Sunday, December 28, 2008

Twelve Gifts: #11 TOO WONDERFUL (Gifts of such extraordinary value they have to be shared)

When I was in college, my not-very-well-to-do parents gave me an extraordinary gift. I was studying art with an emphasis in graphic design, and every single time I had to do a finished project I’d go trekking out to the Holladay Library, schlepping an unwieldy arsenal of art boards, pencils, triangles, erasers and T-squares (unfortunately I did not go to school during the Digital Age!) to use their projector. I’d transfer my sketches onto the final art board this way, blowing them up to four-or-more times the original size, so the final art would reduce down to pristine perfection when it was shot for reproduction. (So much for your dinosaur lesson in graphic design).

So that year I was completely amazed to discover a gigantic present from my parents. This gift wouldn’t even fit in one box, and it weighed a ton! As I tore open the first package, my parents told me it came with a caveat: This was something so big and so valuable, it to be shared. There, in that box, in our very own house, ready for my very own makeshift studio, was my very own projector, an Art-o-graph. I was stunned. It was probably 5 times more powerful and heavy-duty than the one I’d been using at the library in the neighboring town. This was the top of the line. I’m sure it cost a small fortune, probably close to a thousand dollars...even in the paleolithic era in which I was raised.

This wasn’t something I’d talked about, hinted at, even hoped for. It was completely outside the realm of possibility, and I knew that. Yet my parents had made this enormous investment in my future. They gave me something I needed now, that I could use forever, knowing how valuable it would eventually be to me. And all that they asked in return was that I share it...with Dad, with my siblings, maybe even with fellow students at times. How could I say no to that? This was an AMAZING gift. Of COURSE I was willing to share.

As I finished up my degree, then through all those years running a design studio in Los Angeles, I used that projector all the time. It contributed a great deal to our family’s livelihood. And I still have it, ready to set up in our newly-remodeled basement in my new workspace there.

. . . . .

About five years later I met a guy. Not just any guy. An AMAZING man with a superhuman heart. (You can read about him here, here, and here.) I gradually fell head-over-heels in love with him, and could scarcely believe he was falling in love with me too. Because this man is BRILLIANT. He somehow has an ability to recall everything he has ever read, in vast detail. He is a creative GENIUS. He can come up with a clever new twist on anything, and does so as naturally as most of us flop out of bed in the morning. In a way that adds depth and meaning and resonance.

He is also HILARIOUS. Everyone LOVES to be around him. The first time my dad met him he said, “Wow, adding that guy to your guest list is like inviting five extra people to your party!” And he’s right; Jeff really is THAT fun. In fact, after our first date he had completely raised my fun scale several notches. I’d go out with other guys and my mom would ask, “Did you have fun?” and I’d be compelled to answer, “Yeah, but not as much fun as with Jeff.”

Beyond that brilliant and hilarious exterior, I wanted to find out what really made this guy tick. On our very first date we talked for hours, and I gradually saw piece after piece of his outer shell fall away and realized how deeply sensitive and spiritual a man he is as well. This guy was pure gold. I felt completely honored just to be in his presence.

Then one August night he asked me to marry him. Could it be that this guy was actually going to be MINE? Forever? I threw my arms around him and said yes, without even a moment’s hesitation. I’d be a complete fool to let this guy get away!

So now we’re married, he’s mine and I’m his, and we’re still in love. That’s all good. But I realized early on, this guy has a highly involved life, constantly running in a million different directions. Not only is he working on his film projects, often into the wee hours, he also spends a lot of time helping people out, listening, counseling, serving. That’s just who he is. Every once in awhile this is a struggle. And then I remember that gift from my parents, the projector. And a light goes on. (No pun intended). My husband, too, is a gift that needs to be shared. This time my Heavenly parents offered me a gift that is, like Job said, “too wonderful for me,” a gift that is so essential to my own progress, yet so valuable now and in the future, he needs to be shared. And so I do. With the film community, the church community, friends, and even strangers. I share him with his colleagues, his students, and aspiring others. I share him with our extended family and our children. And he always comes back to me, eventually.

Tonight is our anniversary. And I’m sharing him with our oldest son. They’re on a male-bonding road trip, on their way to a film festival. And I’m strangely okay. Because I’m used to sharing him. And he always comes back to me. Eventually. And he really is mine. Eternally. That’s totally worth all the sharing I have to do now.

Happy Anniversary, Honey. You are one of my very most amazing gifts.


Kazzy said...

Awwww...very sweet post, my friend. Happy anniversary to two of my (our) favorite people in the whole wide world. Sharing our loved ones really is a hard gift. With G as bishop I have had a taste of this. They do come to us with certain traits that are meant for the good of others. And would we really want it any other way? Who would want to be married to a boring guy that didn't like people? He might be around more often, but SNORE! You have a real prize in J. Congrats on your special day.

Brillig said...


He is SERIOUSLY fun. No ward choir could ever come close to comparing with the one he directs. That choir became my happy place, my respite. And if you hadn't shared him with us, would I have ever gotten to know you? (I mean, beyond our Primary snickerings, of course...)

I love this post. I love the way you view the world and draw comparisons. LOVE it.

Happy Anni, you guys.

Mrs4444 said...

Happy Anniversary to you both! What a treasure; to be in love and to appreciate each other after so long. My husband, too, is incredible; very intelligent, talented at so many things,generous (to a fault, sometimes) and always the life of the party. We are lucky girls...

Heidi Ashworth said...

I think you are very generous and very wise. Sounds like the two of you totally deserve one another. Happy Anniversary!!

Heather of the EO said...

YOU are amazing! An amazing gift to me :)
Another lovely post. Thank you for sharing (ha, get it? sorry...lame.)

Tammy Lorna said...

Thanks for sharing him with me too :) What a huge influence he was on me during my time at BYU. He was a 'practical' mentor (which has come in pretty handy now that my job is 'practical' and not 'theoretical' as I'd planned!). And he was a great friend and councillor to lots of us, so we're grateful that you're willing to share him.
(Of course, some of our favourite experiences are when we get to spend time with his wonderful wife too!)

xo Tammy

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

What a beautiful tribute to your husband. I love the comparison to a gift so valuable it has to be shared. How lucky for those around you that you are willing to share this extraordinary man so he can bless so many lives.

LisAway said...

This is so nice. You are great for finding the comparison between the gift given you by your parents so long ago and the gift of your husband, that also is too valuable to keep just to yourself. Hey, he was given to you by loving Parents, too! :) Happy Anniversary!

breckster said...

I have fond memories of my parent's art-o-graph. Both sitting in the dark watching them, or using it for my own projects.

And here is another too close to be normal, Justin proposed to me in August, AND our anniversary is TONIGHT (the 30th). Thank you for sharing your gift of a great man with us so many times.

Gunfighter said...

HAppy anniversary, my friend.

Drop by at the giveaway, I have news.

Dedee said...

This is making me cry. I love that picture. Happy Anniversary to you too!

deb said...

I hope it is okay that I am going through these posts, long overdue as I truly want to read all you've written here.
This was so wonderful, and in that strangely cyber coincidental way, it was how I was feeling this weekend. My husband travels for work quite a bit, and he is very involved in community sports, and just an all around neighbour helping hand guy etc.
We make a great team, and we bring full lives to the table of our togetherness, but have found that to be in tuned to each other we need to travel for a few days without all the distractions. I wouldn't want it any other way. He is my life saving rock, but it is a different relationship than some of the traditional that I see.
And the way you worded this, and your picture,
so so incredible. You gift.