The Measure of a Man

For Christian

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” Psalm 37:23

He was raised by a woman who was all alone so she him from the
children’s home. From the moment she saw him, she knew that although she didn’t
birth him, he was hers. Although it was hard, she never wavered from her values. She
taught him how to respect others – and make no mistake, she never “took no mess.”

Growing up, he was surrounded by sisters who taught him how to handle the
tender heart of a woman. He was raised in California, a place where the atmosphere
was pervaded by the pressures of image, luxury and perfection but he didn’t inhale it.
Did his birth name somehow place a hedge of protection around him? Possibly.

To some, he may appear to be meek and timid, but that’s what I love about him. I
know something that they don’t. He is a soldier. After he graduated from high school, he
served twelve years for his country under the most extreme conditions, often in solitude
and loneliness, bringing him closer to God. He witnessed suffering in Third World
countries that many of us will never witness, making him humble and grateful. He
traveled all over the world, appreciating all of God’s people, making him well-rounded
and diverse. He has faith and compassion for others, but he doesn’t scream and shout
it; it’s in his walk, not his talk. He often won medals of honor because of his strength,
courage and character, but he is modest, so it never went to his head.

He isn’t a heavy talker, as he is more of a listener. But when he speaks, he is
either talking about something of substance, making corny jokes, or making fun of my
Midwestern accent and charm, but that is what makes him so funny and cute. He
is very attractive with intense eyes but with a nerdy undertone, kind of like me. He
always smells fresh with cologne and spearmint gum, and he is annoyingly organized
and compulsive with his starched, ironed and perfect creases. He is the balance in my
life because I’m a free-spirited talker who can never seem to find her keys and obsesses
about saving the world. I’m a butterfly that floats freely, and he is the calm oak tree
that relaxes and soothes me.

You won’t see him in a bar on Saturday night stuffing money down a woman’s
thong or at a singles club seeking to take a stray woman home. He will more than
likely be spending quality time with his children, picking up a pizza and catching up
on Naruto or Dragonball Z re-runs. If not home with his kids on the weekend, it’s our
date night, when he is taking me to dinner telling me how beautiful that I am. He
holds my hand with pride, looks me in the eyes and tells me how lucky he is to have
a woman like me by his side. He never forgets to open my door or drop me off at the
entrance if it’s raining so that I don’t get wet. He is a true gentleman.

He treats everyone with respect from the waitress at the restaurant and the homeless
on the side of the road all the way to people who attempt to give him lip, even if it is
without merit. Is it because he is weak? Absolutely not. It is because he is a peacekeeper
–a gentle spirit. He chooses peace over war and understands that everyone is fighting
some type of battle. He knows what war is and knows it’s not pleasant, so he prays for
them instead.

He treats me like a woman yet with a hint of innocence, like a childhood crush.
He doesn’t want anything from me, other than my attention. He just wants to be near
me, to smell me and to make me smile. He is the “nice guy” that most women pass over
for the jerk who will use and abuse them, but he doesn’t let that discourage or change
him. That is just who he is. He is secure in his identity and strong in his character.
That may have made him fade in the background for many years, but while he was in
the background standing in truth, others were in the forefront weaving spider’s webs
of deceit and lies.

He has a broken past and has made his mistakes. He has had his share of broken
dreams, including a broken marriage, which cut him deeply. It may have wounded
him, but it certainly didn’t break him or shake him from the hope that second chances
are possible. It molded him, shaped him and led him to the very place that he is today
– beside me.

He has a good career. No, he may not be a millionaire. He doesn’t live in luxury
and doesn’t drive a Mercedes. He cannot afford to take me to Paris for the week or
buy me expensive jewelry, although he wishes that he could. But he adores me, respects
me and loves me down to every strand of hair on my head. To me, that carries more
value than any diamond necklace or Lexus. He works a 9-5 job so that he can both
provide for his children, attend their school functions and meetings, and coach his son’s
football game, never missing a beat. Make no mistake, though; he is an investor and
a very smart one at that. He makes rich deposits and, no, not into Bank of America
but into my soul, because he knows what he deposits will come back to him tenfold …
and he’s right.

He is a man of his word. If he says he will be there, he will. Sure, sometimes he’s
a little late, because he somewhat tends to procrastinate but he shows up with a smile
that lights up the room, apologizing for making me wait. Although he is tardy, he
doesn’t keep me guessing or worrying about if he is really “into me” because he makes
his intentions well known. He understands his role as a man to pursue me and earn
his spot as my suitor. Although I’ve had my fair share of heartache and pain, there is
no anxiety with him. No guesses, no worries, and compared to the others, he’s not the
same. He sends me a message every single morning and every night telling me that he
“loves me today.” He knows that yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not promised, so he
makes it clear that before I start my day and end it, I know how he feels. He calls me
his sunshine and tells me that I bring him joy, happiness and peace.

He is open-minded and spontaneous and always says, “Let’s do it!” with genuine
enthusiasm when I decide to jump from one thing to another, such as boot-camp at
the park, salsa dancing, tennis or an out-of-town day trip away from the world. He
loves anything and everything that I cook, making me excited about trying another
new recipe just so he can taste it. I’m a memory-maker always with my camera in
hand, looking for opportunities to catch a frozen glimpse of happiness and beauty. He
despises it, as he doesn’t like the spotlight, but when the camera is pulled out, he poses
reluctantly, just for me.

He encourages my hopes and dreams and is not intimidated by my accomplishments
or successes. He is inspired by them and seeks to complement me rather than compete
with me, so I follow his lead because I trust him. When I’m weak, he is my support. He
doesn’t beat me down; he lifts me up. When he feels I’m out of line or being a drama
queen, which is often, he pulls me aside and tells me so in a loving and gentle manner,
which makes me respect him even more.

I want to send out a big “thank you” to all the ladies from his past who didn’t last
because they thought, “He is just too nice for me.” When you rejected him, I accepted
him and I’ve never been so in love and loved so mutually. We will more than likely be
one of those cute elderly couples that celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, because
I believe in him and he believes in me, and that’s the recipe for longevity.

Exerpts from a chapter in my book —The Butterfly Movement

Be blessed,


Copyright © 2011 by Katrina Smith

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