“Will you marry me, Kate?” he asked, his voice quivering as we rode along in the white carriage, The year – 1994, the setting – a romantic coffee plantation in Kauai. Through misty eyes, I absorbed his face. Fourteen months of dating proved to me that this man could be trusted with my heart. As I said yes, he slipped on a ring he borrowed from his mom; a tiny heart of pave’ diamonds. “Until the real ring gets here, this will do,” he promised.
I share our story to hang hope out there, like a swaying lantern in the night or lighthouse on a stormy night. If we could find each other, you must believe there is someone out there for you. Specifically for you, designed to accept you for who you are. Your complementary other in a sea of speckled fish.
One day someone is going to hug you so tight that all of your broken pieces will stick back together, wrote an unknown author. For me, that someone is my husband, Bill. I am that person in his life. This is the abbreviated story of our brokenness and how reciprocated love healed our cracked hearts.
History: Both Bill and I had been married; he for eighteen years, I for eight. Coincidentally, 1992 was the year we both experienced the devastation of divorce. He lost his house, I signed mine over. He had alternating weekend visitation with his teenage sons; I had no children. We met at a Divorce Recovery class that both of us were taking to reassemble our broken emotions. Neither of us were interested in the other. We were there to learn wellness tools. We learned how to navigate emotional pain, grief and depression, while accepting reality and gaining the hope that “this too shall pass” as the saying goes.
But at the Christmas party that December, I really noticed him. How cute, intelligent and down to earth he seemed. How attracted I was to him, despite the fact he wasn’t my type. We flirted but that was all. Then four months later on a balmy spring Friday evening, we were at the same gas station. We made eye contact, chatted and exchanged phone numbers. As I drove home, I noticed he was taking the same roads, driving in the same direction, making similar turns. Wait! He’s a stalker? Turns out we lived just 6 blocks from one another beach side. Coincidence? Not likely.
Action Scene: We began dating in the spring of ’93, followed by an engagement in June ’94 then marriage in February, 1995. While this is merely a chronological review, the emotional and romantic aspects are much more exciting. Bill wooed me sending flowers …. leaving original poetry on the passenger seat of the car when picking me up on a date. He was not familiar with jazz before we met, so he allowed me to introduce him to my favorite smooth jazz artists. We attended jazz concerts, feasted on crabs, enjoyed beer and buffalo wings. We did the same romantic things most lovers do pre-marriage: walked the beach, marathon kissing sessions, watched the moon and talked for hours either by phone or in person.
Take Away: What set this man apart was that he was enamored with me. He paid attention to me, listening when I talked (and still does, most of the time, LOL). It was as if I was his muse. I relished being the subject of his poetry. But he is more than a Renaissance man to me. He is gentle, kind, soft-spoken and tender-hearted. He is not perfect, by any means. But his gentleness was THE single factor that God used to heal my ravaged emotions. And he did not need to be anything or anyone but himself. Being himself was all he had to do. With the right person, our authentic self is enough.
While Bill was busy loving me to emotional wholeness, which happened so naturally even as we laughed, celebrated birthdays with family, travelled on vacations, etc., I was also being wooed to wholeness on a spiritual level. God was impressing me to return to church, which we did, together. After 10 years at two other churches, we eventually settled into our present church home where our spiritual growth catapulted.
This ceramic figure represents our transformation. I bought it 20 years ago to remind me that God brought me Bill’s love as a healing balm. I don’t really need it to remember, though. You see, I think we always carry a tiny remnant of our past wounded self within, not as a broken heart, but rather, as a remnant of who we once were. A shard of glass deeply embedded, reminding us of the mess we once were, yet now healed over, reflecting God’s glory outward as streams of light hit it. God’s love colors our world.
May His love color yours fully, completely and profoundly as you trust your heart to His care.