I don’t necessarily believe in Valentines Day…. I mean I believe in celebrating love…. I absolutely BELIEVE in celebrating love, but I don’t know if I believe in doing it on a particular day each year….. I think it should be celebrated EVERY day…. and Valentines Day to me is just a reminder to reflect on that daily celebration….
I wasn’t looking for love…. I was actually too busy licking my wounds and hiding my heart away to be interested in stepping out into the ‘dating’ world. I had gone through a devastating break-up of my marriage, dealing with severe and debilitating pain, and trying to adjust to being a single mom of a confused little boy. The last thing I was looking for was a relationship with ANYONE…. I already had my hands full, and I was horribly heart-broken…. I firmly believed that “love” was something for other people… and not me. I believed that “love” hurt… it hurt more than anything I have ever experienced in my life… and there was no way that I was going to EVER give my heart to another… How do you give your heart to someone when you gave it away freely before, only to have it disrespected, misunderstood, and then stomped on? Yep, no thanks… If that was what love was all about, it wasn’t for me. I was happy relying on myself and concentrating on my child.
And then one day my life forever changed….. I opened up my email to find that an old friend had looked me up, and sent a quick message to say hello…. he wanted to let me know that I was in his thoughts… “How’s the family?” he asked…. and my heart sunk…. um… there is no more family…. It is just me and my boy now…. I am getting divorced…. I’m a failure…. of course I didn’t say all of those things, but that is how I felt.
He wrote RIGHT back, and passed on his “condolences”, but he said that if it was the right choice for me, he was proud of the courage I had in leaving… and gave me his phone number, and asked that I call him….
For 3 days every time I thought of hearing his voice, I panicked…. Why was I feeling this way? I couldn’t sleep… I couldn’t eat…. I clung to the few short sentences that made up his email…It somehow seemed like a life-line to me. I had always respected him, and his friendship had gotten me through a rough time years before…. But at the same time he didn’t know that I had become ill since the last time he saw me… he didn’t know how much baggage I carried… I AM NOT THE SAME PERSON ANYMORE I said over and over again as those few days passed by… It became my self sabatoging mantra. I decided in my mind that I wasn’t going to call him. I didn’t need any more judgment in my life, and I convinced myself that he would never understand ME… I was broken…. I was unloveable… I wasn’t the friend he once knew…
He persisted…. “When are you going to call me?” he wrote…. “I am free right now if you want to chat?”…. oh god.. how do I make him go away??
Brrrriinggg!!!! Brrringgggg!!!! Crap, he won’t take NO for an answer!! He is calling ME!!!
“How long has it been?….. 5 years?….. So what have you been up to? Tell me everything!!” he said… um… What do I say to that? Okay Jolene, play it cool, he never has to know how completely broken your life has become…. tell him something… tell him ANYTHING… tell him you are busy and you can’t talk right now…
“I’ve actually been really ill…. and I am not the girl you used to know”… and those few words sparked a 6-hour conversation…. I purged EVERYTHING… and he listened…. I told him things that I hadn’t been able to tell anyone else in my life…. I was so vulnerable and open… and SCARED. When I put the phone down, I banged my forehead with the palm of my hand and said out loud “Well, I don’t think I have to worry about HIM calling again!”
and 10 minutes later, my cell phone beeped… I had a new text message….
“When are you meeting me for coffee?”
That text message was the first of HUNDREDS…. and that phone call was one of MANY… weeks went by, and we spoke for HOURS everyday. He sent me a “Good Morning” text every morning and a “Sweet Dreams” text every night – and in between we spent the day on the phone with each other, replaying old memories, catching up on where life had taken us in the years we were out of touch, and falling in love with one another’s character…. Before I ever laid eyes on him again, he had become my best friend.
I had never been so open and honest with anyone before. Every time I thought he would get scared away, he would move a step closer…. Our first meeting was evident, and couldn’t be delayed much longer…. I had to lay eyes on the man who had given me back my heart… I had to thank him for giving me something I thought I had permanently lost…. TRUST in someone else.
The moment we layed eyes on each other, I knew I had come home. It is something that I can’t explain. It was the most familiar feeling I had ever experienced, and at the same time it was something I understood was completely foreign and new… It was LOVE…. unbridled, unrestricted, uninhibited LOVE… I was SO blown away…. is THIS what love feels like? Am I just setting myself up for further heartache? Why have I lost all control? Have I lost my MIND?!?!?
He walked over to where I stood, and put his arms around me in an embrace…We held on to each other for what seemed like hours, but I am sure it was only a moment or two. I just didn’t want to let go. His arms healed something inside me. His warmth melted away a lot of pain. His own vulnerability spoke to me more than any of his words ever could. His arms dropped, our eyes met, and the back of his hand brushed mine. I knew I would never be the same again. In THAT very moment his love saved me.
And his love continues to save me…. every single day….
He is my best friend, my mentor, my lover. He is my teacher, and my student, and in turn I am his. He is my advocate, my support system, my soft place to fall. …. He is an amazing influence in my son’s life…. we are FAMILY not just by definition, but by design.
Early on in our relationship we took a long drive through the mountains…. and by the time we headed for home I knew in my heart that this was the man who I was made for… and he was perfectly made for me…. As he drove we spoke about how everything in our lives prepared us for THAT exact moment…. and how wonderfully and strangely life had a way of working out. What started out as a chance meeting turned into a friendship 10 years ago, and that friendship then turned out to be the most passionate and true love of our lives….
As the sun was setting over the mountains, and we drove for awhile in silence…. I knew I never wanted this journey to end.
He broke the silence by saying “I absolutely BELIEVE that I can love you in a way you have never been loved before”……
And he was right…….
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