconcile our relationship before you died, dad. I had lost you. Forgotten you were my father. Avoided you as my father, really. Same with mom at times. Again, by no merit of my own, mom and I were also able to start reconciling our relationship but only when I started running towards reconciliation by running towards my brokenness. I fooled myself into thinking I had no wounds or imperfections. I was addicted to admiration and so blinded myself to seeing all of who I was. I muffled the voice of my heart crying out for healing and help.
Sometimes this is what age will bring. Experiences that force us out of hiding. I would say Covid has done this as well. Covid has forced us to be sober about the depths of our souls. Hopefully, it also has enlightened us to our need to bring those depths into relationship with God and loving people to be truly healed. To be more ourselves, broken and beloved, than we ever have been.
So as a toast to age and truth and love, I want to attempt to write to mom as you might write to her on such an incredible day. I must preface, though, I do not expect it to be any where near as special and loving as what you might say to her. More so, my hope is to help her again see herself as so desired as she truly is and help her hear a voice reminding her how beloved she is.
Dear my beautiful bride,
There are truly no words adequate to express the joy I feel in my heart today. How could I, Lyle Sajewich, be so chosen by a woman as lovely, gentle, selfless, pure and genuine as you. I won’t pretend I think of it as often as I should, but today I remember the first time we met. I remember how grateful and humbled I was for the hope of getting to know you. The hope that maybe, just maybe, you would want to get to know me, too. Your sixtieth year fills me again with these overwhelming feelings. I see you, all of you I have known during our incredible time together. The sweet moments I held you in my arms. The life-changing moments of our children being born. The loving moments of intimacy. The bitter moments of misunderstanding and argument. The sorrowful moments of disappointment and loss. The angry moments of pain and disease. I see all of our wounds being brought into the light of our relationship and again am grateful and humbled. The day I met you I had a hope of what being together with you would be like. Through all of the joys and sorrows that have lifted and wearied our spirits, this hope has only grown and bore more fruit than I could have ever imagined.
It makes me sad, my dear wife, thinking of the times I let you see yourself any less than who you are. Not just to me but to our loving Creator. If only I could love you so perfectly and show you how truly desired and treasured you are by our King. If I could just sow a tiny seed of love and grace in the garden of your heart that He keeps, then my hope would be fulfilled. I rest easy, my love, knowing your heart belongs to Him, and I send you this reminder of who you are to me, but most importantly, to Him.
“I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice,
In lovingkindness and in compassion,
And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.”
I betroth you to me forever, Julie. Happy Birthday my dear.
I dare say, dad, she is missing you but hopefully in tears of joy to soften the longing. She loves you so, and so do I.
Happy Birthday Mom,