I removed the deep red long stem Valentine's Day roses from the tall glass vase this afternoon. I know the old gardeners trick to remove all greenery from the stems from the water line and under, so the water was not stale and dank with slimy leaves. I am aware these fine deep red flowers will dry nicely as I bind them with ribbon and hang upside down in an open spot on the wall in my living room beside my son's photograph who is just about to graduate from basic military training next week. I have two other similar happy bundles in my dining room; one from last Valentine's Day and another from my children the previous year. My mind lingered back to my life two years before when I endeavored to treat the hearts and roses holiday as just another day. That Valentine's Day was nails on a chalkboard awful. At that point, my divorce had been utterly finalized nearly a year before. I'd spent the year before trying to make a beautiful new life for myself, and I'd just recently begun to realize a an ever present longing, a nagging of my soul, to be truly loved. I tried to push the feeling away, curb it with friendships and nourishing things like exercise and silence. God had been so good, gentle, kind, and remarkably visible and audible to me in a way He'd never been in those lonely single days. I remember sharing my longing with Him and asking for Him to either take it away or make a way. The longer the waiting went, the more disgruntled and dissatisfied I became with God. In one passionate plea quite literally on my knees, He mercifully whispered "April" to me. I relaxed a bit and waited for my birthday, April 1. I'm sure I had some delightful birthday fulfilled with my dear friend and her husband and family. I was the proverbial third wheel same as ever. As the month proceeded I got downright mouthy and petulant with God reminding Him that this was the month He was to come through. I struck the days off to the bitter end of the calendar month, half in protest and half in hope. I decided to be open minded to any prospect. On April 28th I got a call asking for a drink or dinner from someone who works at the same company I do. Plans for that took a few weeks to come together. I was terrified that co-workers would find out (wasn't sure of policy) and we negotiated a fairly safe plan of contact which thankfully remained until we were ready to share our relationship publicly much later. His respect of me and my stature of single motherhood was evident from the start. He offered me a true love I'd never known, and only now do I understand, a love not experienced by many. Something rare and treasured...and faithful. So, I've taken what he has offered me a give back to him in the same way. We married New Year's Eve at the stroke of midnight.
I've shared a roller coaster year with my love in watching my oldest, Peace fall in love and also join the United States Air force. This week my Pooh Bear was thrown from a frightened horse. She suffered memory loss from a concussion and hurt positively everywhere. Her memory of everything except the event has returned by God's good grace, but I have felt helpless and frightened while watching her confusion and pain. My husband held my tear stained face in his hands at breakfast last week and assured me, "She is not alright just now, but I promise she will be." His certainty astounds and comforts me, and she most certainly is much better this week.
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