Our Love Story //Part 2

A continuation of our love story  //Read part 1 HERE

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Some of you have my reading my blog since the beginning, since my first posts about doing the dishes and “learning to see.” Some of you are visiting for the first time. Others joined when I changed the blog’s name to {Re}visionary Life. But most of you probably don’t know why I did. I’ve always meant to tell you, but I’ve never gotten around to it. The second and third parts to our love story is where the blog’s name comes from really, because it’s then that my life, and all my plans, began to change.

Since I was 5 years old, I had the constant, never changing ambition to be a missionary, someone who would go overseas by herself and live in a thatched roof hut, helping those in need and telling them about Jesus. In high school this dream was joined with the idea of a medical career, and I thought I was set. I would go to college, get into medical school, and use my skills as an overseas physician. There was only one problem. I had no clue what I was doing. Hence my hiring Daniel as my chemistry tutor.

With his help, I got a B that semester, just barely. It was that semester that I began to look in to alternative career paths. I don’t remember how, but I settled on pursuing a Physician’s Assistant degree. Shortly after my decision, Daniel and I became official, and, though different from my original intentions of single missionary life, being with him seemed like the perfect plan. He was going to medical school. I’d complete the 2-year PA program, start working to pay off our school debts, and eventually work as his personal Physician’s Assistant while we served overseas.

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Our first date was an opera performance at school. He wore a suit and tie. I did my best to emulate the stylish girls at school and put my hair in a curly updo with a gold ribbon threaded through my hair. At the end of the evening, I had 2 dozen orange and yellow roses and a beautiful journal in my hand and butterflies in my stomach.

That journal. I knew just what to do with it. I had kept a journal since I was 10, the details of which I may never publicly release, though I’m sure my readership would spike due to the hilarity of its contents. But since I was 14, I had kept a special kind of journal, a collection of love letters written to the man I would one day marry but hadn’t yet met. The letters were interspersed in between accounts of my favorite colors and high school dramatics in journals with puffy covers and Thomas Kinkade artwork. I had absolutely no intention of presenting such ardent affection encased in puffy cottage scenes. So I began to compile each letter in the journal Daniel had given me that night, on our very first date; an act of faith or foolishness, I’m still not sure which, but I was almost certain we would always be together, and that the journal would one day be given to him. 

Daniel was my very first boyfriend, and I was eager to show him how much I cared for him. It had been a life long dream to give my lover the “key” to my heart, and as soon as Dad gave the green light, I went out in search of an antique key to give him for Christmas, just a month after we started dating. After much searching, I found a tarnished, sturdy, palm-sized key that made my heart sing. I fashioned a box wrapped in antique fabric and laid it inside. To make things even more dramatically romantic, I penned a letter explaining the key on some papyrus paper and sealed the calligraphy letters with pressed wax. I was practically bursting with pride over my gift and filled with love-sick nerves at what he would think of it.

Christmas day came, and Daniel arrived at our house after dark. After he opened my parents’ gift of a red journal, I stole him away to a room where I could give him my gift in private. My hands shook a little as I gave him the letter. The words were as transparent and open as I had ever written, and handing them over scared me to death. Smiling he took it, broke the seal, and began to read. I watched his face carefully for any signs of rejection, almost expecting to find it, and halfway through, his countenance fell, and my heart sank. His eyes began to tear up, and he fidgeted in his seat. Slowly he took the lid off the box and passed the key through his fingers without a word, without so much as looking at me. I was suffocating with dread and felt sick to my stomach when his tears began to fall and his eyes met mine. He slowly, very carefully, and gently explained that he couldn’t receive my gift and that he couldn’t be the keeper of such a treasure until he would propose to me, if ever. It pained him to say it and to hand the key back over to my possession, and I could not find anything to say in response. I was simply horrified that I had given it prematurely. My siblings weren’t far off, eavesdropping through the door and even cracking it open for a peek. When they caught sight of that sad scene, they ran from the room informing the whole household that Daniel was crying, “a lot.” 

Once the hurt and fear subsided, after much banging of harsh notes on my piano, I realized he had done exactly what I had asked him to, protect and guard my heart to the best of his ability, and with that understanding, the deepest sense of gratitude and love filled my heart. He would later hire my younger sister to sneak the key out of my room so that he could fashion it into a necklace and give it to me for my birthday several months later.

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The next few months flew by and soon it was time for me to go away and work on staff at a Christian camp for the summer. The key necklace came with me, as well as that tugging on my heart that always reminded me of Daniel’s absence.

We had our doubts and fears over the summer, taking a break for a month to re-evaluate and pray. But it wasn’t until the last week of camp that fear really exploded in my heart. It was a foreboding kind, the kind that is hard to understand and even harder to dismiss. I came home to find my affection not as easily offered and my heart’s doors locked and cold. I couldn’t quite explain it, but I knew a storm was coming, and I was pre-emptively rallying my resolve to withstand it.

He met me in a parking lot after my 2-day drive home with flowers and a book, but nothing was more lovely and more surprising than the gift he gave me once we got back to my house, a framed poem, written in calligraphy, that he had composed for me himself.

My heart tried to feel and wrestled to receive the words of love and beauty that I read, but it would not be roused. And within a week, I knew why. The storm came. After a series of events, my parents voiced their concerns about our relationship that were widespread and numerous, details too private to share here. But in the end they decided they wanted us to split up, asking that we not so much as talk to each other for an entire year.

And suddenly all my dreams and plans were undone, uncertain, re-written, and entirely outside of my control.

Comments

  1. i always enjoy hearing people’s, “stories.” thanks for sharing! excited for the next installment 🙂

  2. Dusty says:

    again, this is so incredibly written. i can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to have been given your gift back and how much MORE difficult it must have been to have to give it back. what a wise man you have.

    I seriously can’t wait to read part three. what a cliff-hanger.

    • Susanna says:

      Thank you! I really need to get on finishing up part 3 after having left off so sharply 😉 Thank you for reading!

  3. […] Love Story” continued. If you like, you can read Part 1 and Part 2 […]

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