The Tip of the Iceberg


Icebergs can appear to be of a certain size and shape if you’re only looking at what’s above the surface.  Deeper, under the water, they tell a very different story.  Perspective teaches us that depending on the direction you look from, the shape will appear different.  If you form your opinion about it looking from only one direction you might get the wrong impression.

Harry says that is what happens when people look at me.  They see the tip of the iceberg but not the whole person.  My family sees a side of me, my church friends see another side.  My work colleagues another side.  Most people I know except for a select few get below the surface at all.  Sometimes, people only see the parts they want and like to see.

In my last relationship, I was told I was great all the time, but when push came to shove it spilled out that he really didn’t think I was great at all. It was just a line.  He would shower me with accolades and tell me what a great lady, mom, partner I was. But honestly even when things were really good between us, it seemed like he was only looking at parts of me.  His definition of me was limited to the things he liked and he excuses the things he didn’t like until he was mad at me and then let me have it.  But the excuse didn’t make those things any less a part of who I am.  And I felt pressure from him to act a certain way.

In my marriage, I knew there were things I could never be that my husband wanted me to be. I liken it to math.  For me, math is hard.   I will NEVER be able to do calculus. I barely passed geometry. It just will not ever happen. And like that, I will never be a super neat and tidy person who folds things right and loads the dishwasher in the most efficient manner. I don’t see a mess until it gets to a certain level.  I literally don’t notice it.  I just will never be that person. I did try for over 20 years and I beat myself up over it a great deal. Every time I didn’t measure up, I felt like a failure. I truly did.

Today Harry said that he thought I was the most misjudged person he’s ever known. Like the iceberg, I’ve got a lot going on under the surface.  He admits to having misjudged me until he got to know me. He thinks certain members of family do it and saw it with his own eyes last weekend with my mom.  I’m a funny combination of emotional and strong he says.  My emotions allow to me to feel things, both good and bad, on a very deep level.  He says that most people can’t experience things like me because of how deep I get but that also leads to me being hurt on a very deep level as well.  Gouges like I got from Mr. Slimeball go in deep.  But that is where my strength comes in.  He’s seen me handle attacks from others with grace and he thinks it is strength that allows me to do that.

I give all the glory to the Lord for that ability.  I know how I was growing up, I know what a hot head I was and how mean I can be.  If I am able to withstand meanness without returning fire it is by God’s grace and the work of the Holy Spirit within me giving me the power to do that.  And it is through the training He has given me that I’ve been able to practice that spiritual muscle.  Adversity strengthens a person.  He called me a true Christian today because of what he’s seen in me as I react to negative circumstances.  It was a very kind compliment and it made me cry.

Harry really is looking at all my sides.  He is the first person who is not seeing in me who he wants to see.  He isn’t accentuating only the parts he likes.  He is looking at the big picture and giving himself a realistic view of what life with me will be like.  I hope I’m doing the same with him.

As we sat at the table and I listened to him describe me I was overwhelmed with love for this man and I leaned over and kissed him.  He wiped the tears off my face today and we held each other’s hands.  We talked about our love but also our childhoods, our dads, our moms, our disappointments.

He told me today that when we get married he wants to get a wedding ring tattoo.  He’s thought a great deal about it and has a plan.  He doesn’t like wearing rings and has gigantic fingers so it makes sense for him.  I wasn’t thinking about not liking tattoos as he was describing it to me.  He’s gone 44 years without getting a tattoo because he’s never had anything he wanted to brand his body with forever until now.  Wow.  When you put it that way it’s pretty darn romantic.

I looked over at him and asked, “Do you love me that much?”  He knows me and UNDERSTAND me better than anyone I’ve ever known and he wants me to be his forever?  A ring can be taken off and hid in a drawer.  A tattoo is there for good.  This is a level of commitment that I’ve never had expressed to me in my entire life.  It really blows me away to think about it.

This weekend I got some time with him.  And it was very good time.  We hung out, we had fun, I got to dress up, we got to relax.  We even saw our first movie together in the theater.  And everyone I know who has seen Skyfall has loved it, but we just thought it was ok.  I wonder if and when he sees it again he will appreciate it differently.  I for one was so distracted by him sitting next to me.  I just wanted to kiss him.  I’m worse than a teenager.

And I’ve got this with a man who knows each bump, and flaw, and feature of my personality.  It’s as if he’s thoroughly inspected this here iceberg not to judge but to explore like a climber on the cliffs of a mountain.  He’s actually seeming to relish the process.

And I’m grateful.  Extremely grateful to him, his friendship, his kisses, his everything.

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