So... are you ready to open your present?
Jose and I are sitting in our resort room, celebrating our anniversary, and there's a box with a bow right in front of me. Of course I'm ready! What do you think it is? I shake the box and it feels like fabric is inside. I feel like it's... fabric... but I know you've been spending a lot of time on this so I don't think it's just a top you got me.
He smirks. Open it. I tug on the bow, it slides off the box, and when I lift the cover, this is starting back at me:
It all started with an idea. Jose pursued it by first contacting his friend Johnny and my friend Alex. Fortunately Alex's sister in law, Yasmine Evjen is a graphic designer who was happy to work with Jose on the t-shirt design. Together, they went back and forth over ideas and proposals and finally came to an agreement on the final design:
But you guys. It doesn't end there. IT DOESN'T. Fast forward to Monday when we "casually" (yeah, boy was I fooled by this) planned a dinner with 2 other couples from our small group. Jose insists the entire weekend that we should both wear our shirts to dinner. Now, I'm in LOVE with this shirt... but there are boundaries. Baby, we'll look like we just finished shooting a wedding, I plead. I wear the shirt earlier that day when we hang out with friends, and when I get back home, Jose immediately changes into his shirt and I immediately change out of it. We get ready for dinner....
We pull up to the restaurant and Janean is waiting for us outside, letting us know she has a table inside waiting for us. As we get to the table, I suddenly see not 4... but a CROWD of our friends at the table... all looking like this:
Those are not only a few of my clients, but they are some of the BEST friends I have made here in Arizona. They are family. Oh gosh, I'm crying. The most beautiful thing is that Jose knows me. He knows that deep in my heart the thing I love most is to share occasions with others. Sometimes this annoys him because I always want to invite people to everything we do. But he knows that the core of my business and who God has made me is to be a relational individual. Jose so selflessly and thoughtfully sent out an e-mail a few weeks ago to our closest friends and clients to see if they would be interested in purchasing a shirt for themselves. He only needed 10. But then the e-mails poured in.
To say I feel so loved is a complete understatement. I feel grateful to have people like this in my life. To have a husband that has demonstrated God's love to me in ways I never dreamed. It's not what I've read in books... it's much more beautiful and complex than that. I told Jose that night in the car "you know, the thing is... they didn't even have to wear those shirts to show me their support. I feel it and I see it in their actions all the time. They truly believe in me." But they did wear those shirts, and they have rallied me on from the beginning.
At the end of the night I stood up to thank them, but as I walked to the center of the table I immediately whipped my head over to Jose in desperation and the tears began to suffocate my eyes. I knew they were going to come. I shook my head at Jose ... I can't do it. He smiled at me and I brought my hands to my face and wept. Gosh, I didn't just tear up... I cried. How could I not be moved by this? I think I managed to say a thing or two through the tears, but my words would never be enough. To them and to my husband. The term that keeps coming to mind is agape love -- love as revealed in Jesus, seen as spiritual and selfless and a model for humanity. My friends and my husband have inspired me. I didn't want that night to end because I knew it would be a marker in my life -- a reminder on a day where I will need reminding of why I do what I do.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. From the depths of my soul... thank you.