I’m sensible enough to know that love felt by a young, teenage heart is not of a comparable nature to that felt by more mature individuals. Since I fell in love with my husband when I was just 18, such a notion seems to instantly disqualify me from having had any other meaningful relationships. And yet, I know I did experience love prior to meeting my one true love. Twice, I think.
I loved a boy named Paul. We met at a summer church camp, then continued a long distance relationship on and off for the next two years… He was adorable, and inspired all kinds of ridiculous poetic nonsense in my journals. He was on a mission in Korea when Josh and I met and married. Jordan was born before he returned home. (Cruel, I know. But really, we were just friends by then. He’d pretty much decided his mission was more important than me, and rightly so, though I certainly didn’t feel that way at the time.) I will always be grateful to Paul though… he taught me a great deal about how my heart works, and taught me the value of dating honorable, standard sharing young men.
The other was a different sort of love – one that encapsulated much of my high school experience. He was my first boyfriend in the sixth grade, and then one of my very closest friends through all of high school. He was a constant… an ever loving, never judging, force of happiness that literally lit up even the dreariest of circumstances. It’s only in hindsight that I realize how much our relationship really meant. Our friendship had its ups and downs – I’m not sure I was always as kind as I could have been – fickle and inconsiderate as teenagers often are. But we endured. And we’re still friends.
Alright. Maybe there was one more. An adorable little catholic boy who looked a lot like a young Robert Redford. I wonder if he still does? (Note to self: Check Facebook for Robert Redford look alike photos) While it might only qualify as puppy love, I can’t deny my heart felt something noteworthy, at least for the point of this post.
Yes, I DO have a point, lest you think I simply felt like taking a stroll down memory lane. I think God has a way of preparing us, conditioning us for the experiences that we haven’t yet faced. Matters of the heart are no exception. I’m not sure I would have been the same person, prepared and ready for the hasty love story that became my marriage had my heart not yet discovered even an iota of what love really was. I know of many a marriage that generated from the very first spark of love ever felt by either party – first kisses bestowed upon the only lips one will ever kiss again. One can’t deny that such a love is romantic in its own right.
But sometimes, as Carol Lynn Pearson, one of my favorite poets, puts it, good ground needs a bit of preparing before it’s ready for planting.