Friday, September 24, 2010

Second Chances

       Hong Kong and China were magical places. I fell in love with the green jungles, the bright flowers, and the people who so desperately needed the Word of God.

     Who I didn't fall in love with was Christian guy on fire for the Lord. I think I realized we were completely wrong for each other on the flight over there. I also realized I was using Christian guy on fire for the Lord to cover up my true feelings for someone else.
        I had seen him just days before flying out of New York. We met at Starbucks one cold December night for a coffee "date." Interestingly enough we had both brought gifts for each other. I was still trying so hard to be in denial about my love for him, so I brought along a book about sharing the gospel while in High School. Yeah. Lame-oh. I'm pretty sure he never opened the front cover. ( I just read that part to him, and he told me he doesn't even remember getting that book. Serves me right.)
        The gift he had brought for me threw me completely off guard. He had painted me a picture of a white flower, and one of the petals was falling to the ground. It was stunning. I felt ashamed of my dinky little impersonal book. We were old loves, not some high school acquaintances. He accepted my gift with a genuine smile and a heartfelt "thank you, Marybeth" nonetheless.
         Suddenly I was very confused.  He was so much more handsome than I ever remembered. He was wearing a pull-over collared sweater that did amazing things for him, he had facial hair, and he was driving his own car he had purchased by himself. Add all that up with the painting of the white flower, and it's NO wonder I found myself utterly confused.
         After coffee I followed him to his house to hang out for a bit. His parents were home so we braved the cold and sat side by side on the freezing concrete steps on his front porch. Oh, and we had more coffee in hand.
Here is something I wrote right after hanging out that night...

December 27th, 2006
I saw you...

We sat there, where we had sat so many months before, in silence, our breath 
coming out in huge white clouds around our faces. I smile, he smiles, and I 
say the words I've wanted to say to him since the day I walked away....but I 
say it with my eyes and look away to the snow on the ground. My toes are 
starting to freeze, but something is warming me from head to foot. I smile again, and look back up. He's still staring into my eyes. Why does he have to be so beautiful? Those eyes, that smile...I sigh, he asks, 
     "What?" I smile and he smiles. My heart tightens. Some of it is a blur, some a hazy cloud still surrounding my mind. 
     "I should have been better to you..." I whisper into the night. 
      His eyes fill up with tears, and I fall. 
      "Don't cry ..." 
      He smiles, "I'm not...not yet." 
      I laugh and look down. How can he not be the...I'm trying to smile, but inside I'm coming undone.
     "What do you miss most," he asks softly. 
     "About what?" Of course I know what he means, but something deep inside wants to hear him say it. 
I repeat the word quietly. I sit there in silence a little too long. He laughs 
     "You don't have to answer, Marybeth. If it's too hard..." I interrupt him mid-sentence. I shake my head. 
     "No no no, I'm going to." 
     I look at the snow and fight back the tears. What do I say? I can't reveal the truth, that I miss everything. His laugh, his crazy eyes, his family, our 
talks, his hugs...I sigh and look up at the moon and all those stars, trying 
to piece something together. 
      "I guess...I guess...well, I don't really miss anything about...well, hold on." He shifts and kind of half-laughs, half-groans. "It's okay, break my heart." I look quickly into his eyes and say no. I smile so he knows I won't break his heart ever again. Can he see? 
       "Honestly, I don't miss anything about our relationship, like what we did or whatever. When it really comes down to it, all I miss is you. Everything 
about you. I miss Trevor." 
       We sit there and silence envelopes us. I welcome it gladly, but he speaks soon enough. 
       " I miss..." He trails off and I look at him. I look away. 
       "I miss the love." I fall. What does this mean? Does it mean it's gone? 
       I quickly direct my heart, my thoughts toward the Lord, and ask Him to guard me. I'm getting in too deep, too soon. We talk about regrets, wishes, hopes, and theology. All in all our conversation went well enough. When he walked me to my car, he had serious eyes and I loved them. 
       "May I have a goodbye hug...?" He sheepishly asks. 
       "Yes." I couldn't let go. If anyone had tried to seperate us, I'm not sure either of us would have been able to hear anything. In that moment my world was his arms and the strong heart beat I heard through his shirt. A million seconds pass by, and we finally let go. We stand there in silence, for what had taken place while we touched was nothing short of spiritual. 
         We both are looking down, and I say in a too-loud voice, 
        "Well, maybe just one more." He grabs me and holds me tightly. I always loved his hugs. It was as if he knew he was losing me and this was his last chance to hold on. I say in a little voice, 
        "I love your heart." He takes my head and lays it closer to his heart. I sigh. We push apart. We laugh. 
        "Now get in the car Marybeth. Drive home. I'll scrape your 
        I sit here, looking everwhere but at him. Finally, he gets to my 
window, stops scraping, and looks at me. His eyes...those eyes, are so full 
of something I have never seen before. He waves weakly. I wave and smile. He 
sort-of smiles. 
        Driving away, I once again feel my heart start to tighten, 
and now the tears come. All those tears I had been hiding. The sobs come 
rushing over me like waves. The road is blurry, my head swirling, and I cry. 
I cry harder then I have in a while, and I cry even harder because I can't 
see where I am driving. Laying in bed, I think of him again,and smile. A 
tear slips out, but is quickly wiped away, for I know our time has not yet 
come. Patience is the secret ingredient to the most powerful kind of love. 
The kind him and I share. The kind that never dies. And I smile."

To be