Messy bun, glasses, and scrubs. I walked up on your porch wearing the most undesirable version of myself. The most unexpecting version of myself, with the most apprehensive of strides. I walked up to the front door of your apartment and into the rest of my life. Stark blue eyes. Blue like the sky in October. My favorite color blue. That’s what you were wearing. Blue eyes. There must’ve been 20 other people there…but in an instant we became the only ones. I remember the moment he became unforgettable. It was the moment our eyes met. I hadn’t actually met him yet. I didn’t know his name yet. I knew nothing about him yet. The only thing I knew was that I wanted him to walk me home. He did. He stood on my doorstep. And he returned every day after that. Wearing his blue eyes. And so began a journey for which there’s no seatbelt strong enough. A journey so unique that it could only belong to us. And on this journey, I have learned a few things about the man behind the blue eyes that stole my heart.
- Loyalty. My husband is without a doubt the most loyal person I’ve ever known. His allegiance makes him unique. He loves deeply. If he cares about you, he will defend you with all that is in him. He will make every attempt to walk through fire for you.
- Honesty. He will tell the truth, the ugly, nasty truth…Even if he knows that truth will invoke emotion. Even if that truth means telling you something you don’t particularly want to hear. He will not say anything to you because he thinks it’s what you want to hear. I know this is a quality that sometimes makes others uncomfortable. But I also know it is a quality that he is proud of. And it is a quality of his that I appreciate. He has used his honesty to save me from myself. He has used it to bring me back to reality. He will not act out of obligation. If he’s doing it, it’s because he honestly wants to.
- Leadership. I’ve seen him take almost nothing to something remarkable. When I met him, he was a wrestling coach at Union County High School. I would go to practice with him. I would travel to every match and every tournament. And I was witness to many successes. Since then, he’s coached multiple other high schools, assisted at Carson-Newman, and taken wrestling to new heights at King University. Leading his women’s team to multiple national championships and earning national coach of the year several times. I’ve thrown away countless lists of names and weights and outcomes of matches. The only reason is because if I left them, I wouldn’t be able to see my floors. I’ve watched hundreds of videos on technique and read a million articles on motivation. I love that he shares his work with me. He has an unmatched ability to motivate and a drive for success that can only be defined as one in a million. I’ve never seen a goal he hasn’t crushed or an idea he hasn’t taken and made it into something special. He is a born leader. He has changed lives simply because he existed.
- Justice. If it’s right, he will say it’s right. If it’s wrong or unethical, he will say it…and he genuinely wants to make it right. His moral compass is unchanging. I have learned this about him by watching the way he disciplines our children and in the way he leads his athletes. His discipline is consistent. It is just. It is right. I love the fact that regardless of the company he keeps, his discipline is the exact same. He has sometimes talked to me about a decision he’s made at work. And, 100% of the time, he has decided upon the most just way to handle it. I admire that about him. I admire his fearlessness.
- Stubborn. As stubborn as they come. He holds on to forgiveness and he takes a little longer to apologize. And if he’s not sorry, he will not say it. Asking him to do something when he’s not ready only prolongs it getting done. I imagine that as a child or toddler, he did things in his own time. Much like our oldest daughter. There’s no rushing with her. He’s a bull to deal with at times, but I love that he challenges me. I need a challenge, and he knows that about me. He knows exactly when to challenge. I love his bullheadedness.
All of these things are qualities I am thankful he has. They are qualities that make me smile and have sometimes made me grumble. They are qualities that keep me on my toes. Through them, he has taught me passion and how to go for something wholeheartedly. Because if there’s one word I could use to describe him, it’s passionate. He loves with fire; there’s fire in his anger. No matter the emotion, it’s extreme. I’ve learned how to give space; I’ve learned how to be patient. Because of him. I’ve been quiet when I didn’t want to…I’ve learned that all disagreements don’t deserve explanation. I’ve learned that respect doesn’t always mean you respond the way I expect. It actually means sacrifice and not always needing the last word. Honestly, if I’d been able to see the future in those blue eyes that night in my early 20’s, the vision of the trials we would face might have forced me to turn around. And trials we have faced. But oh have we triumphed! We have pushed and pulled each other to limits we didn’t know existed, and every time…every single time, we have overcome. Stronger as individuals and stronger together. We’ve been to the edge…to the edge of us…when we didn’t think there was much left to give. We stood, toes hanging over the cliff…and just when we thought we’d jump, we found each other.Again. Those blue eyes and that messy bun. And the image of that moment we met resurfaced and saved us from ourselves. Because we have a love that 90% of the people we know will never understand. And that’s never bothered us. It’s bigger than us. We’ve seen the good, bad, and ugly. And we’ve realized that our journey is ours. It’s not for the weak. It’s not for the normal. It is only for the two of us. It existed before we did. And it will last long after we’re gone. Because our highs and lows make tidal waves, change landscapes, and take us to our limits. But we can handle it…that’s how we were raised. I was hooked by those blue eyes, but I’ve been blessed by what’s behind them.
Bottom line is…there’s no one else I’d rather be with to…
…sing the lyrics to David Allan Coe with
…watch countless episodes of Dateline with
…play Def Jam Rapstar on a date night with
…spend hours cleaning deer and trout with
…have the worst luck ever with
…be frustrated with
…lose my flip-flops on the beach with
…lose at Just Dance on Xbox with
…have a stomach virus at the same time with
…sit in silence with
…know that at the end of the day, I need my own covers in bed because you’re going to steal mine regardless
Thank you, Jas. For it all. And, now you know, I might’ve loved you before you loved me. Even if you say I didn’t. I prayed for you. God’s timing is always on time. Babe, we were meant to be. And thank you to our families…because of our experience, we became strong enough to have each other. Strong enough to be Jason and Amanda, but also strong enough to be US.