What does a real love story look like? Is it patient and kind, always protecting, trusting, hoping, and persevering? The answer isn’t written in only black and white but in many shades of grays, overlapping and swirling into images our mind makes into a meaningful story.
A real love story is a bit like a fireworks display lighting up a dark summer night.
Let me tell you a story…
Once upon a time, a boy met a girl. His smile was warm and lit up his eyes. Hers was big and hovered on the edge of laughter. He was quiet and still; she was loud and flitted about like a dragonfly. They were ying and yang. They were opposites and yet there was a spark. A tiny ember of interest that made both give the other a second look.
But there were so many differences, so many other distractions.
And yet, in a quiet moment, a kiss was shared. And then two smiles warmed two hearts.
Long talks and late nights allowed two strangers to begin the building of a friendship with more than just a bit of chemistry and intrigue.
He made her feel funny and smart and beautiful.
She made him feel happy and creative and alive.
But there were so many distractions and obstacles. So one day the young man had to choose. And he chose someone else.
Standing in the doorway, she turned back and said, “There were so many things I wanted to show you…” and she left.
And he came back with beach sand between his toes and another girl’s hand held in his.
And time passed along with professors’ assignments and college football games and slices of cold pizza. And both found their way to sharing each other’s good days and bad. They became real friends.
So when the girlfriend left, she tried to help him find other girls to date. And he helped her write love notes to other boys.
But the memory of a kiss still lingered in both their memories.
And he had to wonder, “just what was she hoping to show me?”
And she had to wonder, “what if he weren’t my just my friend?”
But everyone said they weren’t right for each other, that one would break the other’s heart, that they were better off as just friends. And so, as friends, they discussed politics and art, music and books. They shared favorite movies and foods and moments. And yet, during quiet moments, each thought about what would happen if they shared just one more kiss.
The crazy thing about questions that come in the middle of the night is that they usually travel with their answers, even if the answers are hard to understand. So sometimes it seemed like these two unlikely almost-lovers should part ways and forget about the “what-ifs”. And other times it seemed so obvious…the answer to the question.
The next day, the clouds hanging low with the possibility of snow, the boy stopped the girl, took her hand and said, “I pick yes.”
It has been twenty-one years since they shared a look from across a room. Twenty-one years since each chose to stop looking toward what might be and see instead what is before them. Twenty-one years of celebrating the wonder of that which is another.
It is a story of choice, but a choice that protects, trusts and respects another one first. Real abiding love is about choices.
A real love story is persevering through the times of waiting. Of finding just as much joy in the quiet brightness of a Fourth of July sparkler as in the loud spectacle of the holiday’s greatest pyrotechnical shows lighting up the summer night. It is a celebration of the light and the dark and the blending of each into something beautiful.
So celebrate. Celebrate all the love stories of your world. Celebrate the quiet moments and the loud excitement. Celebrate.