I have to believe in a man who looks at me and sees a woman whose heart and brain are chock-full of hopes, standards, beliefs and dreams. A man who knows that my Daddy taught me not to litter at a young age, and so will not ask me to crumple up these things which give my soul its shape and toss them out the window of his fast car coated in high gloss paint.
I have to believe in a man who, when he begins to lay the pathway of our future, won’t forget to carefully collect and mix my dreams along with his into the mortar. Who, when it’s finished, and we’re both ready (yes, both of us, I said) to begin the journey down that path of dream-filled stone, will take my hand and walk beside me on the walkway that he remembered to build wide enough for two.
I have to believe in a man who is waiting. For one of the good ones. For (dare I say it) the right one. For the one that fills up all the empty spaces he’s been holding on to, like the ones between his fingers on his waiting hands. A man who is treasuring those empty spaces and believing in a woman who is doing the same, who is thinking of the precious one who will slip into all those places full of emptiness like jello into a bowl.
I have to believe in a man who believes in a relationship like jello. Yes baby, I said like jello. Slippery, hard to hold onto just right, disastrous if held too tight, tangy and sweet at the very same time. Because any good man will tell you that a good woman is just like jello, you gotta get her at just the right temperature or else she don’t set quite right.
I have to believe in a man whose actions act just like a Dynamo label maker, labeling all the most important parts of that man. They’ll read like this: Knees – for praying to the Lord who loves him so. Hands – for wiping tears off of the cheeks of the ones he loves so. Brain – for thinking his own thoughts and respecting the thoughts of others. Eyes – for seeing beauty in places where others cannot. In the face cleared of makeup because it means the woman who owns that face trusts him enough to show him everything. In the crying of his children because it means they’ve got air they’re breathing in and out and it might mean that someday they’ll be singers like their Mama. And, many years from now, in the wrinkles on her hands (those hands he knows just as well as he knows his own) because they came from cooking his dinner seasoned just right with devotion, ironing his clothes with starchy prayers for his health and happiness, holding his hand when there was no one else standing sturdily beside him, and loving him hard and strong like a good woman always loves her good man.
I have to believe in a man who says “I’m sorry”. Who isn’t afraid to utter those words into the ear of the one he has wronged, quiet like a secret, loud enough to be authentic, slow enough to mean it. In a man who opens up his ears and heart to hear me say “I’m sorry” when I close my eyes in shame and sorrow, lift my hands in a quest to reach forgiveness, and say the words we both need to hear. In a man who will accept his flaws, but not be defeated by that knowledge. Who will see me for who I am, flaws and all, but still love me once I’ve revealed them.
I have to believe in this man. This precious man my God is forging. I have to believe that some day, some night, some morning, that I will look up, and coming down the road where I’ve long knelt, breath bated, will be this man I’ve prayed for, this man for which I’ve waited. And when we meet, this man and I, I have to believe that we will see each other clearly, and that we will clasp together our waiting hands and begin our journey on the masterful path our God created.
-Jessi Sanders 2012