Image courtesy of

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“How many are you sleeping with tonight?”

The pause took me longer than usual to answer my husband as he waited for the answer at the other end of the phone. It took me a bit to remember all the names and add them on my fingers.

“Five last night and three the night before. Tonight there’s only two!”

“Make sure none show up tomorrow night! My flight will be in at 7:45. I’ll see you by 10:30. It’s been a long week and I’m tired. There’s no strength in me to fight my way through them.”

My husband’s work took him away for days and even weeks, so creating a different life while he was away made sinse to me. He accepted it if he didn’t have to deal with it when he got home.

However, it’s his fault that I sleep with so many when he’s away!

He gave me a gift when we were first married. It wasn’t wrapped or put under the Christmas tree, but it is my favorite gift from him in the forty years plus we’ve been married.

He gave me the gift of reading.

Yes, I had graduated from high school when we met. Yet, I had never read a book from cover to cover. Ever! I became very skilled at hiding my handicap and getting by without being able to read without struggles.

I didn’t know the real name of my challenge. All the words that I heard in school were “stupid, dummy, and flunky.” My spastic eyes and brain would flip words backwards or bring full sentences from the bottom of a page to the top without me being conscious of it. Dyslexia was the true name for my problem I learned years later.

To read a book for pleasure never happened until my dear husband took me to the library shortly after we were married and said, “Pick any book you want. It won’t matter how long it’ll take you to read it.”

With acceptance, encouragement, and patience; he gave me the gift of loving to read. Over time, I learned to control my eyes. When I did, I started falling in love with authors too. So when my husband would travel, I would take books to bed with me. His side of the bed would be stacked with new friends.

On occasions when he arrived a day or two early, hubby helped me move the books from his spot to the shelf. Therefore, he often would tease me with “How many are you sleeping with now?”

The one book that was never moved from its place next to our bed and stayed within easy reach was the Bible. Without challenging me to master of my dyslexia, I wouldn’t be able to unwrap the Word of God on my own from cover to cover. Helmut gave me an invisible gift that I unpack daily to see the Gospel of the Christ Child.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

Merry Christmas!