My sweet cousin, John, got married this month, as so many people do in the month of June. And when I went to sign the card, I wanted to write something thoughtful and meaningful. But, as I thought about John and his beautiful bride, Ashley, pictured them joining hands, and setting off together on the road of life, I became overwhelmed. I thought about the inevitable ups and downs they would experience together: joy and sorrow, hope and desperation, health and sickness, success and failure, and I just didn’t know how to put everything I hoped for them into words.
Then, yesterday, our change jar caught my eye. (I don’t know what you Northerners do with your change, but all the Southern people I know keep most of their change in a Mason jar.)
I remembered a time of both great hope and desperation, early in my marriage, during the lean, hungry years. I remembered a time when our change jar was empty. I can still picture my husband standing in our bedroom, asking me where all our change had gone. And I can still feel the shame and dread that filled me in that moment.
I told my husband the truth: that although I hadn’t known exactly how much money we had left in our checking account, it couldn’t have been much, and that I hadn’t had enough gas in my car to get to work that morning. So, I had emptied our change jar to buy gas, to get to work – and I had really hoped he wouldn’t notice. I told him I was sorry.
I will never, as long as I live, forget the look on my husband’s face after I told him this. He looked at me with such sadness, tenderness, compassion, kindness, and love. This is what he said, “You need to tell me these things. I don’t want you living like that, like your last and only hope in life is a change jar. You have more than a change jar. You have me, and whatever you need, tell me, and I’ll find a way to get it for you. Somehow, I’ll get it for you. I promise. I love you.”
At that moment, I knew that I was a truly wealthy woman, that I possessed far more than a change jar, far more than all the change in the world could ever buy. This is what I wish for John and Ashley, and for all the couples joining hands this month and setting off on the rest of their lives together: I wish you more than a change jar.