“If you love something, set it free. If it returns, it was meant to be yours forever.”
I’m not sure who penned that famous quote. I love it though, because in my life, it’s proven to be a true statement. I had a dinner date with young man on Valentine’s Day in 1985, when I was just 14 years old. He was 17. What the hell were my parents thinking, letting me go on a date when I was just a baby!? Anyway, after that date, that boy and I were inseparable. We were side-by-side all through high school. For the next four years after that date at Lone Star Cafe, in Austin, Texas, we were best friends.
We laughed, lived and deeply loved. While listening to Van Halen on the highest possible volume, we cruised the streets of Austin in his Z-28, with the “t-tops” off, of course! Because we shared the same friends, we created amazing memories. We still do life with many of those same friends today. But, like many high school romances, ours sadly, come to an end.
We both had hopes and dreams. He was from Southern California and was hoping to get back to the west coast. I was born and raised, deep in the heart of Texas and had absolutely no intention on leaving. At the end of my senior year, we decided to take a break…the break turned into twenty-five years apart. No calls or communication took place. An occasional sighting at class reunions over the years, but no emails. No letters.
Years later, we came back full circle. This time we were both a little heavier, had the signs of crows feet on the edges of our eyes, and some gray wisdom upon our heads (although I paid good money to cover mine). Unlike years ago when we were teenagers, my bleach blonde hair was now dark brown and his legs didn’t work anymore. He was sitting, paralyzed in a wheelchair. Funny, when I saw him, I didn’t see his chair, I saw the face of the teenage boy whom I had fallen in love with so many years ago.
As our paths crossed this time around, we decided to meet. With great anticipation, we met not at a Texas cafe, but at the “table of life.” The table of life, is that place where you meet once you’ve grown up a little, matured and had some life experiences. It’s the place where everyone is real, transparent and strives to cut the crap and be honest. Both of us willingly met at the table for two. We brought with us lots to share with each other… failed marriages, some successes, our past regrets, great accomplishments and our true prizes in life- our children. We laughed and cried, reminisced, and retold hysterical stories from our years together. At the end of that evening, we looked at each other and thought, “where is this going?”
That was three years ago. Today we live on the west coast. I married my true love 16 months ago. Since Chance, my high school sweetheart is paralyzed, we sat knee to knee, reciting our vows, with the ocean behind us. On our wedding announcement we had an important statement printed at the top of the card. It read, “THERE REALLY IS A HAPPILY EVER AFTER!” It’s true. There really is.
Life throws a lot of curve balls at us. Life is filled with some pain, disappointments, unfulfilled dreams and unmet expectations. It’s not always what we hope. But then when you least expect it, God leads you back around to the table of life. While there, he reveals your destiny.
If you choose to let go of the past, release those old, disappointing experiences and be willing to become a little vulnerable… (okay a lot), then something may happen….
You might come face to face with
your “happily ever after.” When you do, stay there for a while. Enjoy the moment. Soak it in. Just smile, laugh, live and deeply love.
You won’t regret it.