It's the first Thursday of the month, meaning it's Random Journal Link-Up Day, but I've also been participating in 21 Days of Journal-keeping over at Dawn's blog, too. Those of you who know me well (I'm looking at you, family!) might find it odd that I need help to keep a journal. You're the ones who have seen me with my pen in one of these blue notebooks every day of your lives. However, there's a challenge in the writing to prompts. It's like putting a harness on a wild creature and that's good for me.
So today, I thought share the entry from June first, the first day of the 21 day challenge. The prompt was to write about how I met my spouse. For the first instant, I was wordless, because the story's been too often told and is long and cumbersome. But then I began to write this:
The other night I had a dream that I was back in high school playing baseball with a large crowd of friends. Beve was there but was leaving for school overseas. Saying goodbye to him made me panic and clutch him. It was breaking my heart that he was leaving me, even though (in the dream) I couldn't understand why. Of course the truth of our lives is far different from that dream. I don't remember meeting Beve. We knew each other a long time before we were friends and were friends a long time before that friendship mattered. The dreams I have now are more interesting than the real story until we get to almost 15 years into knowing each other. It's like I am trying to invent a different past in my dreams.
Yes, it would be easier to go back and back and back and turn it into fiction. An alternate version, you might call it. He was the boy across the street but I was aware of him the instant I moved into our new house on Janet Street and the games on the cul de sac behind his house led to friendship when we were in elementary school. And when I cut across his yard in those days it was because I'd been in his driveway playing marbles with him. And when he came to my house to talk to my dad about joining scouts, he stayed longer because we were always hanging out together anyway.
And if that had been our story, when we started middle school and my mom drove us across town to middle school, I always sat beside him in our carry-all and walked with him from where she dropped us, talking all the way. Maybe we didn't talk at school, but we were friends and told each other our stuff.
Then--in this alternate history--just about the time we started high school, about the time we each met our First Love (Jesus), something changed between us. Maybe we didn't understand what it was. Maybe it got awkward for a little while. But before too long, we realized that we'd always been building toward this deeper friendship. So it changed. Yes, it changed. And when he played basketball, I paid attention. Well, I paid attention not simply because he was the best player in our high school but because he was also important to ME. It was with the jeweled eyes of new love and knowing I'd walk out the door of the gym with him afterwards; with this tall, amazing, talented, humble boy.
But that's not our story. None of it is. Sometimes I'm a little sad that it isn't since all of it is so close. We did all those things. We played together, walked those blocks, were in each other's homes, rode in each other's cars, and I watched this very talented basketball player play. Sometimes we even did things by ourselves together (walked or drove home from places--it was convenient, after all!). We had the same circle of friends. But even if I squint as hard as I can backwards, I can't make any of it count. I can't pay attention well enough in hindsight. He just didn't matter to me then. Not then, not for another eight years after our high school graduation.
Yet every time a person discovers we lived across the street from each other growing up, their immediate conclusion is, "Oh, childhood sweethearts."
"When the time was right," stories begin in scripture. That's a very good title for our story as well. In some way, the time was right somewhere in the middle. It wasn't the beginning of the story, because there was a long prelude, but we needed blinders on for a long time, I suppose. That's what Beve said, when we talked about it one day. We lived side-by-side lives for as long as necessary--for as long as God intended--until the time was right. And then God brought us together. That's the amazing grace of it all.
Now click this link to check out other journal entries in the party, and to read about the amazing journal-keeper, Kel Rohlf.