I was gone more than I expected to be last week, so I didn’t get a post up. Can’t really say that I’m sorry, though. I got to go visit my friend Steph, which was lots of fun. Then I spent Saturday making sure Carey got to her CBEST test. After the test was over, we went snooping all over the place. We had lunch at The Pink House in Independence. I can’t say I really liked the place. The food was decent (I had a nice, fresh salad), the service was less than fabulous, and the price was too high considering 1 and 2. It wasn’t terrible, but I would not be excited about going there again. Once we finished lunch, we found a used bookstore called Secondhand Books. We definitely had a good time in there. I found an old copy of a Doctor Dolittle book! Anyways, all the being gone was good, but it meant not much writing. I suppose I should plow back into my story!

There I was, in awe over the amazing love of God. I’d been so cynical about it, chalking it up as a fairy tale or a deal simply too good to be true. I’d strongly resisted accepting that “fantasy” as truth, which made the experience of acceptance all the more disarming. I was undone, and I have to say that “in awe” seems inadequate to explain how I reacted. Goodness, there’s only five letters in those two, little words to express my relief and excitement and joy and gratitude and sudden urge to drop to my knees in worship of this God Who loved me first. The biggest problem with dropping to my knees was that I couldn’t jump up and down. It was astounding. I was so happy, and I had lots of fun telling people about it. In fact, I’m having a lot of fun writing about it now. It’s been well over a decade, and I still feel a giddy rush from this memory.

You would think that, having fallen in love and accepted a rescue, and that having experienced the fantastic true love of God, this fairy tale of mine would progress to the age old line, “and she lived happily ever after.” It’s a good line, is it not? It’s how Bilbo wanted to end the story of his adventures, happily ever after. If I were writing my story, I’d like to end on such a happy, reunited note, because it seems like my story had reached a pinnacle there. It was really, really good.

But I’m not the Author, so my story progressed. It went on. I found out that love changed everything, but it changed nothing. It’s a riddle, love is. Just because I’d learned that love will love without its beloved (in this case, me!) being required to care doesn’t mean that I knew much of anything about love. That lesson changed everything but nothing. I didn’t wake up the next morning magically made by the power of love into a perfect person with a perfect life. I still had to work. I still had a family in shards. I still had a huge amount of personal brokenness. In the middle of my messy and difficult life, here comes love, and instead of a fluffy, soft “happily ever after,” it made my life harder.

Yes, harder. Sit with that for a moment. I’m saying that love made my life more difficult. Is that really the way it’s supposed to work? It doesn’t sound like a very good fairy tale or very happily ever after, but that is how it’s worked for me. Harder, because love changes everything, even though it changes nothing. Harder, because love opened a whole, new vista of challenge. I was loved. It was amazing, and it was an experience I wanted to share and to offer, but I did not know how to love other people. In fact, a lot of my life experience had taught me far more about the dark side of the Force, hate and fear. Harder, because hate and fear do not get along very well with love, and my soul got to live in the middle of their war. Love is not ponies and butterflies and rainbows all the time. Love did not instantly make my life easier.

In many ways, after my initial euphoria, love disappointed me. My disappointment was not good (matter of fact, it was dead wrong), but I did feel it, and it did motivate me. I think, though, I’ll leave that can of worms for my next post.