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WRITE TEAM: Making peace with the ghillie suit

There’s a ghillie suit in my laundry room.

If you don’t know what a ghillie suit is, congratulations, you married one who does not hunt.

You will never know the smell of doe pee on your pillow, (yes that happened one year when the wash got mixed up) nor will you be subjected to the sight of something that looks like big foot covered in leaves dangling from your laundry room right next to your silk nightie.

Every October, without fail, I lose my husband to the bucks and does.

In our younger marriage I put up with it less gracefully.

My husband had to beg, bargain and brood to get his weekend in the woods.

We had what seemed like 100 children, but it was really only four.

Overwhelmed with the worries of life, I felt dressing up in camouflage and climbing trees was something we did not have the space or money for. There were side jobs that could be done, children’s soccer games and always something to fix.

So, we would argue, and most often I or the pending household bills would win.

My hunter would trade most of the hunting season for a side job. He’d bring home a nice check to catch us up for a bit and I was satisfied.

However, the first of October, otherwise known in the hunting world as open season, he would be gone at the crack of dawn rain, snow, or shine for the hunt.

It would begin the week prior. As September came to a close, the camouflage would be released from its Rubbermaid prison, the bow and arrows dusted off to be tested. My otherwise composed husband couldn’t hide his anticipation for his favorite day of the year to arrive.

To be honest, I often resented his weekend away and wished I could be so free.

But the seasons of life have worn down my rough edges and taught me perspective.

One by one our birds did fly, and now it’s the two of us with a high school senior perched on the edge of our nest.

We never did get rich enough to earn space for fun.

We still drive rusty old cars, and trade side jobs for luxury, yet somehow life feels so much simpler the older and poorer we get.

Time seems beautiful and how we spend it weighty with meaning.

This year, I kissed my hunter goodnight as the sun set on September and I laughed thinking of him in the ghillie suit walking into the woods.

All that resentment had melted away with a shared lifetime of overcoming, failure, struggle and victory behind us. I thought of a younger me white knuckling life. I wished I could unfurrow her brow and tell her it was all going to be OK. Enjoy life,” I’d say.

Eat the cake.

Wear the red dress.

Stay in bed a little longer.

Let him disappear in the woods.


I wonder if I’d listen to myself.

SHARI TVRDIK is director of special projects and communication for Cup of Cold Water Ministries. From the four corners of your living room to the other side of the globe, the mission to live God’s love is always and everywhere. She can be reached at

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