Day Ten: A Dozen Reasons
Sometimes we experience our miracles through the eyes of another. This is one such time.
Times were stressful, and decisions were needing to be made. My husband takes making decisions very seriously, he weighs the possible outcomes and strives very hard to make the right decision. Sometimes he puts the decision off, because he does not want to make the wrong choice, especially when his decision affects the lives of others. He can be very hard on himself.
The time frame of this story takes place when my husband was in the middle of making a decision, a very serious one. To say that he was stressed out about it, may be putting it mildly.
At the time, I was giddy with excitement. I felt we were on the right path, but my husband had to be sure, so the decision had not yet been made.
My husband is quiet, irritable, and slightly withdrawn when he has a lot on his mind. It has taken me a while to become accustomed to this, because I am a talker when it comes to troubles. I want to discuss it, get to the bottom of it, and fix it as soon as possible, with words and conversation. We couldn’t be more opposite when it comes to dealing with stress.
During this time of important decisions, I had recently had an amazing encounter with a stranger at work, one I have wrote about previously (The Visitor). Of course I had told my husband all about it.
My husband had been equally intrigued by this visit, and I believe that he was happy for me. Still… He was wrestling with himself and his worries.
One of the things my husband and I like to do together is walk. It helps us to relax. We leash up our dogs, who prance around with the excitement of kids on Christmas morning, as soon as they even hear the word, WALK. Then we set out, talking, enjoying the outside, and giving the dogs some extra exercise.
On this particular morning, I had brought up the story of my visitor again, voicing out loud that maybe this was our “lucky” month.
My husband responded a little gloomily to this (I affectionately call him my Eeyore sometimes), and looked at me.
“Nothing like that ever happens to me. I don’t see signs.” It was matter of fact, slightly confrontational, and knowing he was not in a great mood, I treaded lightly.
“Ask for one,” I said. “I bet you He will show you something.” I was trying to stay upbeat and positive, for both of us. Sometimes staying cheerful is extremely hard when he is grumpy, but I managed. I tried to stay happy for him, because I knew the stress he was under. I was also trying to be positive for myself, because when my man is happy, I am the happiest woman in the world. I was bound and determined to be his sunshine.
He sort of shrugged it off, my comment about asking God to show him something, and didn’t really respond. I left it alone, and we gathered our happy little fur-faces up, and headed out for our walk.
There is something about the excitement of happy dogs, beautiful weather, and exercise that helps to lift the spirits. Soon, my husband seemed to be in a better mood. We walked and talked, and even held hands.
Before we bought our home, we rented one. The neighbourhood we lived in was a quiet one, and had a baseball park nearby that had a makeshift trail behind it. This trail led through a path of trees. After walking on this path for just a moment, it opened up into a spacious clearing surrounded by trees, and with a gurgling creek to one side. Sometimes there were deer, but we never usually saw people, so it was a great place to unleash the dogs for a while and let them sniff around and roam. They loved it, and it was really fun to watch them love it.
This day was no different, and we headed to our little clearing. We let the dogs run, and strolled around. It was a beautiful day, and it was peaceful.
That’s when my husband saw Jesus.
Okay, time out.
I do not want anyone to think we are crazy, out there, or loopy people. We are nice, normal people, who have had our share of ups and downs. While my head seems to always be up in the clouds, my husband is very down to earth. He is not fanciful, he does not exaggerate, and isn’t given to whims of wonder. That’s what makes this faith memory so special. My husband saw it, when I would of missed it (I think I was watching the butterflies). I totally believe this day was meant for him, specifically.
Across the clearing there was an edge of trees, a little to our left, spaced pretty far apart. We walked by these same trees everytime we took a walk. One particular tree had a large limb cut off, at about my husband’s shoulder level.
I had noticed this months before, from quite a distance, around Valentine’s day. It stuck out in my mind because I had thought the blank and exposed mark left behind by the severed limb was vaguely shaped like a heart. I had even remarked on it, to my husband, and had even briefly daydreamed of carving our initials into the spot, like the romantic fool I am.
This day, though, I would have walked right by it, without noticing it. My husband had stopped walking (we were still quite a ways away), and was staring at it. I tore my attention from the butterflies and looked at what he was looking at.
He asked me what I saw. Looking, I was shocked to see the spot on the tree was no longer bare exposed wood. It had changed. There was ivy growing around it, and I can’t explain how, but just on that one spot.
The ivy trailed around the spot like longer hair, and a beard. It even curled in two spots to give the impression of two eyes. It was a face. And not just any face. I’m completely serious when I say that it looked like the face of Jesus.
“I see the face,” I told him, and I took his phone and started walking closer, snapping pictures, as I walked. I felt as if it would disappear at any moment.
At this point, we were about a football field in length away from the tree, but we were making our way closer. I was sure as we approached it that the illusion would somehow be altered, that the closer we got the less like Jesus it would look.
I was wrong.
Now, I want to clarify that I don’t see Jesus, nor does my husband, in random objects, ever. We aren’t the sort of people who would think a Cheeto looked like God, and I have had a hard time trying to see what others claim to see, when I have heard of such stories in the past.
But this day, we both saw what appeared to be the face of Jesus. We walked closer, closer, and we became very quiet. Even the dogs sensed the serious mood, because they had stopped roaming around and were walking right on our heels.
Finally, we were within touching distance. The face looked even more real, the closer we were. I looked at my husband, and his gorgeous face looked so thoughtful. Inside, my heart was smiling for him.
“Baby, look,” I said. “It has a crown of thorns.”
I couldn’t believe it. Around the head were thorns that twisted, long and sharp, right around the top, and nowhere else. It was amazing. The image of Jesus on the tree had a crown of thorns. Now I absolutely knew this was meant for my husband.
“It’s your sign, baby,” I told him. “From God.” I was smiling from ear to ear.
We spent a few moments just admiring with wonder, the image on the tree.
Then we both prayed silently. I prayed for our marriage, I prayed for a baby. My husband touched the tree and silently said a prayer. I never asked him what he prayed for, but I believe it was pretty similar to my prayer.
We walked back home after that, quiet, thoughtful. There was a peacefulness to our stroll that was welcoming, especially with all the stress that we had been under.
I knew we had been blessed. I knew everything was going to be okay, because everything always ends up okay if you just trust and believe. No matter how things may look, you have to trust that God has a plan. And that the plan works out for our good.
Shortly after this day, my husband made his decision. It was the right one, as I knew it would be.
After all Jesus was watching over him. He is watching over us all.
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Many people say, “Who will show us better times?” Let your face smile on us, Lord .
For the righteous Lord loves justice. The virtuous will see his face.
If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
“Then you will take delight in the Almighty and look up to God.
But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.