Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm Bragging!

Yesterday, Teflon encouraged bragging.  Thanks so much!!  Instead of following up on my many further thoughts on doing stuckedness, I'll brag a bit.  Actually doing a youtube video would take a few more steps than writing this blog, so I'll start here.  Hmmm, the video is an exciting idea, though.

I love birthdays and anniversaries.  I use them to see where we've been, and decide afresh on where we're going.  In a couple weeks, Isaiah and I celebrate 15 years married, 19 years of being in each other's lives.  When I think about that, my heart fills with big, mushy feelings.... gratitude, wonderment, amazement.

Isaiah grew up on the 'wrong side of the tracks'. For his elementary years, he was very familiar with not having enough food, living with his siblings in one room of a Jamaican tenament yard: a single address that may be home to several dozen people, having several structurally inadequate dwellings with limited sanitation.

He saw informally adopted by a friend of the family, a local businessman with considerable means.  Overnight, his life was transformed from hunger to having all the food you could eat.  Literally.  His adopted father ran a restaurant and a wholesale meat and foods establishment.  Isaiah always worked in his father's businesses.  He wasn't like other kids on weekends, he worked.  He went to high school and college, supported by his adopted father and on that road, I got to meet him.

In college, Isaiah seemed to not have a care in the world.  He was happy, enthusiastic (about extra curricular activities) and a good friend to everyone.  Isaiah was the first man to hold doors for me.  He did it for all the girls.  He and his good friend Chris would reprimand us for opening car and building doors for ourselves.  They believed it was part of taking care of the women in their environment.  Now, this was in direct contrast to the more common Jamaican experience, women working outside the home and rushing in to care for a partner and children.  Any woman who didn't pull her weight was worthless.  Isaiah and Chris were validating to so many of us who only had that experience.  They said, it can be different.

Isaiah committed himself to being the kind of person he wanted to have had around him while growing up.  Because of his unique upbringing, he relates well to everyone, regardless of social station. So, then the would-be robber stopped him one day, demanding his possessions at gun-point, Isaiah had a conversation with him and they became friends.  When this young man later got arrested, Isaiah visited him in jail and stood by him.

Although I didn't grow up with as meagre means as Isaiah did, I also never had as much as he had in later childhood.  I knew how to stretch a penny.  If I loaned you a dollar, I knew when and how much I loaned you, and fumed every time I saw you if you didn't give it back.  Isaiah constantly gave money away.  The receivers thought they were loans, and Isaiah made them none the wiser.  He said to me that I shouldn't 'lend' money if I need to get it back.  If it comes back, it can get recycled to someone else.

I learnt loyalty from Isaiah.  After college, when many of our peers were trying to get prestigious city jobs in banks and established firms, Isaiah went back home to his father to manage a meat shop.  I felt a little strange saying I was getting married to the guy working in the meat shop.  He said to me that it's the least he could do.  His father could really benefit from his support and thought process, and he stood by him during really critical times in Isaiah's life.  He would return the favor.  Plus, Isaiah lives by a fundamental principle of 'be faithful in another man's goods, and you will have your own'.

One day, in our final year in college, we were at an event during the break, having lunch.  We talked of plans for the future.  As I talked about my early ambitions to teach and maybe even write, he said "You are one of the best communicators I know".  That was 2 years before we even got into our personal relationship so maybe he was not just blinded by love!  I had never heard that from anyone before.  At that time, I saw myself as really shy and worked very hard to be comfortable, to connect with people, to share my thoughts, amidst the chronic worry of what they would think.  Isaiah introduced a belief that was like scaffolding and has served me amazingly from then till now.

He is dedicated, committed, passionate, enthusiastic about everything he does, meticulous, fiercely loyal.  I really appreciate him thinking about things that I don't want to think about, like the internet connection in our home, and the factors that affect our credit score.  I love giving him bragging rights as he tells people he is married to an amazing woman and we have amazing children (Honey, we can manage one more....).  I can definitely be his arm candy.

Thanks for listening to my indulgence.  It's my pleasure to let you into a little bit of who Isaiah is.  I was going the launch into "The 15 reasons I love Isaiah" but I'll restrain myself today.  (I'll post that on our anniversary).  So today, I'm looking at a card he gave me more than 16 years ago with a cute bear on the front saying "Honey, I swear if I have one more exciting thought about you, I'm going to EXPLODE!!!!"    Me too, Honey!  Here's to many more years of living exciting lives, doing exciting things, being our exciting selves, together!

5 comments:

  1. Awww! That's so sweet!

    I am glad that you both remain so committed to being the best that you can to each other. I cannot get tired of hearing the story of how you came together; nor the ones about your lives as you grow together.

    Isaiah has been an inspiration for me and will continue to be a bench mark.

    Have a great anniversary

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  2. Faith, thank you for bragging! What an awesome story. Isaiah is truly inspiring!

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  3. Faith: thanks! That was a most excellent example of bragging, about a very deserving braggee!
    sree

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  4. I loved getting to know Isaiah a little bit! He sounds *almost* as great as YOU! ;)
    I got your email...and all my company left...
    when can we talk?

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  5. Wonderful, brag away my friend. Nuff nuff blessings to you and family. I love words and love, and these words are about love, a win win for us all.

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