E42B.T. Harman

Someone to Run Home To

E42B.T. Harman
Someone to Run Home To

In Florence, Alabama, most kids played little league baseball at Veterans Park which sat near right next to the Tennessee River. The fields were pretty basic—a couple of sets of old wooden bleachers and a press box made of cinder blocks painted hunter green. It was fine for kids.

I was out there every summer, playing for the Cardinals or the Tomahawks or the Sharks. I didn't love playing baseball, but I knew it made dad happy. I think he sensed that, because every year before the season, he'd ask, "Now Brett...are you sure you want to play again this year? You know you don't have to." Every year, I told him yes. Every year, I lied.

My two main positions were right field and first base. Of course no one wanted to play right field because that was for the kids who weren't very good. So when I could, I always wanted to play first base. I was tall and decently coordinated so I logged a good bit of time there over the years.

Dad was always there in the stands and was really into the games, though church-people always wanted to talk to him. It was a small town. 

Mom was there too. She kept one eye on the game, but she liked the social aspect and the Dubble Bubble chewing gum. That was her little ballpark tradition so she'd buy a fist-full at the concession stand and chew it during the game. From first base, I had a good view of mom and dad sitting in those hunter green bleachers. I knew they were there for me, and that felt good. 

In high school I played basketball and football at the little Christian school I went to. I'd become a better athlete by then and got a lot of playing time in both sports. Our basketball team was pretty good, and we won some trophies my senior year. Our football team was a bit undersized so we were just okay. But like little league, mom and dad were always in the stands. I knew they were there for me—just me—and that felt good.  

By 2013, I began to sense that my plan wasn't working. I had great community, but my longing for companionship was still there, still invading every thought.

My Facebook feed had been completely taken over by pictures of cuddling couples on date nights and adorable babies eating pureed squash. Gone were the days where I could log in and see pics from my single friends' nights out and fun vacations. Now it was all families, all the time. 

I began to think a lot then about the role of a spouse, of a companion. I'd never been in anything close to a meaningful relationship, and I'd slammed the door on love years before, so I was clueless about it all. 

I understood romance about as well as I understood gastroenterology or the Chinese Civil War of 1927.

But still, I was intrigued by love, by relationships, by romance.

Sometimes I'd be scrolling Facebook or Instagram and would come across a really beautiful post from a friend—a tribute to his or her spouse, the Millennial version of a hand-written love note.

A birthday or anniversary was usually the reason for the post. Each one was beautiful and inspiring, so I began saving the best ones. I don't really know why I did this, other than I could see light in them and that was worth preserving. 

I captured each one like a kid putting fireflies in a mason jar. Kids don't know the biology of how fireflies work, but they know they are mysterious and beautiful. My friends in love were mysterious and beautiful to me. Here are a few from my jar...

*skyline pic posted by husband* "Already feels like home...as long as I'm with my beautiful lady."

*pic of wife at dinner* "10 years ago this woman made me the luckiest man on earth. I can't wait to spend the rest of our years together as we build our family and grow old. I love you more than I could ever show you babe."

*black & white pic of husband standing in front of rosebush* "Monday's have become our days. Cheers to this guy saying yes to a lifetime of 'Will you stand over there and let me take your photo?' ❤️😍❤️ " 

*pic from behind of trendy wife walking down street.* "Love of my life right here. I have a beautiful life with you babe 😘."

*unposed pic of wife in kitchen, holding baby* "Anything I have ever done that matters was a direct result of being loved and encouraged by this woman. She constantly teaches me how to love without condition & draw near to humility as a way of life. This life is a beautiful chaos & the Lord is gracious to allow me to share it with her. #holymatrimony #mywifeishot."

*pic of wife sitting on 4-wheeler with sun setting in background* "This lady. #love"

*pic of smiling couple in front of a little white house* "#tbt to Tuesday when we bought a precious 1950s bungalow as our first home! 😊👫🏡"

*pic of couple sitting outside, palm trees in background, her head resting on his shoulder* "Yesterday I turned 40, & this sweet soul has celebrated the last 23 with me. She is steadfast, she is supportive & she is loving. I am undeserving, but I will gladly accept her love & companionship on this journey. My family is amazing...that is all."

*pic of couple in the backyard at night, both holding shovels, both with headlamps on* "Night composting! I love this girl more than anyone could know!"

There's a dismal duplicity in seeing such things as both amazingly beautiful and tearfully depressing...

Screw that, Brett. That's stupid. You don't need love....

I'd rehearsed that response a million times by then. It was like a voicemail that automatically played in my mind, so I was a pro. 

But conditioning a mental reflex to label as unlovely something that is most definitely lovely is a tragedy that brings its own little guilt...

What the hell is wrong with you, Brett??? They're literally just living their lives and you're judging them. Get over yourself, man. 


Not only did I see a lot of cute couples on Facebook, but I saw them in real life as well. I was surrounded by lots of great couples, mostly at work.

I think people who don't know any Christians imagine Christian marriages to be prudish, boring, grey. Because of the gender stuff in the Bible, they may even imagine them to be lopsided, with the husband being a domineering jerk. Personally, I don't know any Christian marriages like that. The couples I know are awesome—light-spirited, fun, selfless, and honoring to each other. And that spills over to their kids which makes for a really healthy, really happy family. I've gotten a front row seat to good marriages in my life, and I count that as a big blessing. 

I always listened closely to the guys I worked with when they talked about their wives.

I'd hear them talk about getting home from work and recapping their day with their wives. Some of them would describe standing in the kitchen with their spouse as one of them cooked dinner. Another guy would do it while lying in bed next to his wife, right before they fell to sleep. I'm sure they didn't think much of their daily ritual, but I found it inspiring. 

I realized then that each of these guys had someone to run home to. After a bad day at work, there was always someone there waiting to listen. It seemed like having someone to run home to was therapeutic for these guys in a way they weren't even aware of. This was just one of the beautiful aspects of marriage I observed back then. 

I also observed that marriage lets you be someone else's number one person.

To at least one other person on the planet, you are the most important.

At least one other person thinks you're the best.

At least one other person would instantly notice if you went missing.

At least one other person would be utterly devastated if you were to die.

And that one other person chose you out of a couple billion possible suitors.

The desire to be someone else's number one is very natural, primal even. It's like being a kid on first base, knowing mom and dad are there to watch you and only you. No matter whatever else happens in that ballpark, you're their number one. If you miss a pop fly or a meteorite slams into left field it doesn't matter, because you know someone is there who will find you and make it all okay.

I also noticed that marriage gives you someone who will never replace you. 

This sounds super-obvious, but outside of marriage, we get replaced all the time. Friendships are great but most friends eventually move on, move out, move away, marry up, or lose interest. Most friendships are transitory, and even the best ones offer no guarantee of permanence. Just look at your friend groups from middle school, high school, college, and beyond. They changed drastically because the people in them changed.

But marriage isn't like that. Marriage sticks. Marriage is glue. Marriage says...

I am with you. I am for you. We're the same. We're a team. There is no walking away here. There is no quitting.

These observations about marriage didn't just seem lovely; they began to feel vital. 

Listening to those guys talk about going home to their wives or children made me think about my own post-work ritual....

Come in at 7 or 8pm to an empty, quiet house...

Try to figure out dinner: Should I microwave a frozen meal or go to Chipotle for the third night this week?

Drive to Chipotle...

Eat alone...

Come home...

Pour a glass of bourbon...

Sit on couch with my laptop...

Turn on TV...

Roommate joins (with laptop)...

We sit quietly on couch staring at laptops. The TV jabbers on... 

Roommate goes to bed...

Around 11pm, I get sleepy...


Of course, this isn't so bad when you're younger, but after a decade it gets old. In my soul there was a deep aching that this was not as it should be. And I'd often imagine a different life...

I imagined having someone to talk to...

I imagined discussing my day while we stand in the kitchen making stir-fry and drinking cheap wine....

I imagined venting about some dumb thing some client said at work that day...

I imagined putting on old running shorts and tennis shoes and going for a walk around the neighborhood as the sun went down...

I imagined coming back home and crawling into bed with that person and talking a little more before reaching over to the nightstand and turning off the lamp.

I imagined another beautiful day living with love....

And then I'd remember that that someone in that domestic dream was a man, just like it had been a million times before. And I'd be flooded with shame... 

And more questions... 

But why?

Why, God? Why is that so bad?

Why is that scene so damn evil in your eyes? Why will that send me to hell? 

With all the horrible things happening in the world, why is THAT the one church-people think is so bad?

Who told me that was wicked, and who told me I was a pervert for wanting love, for wanting a family?  

Who told me to feel that way?


I was having these conversations with God more frequently back then. 

My sense of restlessness was growing.

My anxiety was growing.

My loneliness was growing. 

Work made a terrible wife.

And community was not fixing my companionship problem like I'd hoped. 

I didn't know it, but the pressure was building. I was reaching a tipping point, an explosion of all this mounting emotion. All that was lacking was something to trigger it. And that something was just around the corner... 👊


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All photos by Sterling Graves. Copyright Blue Babies Pink & Sterling Graves.

B.T. Harman is the creator of Blue Babies Pink, a Southern Coming Out Story in 44 Episodes.

B.T. is a consultant, writer, and speaker living in Atlanta's historic Cabbagetown neighborhood. He was previously a vice president for Booster, an Atlanta fundraising company, where he helped the organization raise $150 million for elementary schools.

B.T. is passionate about storytelling, leadership, good design, Seth Godin, SEC football, Chick-fil-A, Taylor Swift, archaeology, European Travel and CS Lewis.

B.T. also serves on the boards of directors for Beloved Atlanta and the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.

To learn more about B.T., visit his personal site at btharman.com