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A Balance Sheet
by Amy Kenneley


Arithmetic has always jangled me. Forget higher mathematics-sitting at the dining room table figuring out the bills, I am still that 4th grader standing at a huge blackboard chewing the chalk and trying not to make mistakes at long division.

But I have to trudge through it, because now I am alone. The love of my life, Himself, left for Higher Places at the beginning of the year.

I stare at his careful printing, still referring to the monthly musts and maybes he set down in that determined, generous, big hand of his.

As Father's Day approaches, it is one more "first" to be accepted and lived through. Only those who grieve can best understand how lost and abandoned a "first" can make you feel.

Looking Back

In those early tempestuous months (maybe years?) of our marriage, we struggled to adjust to one another. Two forceful people, each wanting their own way, each wondering what they had said "yes" to, yet both still loving one another.

It was fortunate that I found written advice from someone wiser than I -- create a balance sheet. The very next time I was angry that's exactly what I did. I put down every irritating, annoying, blow-my-top thing I could think of about Himself. There! That for you, my man!

But on the other side of the sheet I was to put down all the things that I loved about him, all the things that were good about him, all the things I had admired and that drew me to him.

You can see where this is going. The balance sheet didn't balance at all. The first column was just petty stuff, passing stuff, things I knew wouldn't change and so what? The second column was longer. Much longer. It was all the things he was. Today I am remembering all the things he was.

What He Was

He was manly, calling after-shave "foo-foo juice" and collecting gift bottles in his dresser drawer until they had distilled into dark, ominous potions.

He raised his voice when he was explaining something, just so you knew who was teaching whom.

He was expert at his trade, teaching the ins and outs through example and sometimes some shouting.

He knew what he knew, and didn't pretend to know something that he didn't.

He didn't brag about himself, but delighted in his children's successes, and tried to be humble when telling others.

He was grateful for all he had, and worked hard for it.

His faith was firm, but quiet. He lived what he believed.

He always held my hand in public, and wasn't embarrassed to do so.

He loved a good story, a joke, friends, animals, his kids and grandkids, and beer.

And he loved me. Moody, argumentative, emotional, "I-can-do-it-I don't -need -you" me. He more than put up with me, he understood me. Guess he had a balance sheet of his own.

And believing in a merciful God, I know what His balance sheet will record for the best person I have ever known.

For someone you love, write down all the things that make them special. Give it to them. Let them know how you feel. Don't wait for a special day.

Amy and Michael Kenneley

Amy and Mike Kenneley



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