Friday, August 18, 2006

Happy Birthday, Papa Rooster

It's Friday morning and I'm pushed for time. I'm running out, leaving my oldest kids in charge, to do some power errands, and more importantly, write a birthday post for Papa Rooster. I'm ordering coffee at my favorite power writing spot--Panera Bread--when who should appear at my elbow but my dear husband, who's taking a day off for retreat purposes.

"Hello," he grins.

"Hi," I smile back, trying to hide my consternation. (When am I going to write that birthday post now? Maybe if it rains, and we can't meet our friends at the pool later....)

"This is the one place I thought I wouldn't run into you," I say, taking the direct approach.

"I'm stalking you," he jokes.

I follow him to his table...and it's my table. "Hey, this is my table," I say. "I always sit here!"

"You must leave behind an aura that I was drawn to," he smiles.

I tell him that I'm here to write his birthday post. "I keep forgetting," he says. "But I can't wait to be a prime number again. Don't you enjoy being a prime number?"

"Honey," I state, "Never, in my entire life, has it even crossed my mind whether my age was a prime number or not." I pause. "Have you really ever thought about it before this?"

"Oh, several times," he confesses. "I guess it's one of my oddities."

He's gone now. We had a pleasant few moments sipping coffee together and he was on the run--on his way home to go running, that is. I'm glad he still took this day off even though our camping trip had to be rescheduled and relocated. (We're still going overnight this weekend out to some friends' place in the country). There isn't any better birthday gift I could give him than a day off to relax, rejuvenate and retreat, especially when he needs to hear from God regarding some immediate decisions he's facing.

There is a side of my husband that would be oh-so-happy as a monk in a remote little monastary, but God in his wisdom also created him with a woman-sized hole in his heart, and it has been my privilege and blessing to fill that spot as best I can. With that woman has come six children and the need for an income to support that family, and so my monk-at-heart husband has an MBA and works as an executive in a healthcare-related industry, and except for the bald pate, there isn't a hint of the monk about him in that environment. None of them would suspect that on the weekends he serves as a priest at our church, and that's really where his heart is vocationally. (They had a hard enough time believing the six children before we came to visit Daddy in the office once.)

It seems that God has held him for years in this special tension of what Walter Hilton in the Middle Ages called the mixed life--"an active life mixed with contemplation" (vs. retreating entirely from the world). (It's another of his little oddities that he actually owns that book and has written a paper on it.) It seems that there are lessons he is learning from this experience which God may be preparing him to eventually share with others...but that chapter's not been written yet. (Though we're eager to read it.)

It has not been an easy road for him, requiring him almost to maintain multiple personalities: the corporate executive, the parish priest and mentor, the husband and father of six, the emerging country music fan.... No wonder he's having a midlife crisis!

So happy prime number birthday, dear. (Okay, okay, world--41.) I love your oddities, great and small. It's been an adventure being married to you--and the greatest of joys--and I will follow you anywhere as you follow God, as you have faithfully for the past 20 years. Though the mixed road has been a rocky one at times, may God use you to smooth and mark the path for others...and may He lead you when the road when is not so clearly marked.

(And just think, since 43 is coming up soon, you'll be spending 24 of the next 36 months as a prime number! Life surely can't get much better than that.)


Sherry said...

A prime number. How sweet! It sounds like somethng Engineer Huband would come up with although I've never heard him mention it.

Jennifer said...

Really sweet post. Your husband sounds very wonderful. The prime number thing, sounds like something my husband would come up with too. He's a civil engineer.
have a blessed weekend,
Jenny in Ca (your hen cyber-friend)

Islandsparrow said...

Belated birthday greetings to your hubby - I hope he had a blessed retreat! and that you all had a lovely camping trip.

Wendy WaterBirde said...

This is just SUCH a lovely blog : )

I am very inspired by your at a hen's pace theme and your sidebar musings on this. And the template layout (the sweet pale green) is also just lovely. Is this accessible anywhere, or is it your own design?

At any rate, I really look forward to coming back here. Already, there has been a gift, your introducing of Better Off. What a moving post that was, and I really look forward to exploring more : )

Blessings! Wendy

At A Hen's Pace said...


Thank you so much for your kind words!

So glad you like my blog design--it's a Blogger template (Tic Tac) that I've customized. That was just recently--and took me forever--so I'm delighted that you admired it!!


Wendy WaterBirde said...

Well you did an awesome job, such peace and joy and simplicity comes across : )