My Beautiful Painting, My Beautiful Husband

While I was still a student at Freed-Hardeman University, way back in 2001, Justin and I purchased our first piece of art, a perfectly beautiful and absolutely huge painting. Not that I knew it was being purchased. I just knew I loved it.

I’d been wandering around campus when I discovered a makeshift gallery showcasing work from the Painting I class. It was fine, lots of not-quite-right-but-a-good-try stuff. But, on a wall all alone, one painting dwarfed every other in the room (in all the ways one painting can dwarf another, including size). I stood in front of that painting for probably 15 minutes.

I wanted it.

I don’t know what it is about me and art but I’m rarely satisfied with just looking at it. If I love it (I mean really, really love it), I want to bring it home. I want to sit on my couch and stare at it. I want my children to grow up with it as the wallpaper of their family memories.

I feel this way about Miro paintings, and wouldn’t be surprised to awake one morning in an art gallery dressed in black with a stolen canvas in my hands—sleep art thieving.

Anyway, seeing this painting awakened something in me and, made me crave something beautiful, something permanent for the nest I was building.

Still, I was a broke college kid, even if I was married. Buying the painting seemed out of the question.

I brought Justin to look at it—maybe every day for the next week. He loved it, too. We looked at it together holding hands and I thought even if I couldn’t have this painting I had this man—a man who loved beauty and who could stand still in its presence.

The “showcase” ended at the close of the week, and I was happy to have seen something so rare—a painting (by a Painting I student no less) that had stirred my heart.

You can imagine how I felt when, months later, I opened the door to my living room and found it sitting on my couch.

The lengths to which Justin went to buy me that painting are heroic. Let’s just say he found, applied for, received and spent a Bell Tower scholarship. It was a huge chunk of money—the kind of money we needed to pay tuition and whatnot—but he recklessly spent it on beauty.

Eight years later, Laura Wilson’s portrait of her father hangs above my dining room table. Every time I look at that painting, I love my husband more—because of who he is and because of how he loves.

Happy 10th Anniversary, Justin.