(photo via Lumberg the Loquacious Llama)
I've been feeling pretty retrospective lately. It started when I began preparing for a talk I gave at DNow a few weeks ago. The theme of DNow? Love. So, of course, I started thinking back over all the relationships in my life and the boys that I loved in the past. And then, while visiting my parents last weekend, I stumbled across a box in the top of my closet that held mementos of most of my old relationships. There were crumpled notes in that box from the fourth grade! That's a long time ago, y'all!
Anyway, I stayed up entirely too late reading all those notes, and my mom and I got quite a few giggles over some of them, because, let's admit it, seventh grade love is just plain awkward. But then there were other letters and notes and poems that weren't funny at all. They were serious, and by the time I finished reading all of them, I was more than a little sad.
I was sad because I had forgotten how much they loved me and I loved them. My last memories of my relationships with those boys are generally not pretty. That's how breakups go. When it comes down to it, it's a lot easier to remember the pain of parting than it is to remember the goodness of what once was. I think it has to be that way. If we spent all our time remembering how good things used to be then we would never be able to move on.
Reading through all that old stuff made me even more thankful for the man I'm married to today. I love him more deeply and more fully than anyone in my past, and I am so grateful that none of those other relationships worked out. We are a well-matched pair, and God has truly blessed us with one another.
I don't wonder what might've been, and I don't wish that things had turned out differently. God used every single bit of my past to shape me into the person I am today. There's a line from He's Always Been Faithful by Sara Groves that's been running through my head as all of this has been on my mind: "I can't remember a trial or a pain he did not recycle to bring me gain." And that's the truth. God has taken both the good and the bad in my past and transformed it into peace in my present. Even when I have made mistakes and messed up, God has always been faithful.
And I am most grateful for that.
When I returned home Sunday afternoon, I pulled down another box from the top of the closet I share with Dennis, and I reread all the bits and pieces of our love story. There were post-it notes that he had hidden all over my house in Waco and a stack of handwritten letters that I received the old-fashioned way. There were birthday cards, e-mails, Valentines, and notes. And the best thing about that box? I'm still adding to it.
Until next time, grace and peace.