Handing over your innermost. The idea that all 4 life beating chambers are, in fact, voluntarily gifted with the promise of forever is one tall order. Marriage are those glowing effervescent hues of sepia with sweet, happy kisses from the outside looking in. Before the suntan lines on left hand ring fingers are just another staple of you, the idea of this holy union evokes notions of such grandeur & completeness. Brilliant beginnings with fairy tale ignitions beam us into places we are absolutely certain will be nothing short of storybook.
And it's here where I want to pull ours out. This book of our stories is bound with 12 1/2 years of together. There are pages thick with ink dripped and wonderfully scrolled chapters of us. And there are sections empty with pages staring back asking just how did we miss this memory. The scribbled sections are there too. Ones where dreams are doodled and tear stains have crinkled the edges just a bit. Big portions have crayons scrawled where life led us to one more human life. Then one more again.
Today's author is not just a contributor but the co-writer of my storybook. He and I have shared the well worn pages we pen with equal parts jubilee and sweaty palms of whatheheckarewedoing. We are bound. Through the union of two sets of 4 life beating chambers and all the absolute humanness of us. Flaws. Shortcomings. Talents. Hopes. Holy struggles, too.
This man is strength. Humble and selfless seeking. He is the music in our home. Lyrics bring him to a place of growing there within the confines of the instruments' union. He brings to our family this very same union: growing & one. Ahh, the lonesome melody of unrequited love will always pierce his soul & be the first to turn his ear. From Dance Little Jean to the heavy cords of Jason Isbell and his latest favorites Valerie and Vincent Black Lightning 1952. I know the rhythm of his heart even more because of these wonderful artists who so frequently visit our 4 walls. Our boys sing along & keep time only to know their Daddy more just the same.
This man is progress. He is one step better with each page we turn. Born with with such a sentimental spirit, I watch him handsome himself more to me as I continue to learn his innermost. I am honored to call myself his. Not because of his great sepia hues and sweet happy kisses, but because of the wrinkles worn there around the suntan lines of our left hand ring fingers. They are a sign of togetherness. Of work. Of a holy kind of stubborn that binds us for better and encourages us to just keep writing. Here, here & here are just some of our pages penned.
Without further ado, please welcome my husband, Kenny Cobble, to the blog.
Having accepted my wife’s challenge of writing over one full month ago, I find myself staring at a computer screen with my mind whirling through so many possible directions for the use of my chosen word. Though I knew my word right away, I threw other word choices at my sweet wife as part of my responsibility to needle that lovely lady to the point of pure annoyance. Ah, the true duties of husbandry are endless!
This word is one that I have carried with me since 1997. It was gifted to me on the beautiful campus of Maryville College from one of the most influential educators I have ever encountered: Dr. Terry Simpson. Dr. Simpson, the Director of Teacher Education at good ole MC, wasis the guru of all things educational. He has such a knack for demonstrating such a common sense approach to the enterprise that is education. He truly is a breath of fresh air. He prepares young minds with a clear vision and effective approach for life as a teacher. Common sense…grounded…caring…clear…practical…all these things epitomize Dr. Simpson. In today’s education world, those are qualities that are, at times, lacking on the roller coaster of initiatives that whirl with one zooming motion in from the state and national levels of my profession. Alas, that is for another day’s musings.
Where was I?OH YEAH! Dr. Simpson’s class. My word. His word. Dr. Simpson made it very clear that in order to be a teacher (and certainly in my case, a teacher & a coach), we must have a very strong understanding and belief in the reality that is this word. This word is CRITICAL to survival in the world of education, and, as I have come to find out, CRITICAL in the world of marriage, parenthood and most certainly leadership.
This word. EFFICACY.
It rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?
So this is the part where the word gets defined, right? As this series of blogs has gone, this is where the writer tells us what Mr. Webster believes the chosen word to mean. Okay, I will humor you…
the ability to produce a desired or intended result
Honestly though, it’s Dr. Simpson’s explanation that sticks with me some 17 years later. Again, the common sense, practical approach wins. As we sat in his classroom one Spring afternoon, he described this word to mean the following: The BELIEF THAT YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Regardless of the odds, regardless of the statistics, regardless of the past, regardless of popular opinion, regardless of mistakes made, regardless of opportunities missed, regardless of the opposition….and let's be clear…there WILL BE opposition. REGARDLESS.Can you look in the mirror and BELIEVE: I can….I can STILL make a difference?
What a great viewpoint….especially when things go well and you feel like you are making progress towards truly having an impact! It’s euphoric really. The idea that you can invest in another person or group in such a way that you actually impact the trajectory of their lives. These times are pivotal…because there will be times…OH.THERE.WILL.BE. TIMES. Times when progress seems distant and impact seems fleeting.
Those are the times. Those are the times when EFFICACY becomes paramount.
Maybe it’s the times you’ve used poor judgment as a husband and disappointed, hurt, or mistreated the woman God has chosen to bless you with. You know she deserves the VERY best you have to offer. You know she needs everything you have. You know you have fallen more than short.
Can you, in those moments that you are drowning in your mistakes, seek forgiveness, make every effort to repair your wrongs, and come out on the other side BELIEVING that you can make a difference in your marriage? BELIEVING that you can make difference in her life even after you have let her down?
Maybe it’s the times when you are struggling as the father of two AMAZING boys that absolutely bring so much life and vibrance to every single breath you take. You see in them so much potential.
You also see areas that they are struggling…fighting…battling. You see that some of those areas are areas that have been caused by your shortcomings as a parent.
Why didn’t I do this? Why didn’t I say that? Why didn’t I invest more then? Why did I respond that way? Why didn’t I react this way? Can you, in those moments when you see your own flaws being pushed into their lives through decisions you have made as their trusted keeper, garner the confidence to move forward and repair, encourage, build and invest with confidence in the lives that you want to see become successful more than you want your next breath?
Maybe it’s when the team you have been trusted to lead is struggling through a 2-7 season and the boo birds, naysayers, and stadium seat coaches are displeased and championing their dismay for the call you made, the call you didn’t make, the number of minutes played per player, the number of times this one or that one got the ball or did not, the numbers on the board at the end of the field that are not totaling the way they should be totaling. Maybe it’s when the young men you are leading make choices totally contrary to what you have been trying to teach them and you are left searching for what more you could have done to impact them in such a way that it changed that choice for them.
Can you, with the record not in your favor, move forward with passion and remember that your calling in your profession is to positively influence the lives of young men, to help them see the value of reaction to adversity, the importance of being a part of something bigger than themselves, to try to impress upon them concepts that will inevitably help them be better sons, husbands, and fathers?
It describes our belief in our own ability to be effective. This belief is vital during our successes as well as during our defeats. It really doesn’t matter the situation, the relationship or the profession.
There is no substitute for the belief that you truly can make a difference: in the lives of your loved ones, in your chosen profession, when you look into the eyes of the lined face you know so well staring back at you from the mirror’s glass.
Thank you, Dr. Simpson. The vocabulary lesson has truly “produced the desired or intended result.”
Fortunate husband. Awestruck father. Forgiven Christian. Apologist for BLOG sentence fragments (My beautiful wife says they are acceptable; I wonder if Dr. Susan Schniebel feels the same?)
To open all 31 gifts from this month long celebration, visit here.