My Beast

A lot of men think they are tough.  They think they can handle anything life throws at them with a wave of their hand.  When things do get tough, they back off.  They hide behind the guise of being civilized or well-mannered.  Most hide behind fear of repercussions.  Some hide behind a wife, letting her muddle through and then they can sit back and believe they could have done it better if she hadn’t interfered. 

I know a man who is tough.  He is Rambo with a machine gun slung over his shoulder with barrel blasting tough.  He is the beast in the front of the pack when it is time to kill.  He has a throwback hardness to him that harkens to the days of hand-to-hand combat with swords and knives, Braveheart fashion.  If he believes you are loyal to him, he will do battle with Hell for you.  No dragon is too fierce for him to face.  If he senses a lack of loyalty, he will throw you to the dogs.  With no remorse. 

His is the type of man who caught hold of the first ship heading west to new unknown lands.  The same type who forged through the swamps of the coast, the forests further inland and the mountains and plains that lay beyond.  Seeking a place without class restrictions, without societal rules.  His type herded cattle up dusty death filled trails.  A payday and a good meal his reward.  To have gotten the job done, his reward.  To have survived when others fell, his reward.  He binds his wounds with his own will to move forward.  He has no back down in him.  He raised children with no back down in them. 

He has a temper and sometimes a short fuse.  He has no patience and no desire to develop any.  He yields only when he chooses.  His is an iron will.  Webster’s has his picture next to “stubborn”.  He has on more than one occasion told me “They can’t eat me.”  He respects inner strength and power.  He expects people to show up and to do what needs doing.  He rubs people the wrong way because he calls them out on their façade.  He is not impressed with wealth or social position or education or political power. He guards himself and his small tribe closely and fiercely. Tread near with caution.

There is another side to him.  He loves Jesus.  He loves his children and their children. In fact, all children love him.  Baby whisperer, I call him.  Babies and children love him at first site.  He says it is because they have the same priorities.  Eat, play, sleep.  That is true.  If he sees someone in trouble, he reaches out to help.  He can’t stand to see vulnerable people be left to the wolves. 

He isn’t sentimental or romantic.  Not for him moonlit strolls on the beach or candlelit dinners at some special place.  The first has mosquitoes and the second is just plain silly to him.  He wants to see his food when he eats. He did allow our children to subject him to a vow renewal for our 30th anniversary seven years ago. He would never be mistaken for a gentleman.  He is out spoken and tough. Yet, I do have a collection of love letters and jewelry and a jeep among other things.

Despite his own personal tragedies, he lives life full throttle.  He expects everyone to do the same.  His world is clear cut and black and white.  No gray areas.  He is rock solid.  He is the man God gave me.  He relies on the Solid Rock and I rely on my Rock.  If a dragon comes my way, he is the one who kills it.  He is not afraid to do what real beasts do.  If he even thinks someone is messing with his children, he loads up for warfare.  He will charge the gates of Hell to protect them.  Anyone who causes them distress is at risk of his charge. 

When I am faced with tragedy and heartbreak, he stands in the gap between me and engulfing despair.  He puts me in check with his immovable stand of faith.  Yes, he experiences concern over situations; he flips a switch and it goes right up in the flames of faith filled prayer.  I would have completely destroyed myself by now without him.  Others laugh and wonder how I “put up” with him.  I don’t know how he “puts up” with me.  He makes me want to be stronger, tougher, braver.  He makes me want to live life full throttle. To laugh at the dragons and wave them off with my hand.  To send fear up in the flames of faith filled prayer.  Until that time comes, I will lean on him for protection, for courage, for intercession. 

He is a beast.  He is a warrior.  He is a battle-scarred man who loves God.  He is tough, hard and full of love.  I am so blessed to call him mine.  And so blessed to be his.

God Gave Me You

Tractor

I always tease him that he only does the yard work that can be done on a tractor or riding lawn mower. And sometimes will run the chainsaw. But he is very good with that tractor. A friend observed him moving a large tree that had been cut down. He used the hay spear and our friend described the scene as his using the spear like a pair of tweezers precisely placing the log where he wanted it on the big fire pile we had blazing.

The other day he was working on cleaning up the cow pen. There were several mounds of hay and manure accumulated from a couple of winters’ feedings. He used the front end loader to smooth the ground level. He needed to get next to the fence posts. I was perched up on the hay bales right next to the fence posts. I watched him ease that blade within an inch of the post and carefully drag the muck clear without touching the post.

I’ve seen him, helped him really, use that tractor to move deer stands through obstacle courses through the woods and up and down hills and ravines. He raises the front end loader up to the side of the stand and straps the stand to the bucket. Then he lifts the whole thing intact and drives along with it bobbing out in front of him. He dodges trees and ruts and whatever to get to his new spot picked out.

Recently he got off in a bad place that didn’t have a bottom to it. Sunk her deep in a boggy spot. Our son came to help and the two of them worked out a system using two heavy duty pickup trucks, a pine tree, a pulley, and a lot of rope and chain. They got it out of course and I don’t think either of them minded the task. They were laughing and joking and slinging a lot of mud!

I’ve ridden many an hour tucked up next to his seat. All kinds of weather. Doing all kinds of jobs. I haven’t been up there in recent years. Maybe I should go with him next time he loads her up for the deer lease. My bones screech at the thought, but my heart says yes, load up.