Mom used to tell me she learned new things about Dad even after 50 years of marriage, but I couldn’t imagine it. Recently, though, I discovered something new about my own husband, who I haven’t seen for eight months. Actually, I discovered two things.
A guest at our cottage stumbled across a copy of “The Flashback,” a school yearbook published in 1958. It has Nate’s name printed on the inside flap, and his picture is on several of its 55 pages. He looks younger than his 12 years, but that might be because none of the cynicism of adolescence had yet set in.
Apparently Churchill Junior High School was brand new that year, opening its doors to 1000 students 53 years ago, on September 3, 1957. I went on line and learned the school is still functioning, although today it isn’t labeled “state of the art” as it was in the fifties.
Paging through the yearbook is a lesson in American history. Girls wore skirts or dresses with saddle shoes and rolled down socks. The rule, said one girl, was “blouses tucked in or a trip to the advisor’s office.” The boys had short hair, tucked shirts, belts, slacks, no blue jeans.
So, what did I learn about Nate? First of all, I never knew he played football! I did know of his interest in the high school newspaper (the editor) and the debate team (the captain) but was surprised to see him kneeling in the second row with the team (far left). In 40 years of marriage I never saw Nate toss a football, and he attended games only to see Hans play in the marching band.
The second surprise was his keen interest in girls. At the age of 12, he was already watching carefully. His yearbook has a penciled X next to the faces of those he considered cute and a line under their names. He’d selected eight girls in all.
I loved reading the farewell messages on the autograph pages, particularly the one that mentioned one of the X-ed girls: “Nathan. To a good friend who kept me up (April 12, Sunday morning) to 2:00 AM on Marilyn and her features. Lots of Luck. Bruce.” Had I seen this gem a year ago, I could have asked Nate a few questions.
None of us can know everything about somebody else, not even a long-term spouse. That’s because we’re good at covering things up, and we don’t necessarily even want to be fully known. But Scripture tells us God does know us fully, like it or not. It doesn’t affect what he feels about us, though, and what he feels is intense love.
Nothing we do surprises him or changes his mind about us. This is a huge relief, because it means we don’t have to play games or hide anything from him.
I’m sure young Nate hid his feelings about Marilyn and never let her know how enamored he was of her “features”. But all in all, it’s probably best that she never knew.
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)