Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Pearl of Great Worth

O my soul, bless God.
From head to toe, I'll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
don't forget a single blessing!

Bless God, all you armies of angels,
alert to respond to whatever he wills.
Bless God, all creatures, wherever you are--
everything and everyone made by God.

And you, O my soul, bless God!

Psalm 103, selected verses.

All those who know what has been going on in my life know that one of my long time prayers was answered recently. For all of my adult life I have prayed that God would allow me to meet a man that I could love and care for who would love and care for me. I always made the payer a sentence because it didn't warrant elaborate begging, I knew that God understood my request because he, “knit me in my mother's womb,” there is nothing about me that he doesn't know. Many have been the times that I have poured out my heart to Him in the darkness, always keeping my prayer simple, it didn't require any more.

About seven weeks ago I met a man in church, his name, Bob. Bob asked me on the church sidewalk if I would like to have dinner with him sometime soon, and before the words could drift from his mouth to my ears I said, “Yes!” During that week we had dinner and as we talked and listened and started to know one another I felt that this man was different. When dinner was over he walked me to my car and we talked more, we hugged and parted company. I got in the car and when I pulled onto the highway I looked to the sunset and said, “Lord, this is the one, isn't it?”

Over the next several weeks I began to feel the peace that comes with a prayer answered, a favor granted. I knew that God had put Bob in my life, there was no question about it in my mind. Bob and I agreed that we would take things slow, he told me that he had rushed into other situations and that he didn't want to repeat the mistakes of his past. I told him that being new to all of this that I didn't want to mess things up by being in a hurry and suggested that together we simply enjoy the journey. That's what we did.

After having met Bob my birthday came along and at 9:30 on the morning of my birthday he called to wish me a happy birthday and we talked about the plans of our separate days. His was the first voice I heard that day. A few weeks ago at 6:30 in the morning my phone rang, there is a descending order for me of what that means, I always fear calamity first, family ill, secondly I think, who can't make it to work? When I answered the phone, the voice on the other end was Bob's as he said, “Good morning, Sunshine.” My heart melted a little, he called to say good morning and he did so each morning after. Before bed we talked to one another and said good night and wished each other good sleep. Each time, after hanging up I would simply say, “Lord, you have sent me the one, I can tell.”

With Bob I got to do a few things that I have never done before, I got to hold hands in the movies. Silly isn't it? A teenage thing, but a thing that I missed as a teenager. On this past Sunday we stood together in church and shared a hymnal, his arm around me, not an experience I had ever had before. I was seeing that we were recognizing that we loved one another.

On Wednesday, September 17th I received my first e mail from him, telling me again that he didn't want to rush our relationship, that he hoped that I wasn't frustrated. Me? Frustrated? NO! It was all happening at a pace that to me showed that our relationship was moving toward true and honest love. “Lord, he is the one, thank you for sending him to me.”

That evening I called to tell him good night, his daughter answered the phone and I asked to speak to him, she told me that he had died that afternoon, having suffered a heart attack. Bob was gone, slipped through my fingers like sand, he was gone from my world and the world of his family, his church, his other friends, but selfishly I thought, he's gone from my life, from my hopes and dreams, GONE, damn it, why did it have to happen this way? And then I remembered, don't ask why.

Never in my life have I loved a man as much as I have loved Bob, there had not been one before, so the experience was all new to me. He had taken me the Sunday before to meet his sister and brother in law and his grandniece. Driving home in wind and mist I knew that he was tired and needed to kick back for a while. When he dropped me off at my apartment I said, “Well, I expect that I'll be the topic of conversation over meat loaf and mashed potatoes tonight, I hope I pass the test.” Bob's response to me was, “you have already passed the hardest test of all, you make me happy.”A tear came to my eye and I told him that I have never been happier in my life. A statement that I could make with every confidence.

The time that has followed has been an interesting one, I have received e mails, and now calls from people telling me how sorry they are, people from All Saints, the church we shared, people from the church that I had recently left. Family and friends all sharing their care and concern. I have been surrounded by people who have shown their love in such amazing ways. Fr. Steve and Jerry, quick to care for me, Kathy S, who when she received the news told Fr. Steve that the two of them should come and tell me in person, though I called Fr. Steve before they had the chance. Over the phone I felt his shepherds crook around me, drawing me even closer into the fold, then the next day, not his staff, but his arms. There has been a visit from some friends from my former church, men who understood the experience of first love and living in good solid relationships now.

I am truly blessed to have received calls from friends who have simply said, “tell me about it.” Opening their hearts to hear the story, through tears and with the sounds that a broken heart makes, rattling in my chest and voice.

I have repeated two things several times, they have given me comfort, the first: I have said that I was looking for the pearl of great worth and when I found it I was allowed to hold it, feel it's luster and allowed to look into the sheen of it and see that there was a sparkle in it, but pearls don't sparkle, that sparkle came from my eyes. Now, the pearl of great worth is gone, I see now that because it was so precious and so treasured I was only allowed to hold it for a moment, our relationship only lasted about seven weeks. Still, the loss has felt like the loss of a lifetime love.

The second thing that I have said is this: I was having the feelings that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Bob, now I see that he spent the rest of his life with me.