It was a cloud covered sky on one of the longest nights of the year. It was an overnighter that started mid-afternoon, just after our Christmas dinner.
The campground was almost completely empty. It was a little creepy, as if everyone fled from some secret danger. It was not foggy, but somehow still like being in a cloud. A blustery wind, roaring through the trees, made it seem like not only another place, but another time as well. The gray afternoon, almost perceptibly, choked out all light and the moonless, starless dark night came early.
Solitude was sought and it was found. After several hours absent of human conversation, my own thoughts rushed to fill the void. I recalled a recent conversation.
“What do you want for Christmas,” she said.
I don’t recall the precise response, but in the midst of the non-routine, hectic holiday schedule for the day, she caught me off guard. Likely, it was something like, “I don’t know. I’ll think about it.” I like to dwell on my wants.
This Christmas day overnight in the lonely woods gave plenty of opportunity for thinking.
When I somehow convinced her to marry me, I turned her life upside down. Whatever ambitious plans she had were tossed to support what became we. I can cite too many examples of how I have made her life difficult. In spite of them all, she has been faithful to me for 25 years. She follows me where I go. She encourages right action and lives a quiet, consistent example. When I am busy thinking about how to do it, she does it. She is more selfless than I and blesses me every day.
She is a gift. How silly to ask for anything more. In this dark and silent place, it is obvious what must be done. I don’t need a gift, I need to be a gift to her.
But like the fuzzy shoreline across the distant gray, how is not quite clear.
Even so, I have a direction. It is time to act. Clarity will come as the goal draws near.