Sunday, July 06, 2008
The Fireworks of an Independent Husband
Shimmering blue and flaming red fireflies splashed across the black expanse. Gold dust flickered everywhere. Long strands of silver diamonds danced in rows as if they were forming a glowing conga line. Spectacular explosions lit up the sky.
Friday night I went to the Rockies Fourth of July baseball game. My nephew and his wife are visiting from Albuquerque so it was a family night with the three Iobsts, my brother and his family and our visitors from New Mexico. I am blessed by my extended family. We love hanging out and laughing and Friday was no exception.
The game provided a roller coaster ride for us. After the first inning, the Marlins were beating the Rockies 5 to 1. Didn’t look good. But in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Rockies pulled ahead and won the game 18-17. Talk about exciting.
And then, the sky exploded. From our seats, the fireworks were almost directly above
us - right there. I mean, right there. Very loud but incredibly spectacular.
As I sat and enjoyed the display, gratitude filled me. What a country! What a blessing it is for me to able to afford to go to a Rockies game, eat a hot dog and see flaming beauty in performance.
Thank you, God.
But as I watched, I also started to feel my heart swell with love. Have you ever felt your heart swell? It feels like you breathed in too much air and you have to blow it out before you explode. A couple of times I fought back tears as I exhaled. Love for my husband came out in its own little fireworks display in my heart. Let me explain.
Earlier in the day, I wished John a happy Fourth of July.
His response: “Some 232 years ago a group of wild-eyed rebels decided to declare war on the most powerful nation on earth. They felt they were overtaxed and underrepresented. I just love this country.”
His comment, coupled with the essence of the man he is, moved me as I watched the fireworks.
See, John Iobst is changing before my eyes. It’s not a physical change and he hasn’t metamorphosed into someone I don’t know. And I don’t think he is going through a midlife crisis. It’s just that he, like the fireworks and those wild-eyed men, has exploded. He has had enough. The title of a book he read a while back sums it up: No More Mr. Christian Nice Guy.
When I married my man, he was wonderful and funny and loving. Still is. But when I married him, he was also passive and one who avoided confrontation. Not anymore. John is on this journey in which he is basically saying enough is enough. I will not be overtaxed and underrepresented anymore.
I have watched him tell others his opinion in no uncertain terms a few times the past year. It is wonderful and a bit, well, scary. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but change is never easy. And God has changed him. God’s love has seeped into my man’s soul. The result? A security and strong sense of self that has lit up my sky with some dazzling colors. Watching him go from a man who ignored or buried conflict to a man who stands up to it and gives a direct and sometimes unpopular opinion is an explosion of personality. I like it.
This wild-eyed rebel is also declaring his independence from fear and conformity by embracing a love that he left back a while ago: motorcycles. John has loved these two-wheeled rockets since he was very young. 30 years ago, he took a trip across the United States on one and created a lifetime of memories.
But time and circumstances and the defeat of dreams all worked together to take away his motorcycle hobby. A year or so ago, with security rising and his eyes getting wilder by the day, he said to me, “I would like to start riding again.” The revolution was beginning.
This Thursday, John, my brother Phil and two other men will go on a ten day motorcycle trip. The four wild-eyed men have declared their independence from fear and a society that yells “Be Safe,” at every turn.
I support John and I am excited for his adventure. I will not utter “Be careful,” as he rides off. Those men some 232 years ago didn’t need anyone telling them to be careful. They were at war. Risk was required. Can you imagine the minute men creeping through forests with their loaded muskets reminding themselves to be careful? No. Their directive was courage.
John is at war, too, in a way. The Enemy of his soul wants him to be a nice man who avoids danger and makes sure that everyone around him is pleased with his behavior. As his wife, to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t mind a nice man who avoids danger and makes sure that society is pleased with him. But deep down, I know that is not who God made my husband to be.
So I sit back and enjoy the fireworks in my husband’s life. Last night, the fireflies and gold dust and silver strands of diamonds were met with oohs and aahs. I looked up, my heart swelling, and I whispered, “Go God.”