Thursday, February 14, 2008

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways?

It was eight years ago today that I received an email that changed my life.
It was a response to an ad I had placed on Yahoo Personals.
The ad was done on a lark.
A friend of mine had asked me to write an ad for her, and as a way to ‘test the waters’ and join her in her adventure, I placed an ad for myself as well.
I never expected to meet the love of my life.
But I did.

I was resistant at first.
She lived 95 miles away in another state.
I had just gotten out of a short, but intense relationship with another respondent to my ad that had drained both my energy and my level of hope, and I wasn’t sure that I was ready to try again so soon.

We exchanged emails at first but in my uncertainty I didn’t respond as quickly as I should. My guard was up.
But she was persistent.

I had just gotten home from work one evening and I was lacing up my running shoes getting ready to go out for a run when I noticed an instant message had popped up on my computer.
It took me a minute to deduce that the sender was my ad respondent and immediately my head began to spin with conflicting emotions.
I’m not ready.
I should let this drop.
I can’t do this again.

I moved the mouse curser over the small x in the corner of the IM box.
With one click it would be over.
I let the curser hover there for an instant,
and then something inside of me said ‘No’
Don’t throw this away.
Take a chance.
Walk through the door that has opened in front of you.

So I did.
IM’s and emails progressed to phone calls, and six weeks later, after she returned from a long planned trip to Scotland, we finally met.

She arrived at my house earlier than expected.
I had just arrived home after working a 72-hour week and was upstairs in a vacuuming, cleaning frenzy when she rang the doorbell.
I didn’t hear it.
For 10 minutes she continued to knock with a rising fear that I was not home, or worse, I had changed my mind and was refusing to answer the door.
As if.
Finally I glanced out the window and saw her car parked out front and in a frantic panic I ran to my upstairs bedroom to change.
Looking completely disheveled in my carefully picked ‘first date outfit’ I flung open the door at the top of the stairs just as she was poking her head in the front door below.
The initial look of fear and uncertainty on her face soon changed to a broad smile and warm and inviting eyes.

My heart leapt out of my chest the first time I saw her.
And it still leaps every morning when I wake up next to her, every evening when we see each other after work, and every day that I get to spend in her presence.
Eight years on and she still makes me feel just as giddy and warm and fuzzy inside as she did when we first met.
She is my rock.
She is my anchor.
She is the love of my life.

There was a time when I thought this kind of love was impossible to find.
Relationships were hard.
Relationships were work.
Relationships were painful.
Relationships usually involved one person wanting/needing more than the other.
Now I know that this isn’t true.
There is love out there for us to find, we just need to look in the right place,
And with the right intention.

And we need to recognize it and be open to it when it comes along.

Twice I left the love of my life waiting on my doorstep.
And both times she took a chance and poked her head in anyway.

And on this Valentines Day, I feel blessed with the opportunity that God has given me to open myself up to love each and every day.

The next time you hear a knock on the door, answer it.
You never know what you’ll find waiting for you on the other side.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

1 comment:

eileen said...

Many blessing on you both. It's wonderful when we listen to that voice inside us, and allow God to help us get it right!