What I learned from the sidewalk

[This is part of Robert Hruzek’s group writing project “What I learned from a sidewalk.“]

Walking is how Nancy and I met.

I mean, we had know each other. We had talked occasionally, briefly, acknowledging the existence of each other. But we had never talked. Until we took a couple long walks. Once with a couple friends. Once, just the two of us on a Thursday night, A walk that ended with us deciding to get married. We had our first date a couple weeks later. We were engaged a couple weeks after that.

But that’s not my story for today.

A couple years ago we met each other again, walking. I mean, we had been together for the 24 years since getting married eight months after that long walk. But two kids, a few jobs, a lot of talking with other people, you need to talk. We’ve spent the last two years walking and talking, forty-five minutes a time, once or twice a day for most days.

Life on the  outside of our conversations has been interesting for the past two years. Our time walking has carried us well.

But that’s not my story for today.

One evening a year or more ago we were walking. We were on the sidewalk near our house. I wish I could remember when, exactly. Nancy could tell you. She remembers whens. I can see the moment. I remember pictures.

We were walking and talking and fully engaged in the subject. Nancy was looking at me. And then she wasn’t. She was falling forward.

The sidewalk at that place had about a two inch incline. It inclined all at once. And Nancy’s eyes were on me. Her toe found the incline.

“Oh God. Oh God.”

All I could do was pray. I couldn’t reach. I couldn’t support. I couldn’t help. My wife was falling face forward on a rough sidewalk and I couldn’t do anything. And it was a terrifying feeling.

She survived. Her hands and knees and face were scraped. Nothing, however broke.

We limped home, me holding her up. Me calming my panicked heart.

We have been through worse moments involving tumors and a baby and jobs and relationships. Other people have been through much worse. And I understand all of that.

What I learned however from that sidewalk on that night in that moment is this:

I do cry out to God as an automatic response in crisis.
I do love my wife more than you or she or I realizes from moment to moment.

(And happy 26th anniversary early. I am grateful to call you my wife.)

13 responses to “What I learned from the sidewalk

  1. What a lovely story, and happy anniversary to both of you.

  2. Happy anniversary, Jon and Nancy. My wife and I are about a dozen years behind you, but very much in the same mold as you suggest here.

  3. Happy anniv-day!

    Marriage has indeed been a blessing to me and my Heather also. Twenty years this August.

    Funny thing I thought of as I read about Nancy’s fall – I almost always pray when I’m in the shower that I won’t slip. One fall could cause a lifetime of pain and untold expense.

    I’m sure there are a lot of analogies in that, but I’m too lazy to think of them.

  4. Amazingly powerful memory, Jon; glad you shared it with us – especially the lesson you learned from it. I’ too, have experienced almost exactly the same thing with Mrs. MZM, except it was a short set of stairs.

    Glad such memories can become sweeter over time, because they can be quite terrifying at the moment.

    We celebrate our 27th this May, so congrats on your time together! Tip o’ the hat to you both!

  5. I intended to wish you happy anniversary on the appropriate day, but I’d better not trust my memory to do it–so, to both of you: May there be many more level sidewalks in your lives and may you keep looking at each other in between the looking up.

  6. I like what you learned from the sidewalk.🙂 Happy anniversary!

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  8. Wow! Happy Anniversary!

    My wife and I also decided to marry before our first date. We had grown-up together but had not seen each other much since we were 15. We were living in different states so I called her dad and got his permission to marry. Then I called and set-up a time to meet her. We have been married ten years and we are still dating.

  9. I think the most amazing part of your story is all the walking and talking…once or twice a day for the past two years! This has got to be a recipe for a super marriage.

  10. Luke, I love it! We’re still getting around to dating.

  11. Thanks, Terro. The walking certainly helps. The talking is wonderful.

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