I left my month in Ohio behind me as I walked onto the plane and found my seat. I spent the next five hours thinking about the time Dave and I had spent together, the way he had treated me, and the incredibly stupid way I had ended things. He had handled my heart wisely, following my instructions not to come to the airport, and allowing me to experience the consequences of the choice I had made.
By the time my plane landed in Spokane, I knew I had made a terrible mistake. My certainty of that mistake overrode any doubts in my mind. I walked off of the plane, found the nearest pay phone, and emptied every bit of change I had into it. I called his house and when his mom answered the phone, I asked to speak to Dave. As soon as I heard his voice say hello, the words began to spill out of me. . .
“I’m so sorry, Dave. I was wrong. You were right. We are perfect for each other. Please forgive me for not seeing that. What do we do now?”
And then he told me everything would be OK. We would work it all out, because we loved each other. He told me that if this was as real as we thought it was, 2000 miles wouldn’t be able to keep us apart.
But our 2000 miles of distance came before the internet and cell phones. We couldn’t text each other or Skype. We only could afford the long-distance charges to talk on the phone about once a week. We wrote letters to each other almost weekly. I began my job at Upper Columbia Academy and he started his Sophomore year at Penn State. As busy as we both were, we made our relationship a priority. Now I know that the distance allowed us to do something we might not have done as well if we were face-to-face, day after day. We talked. We talked about everything. Because our dating time was mostly spent apart, we didn’t have to deal with making good decisions about our physical relationship. We spent a lot of time getting to know everything about each other, taking the friendship we had developed as children and growing it into an amazing friendship as adults. There was no doubt he was my very best friend.
After several weeks of phone calls and letters (and a few rough patches that we found our way through--mostly due to his grace and kindness), it was decided that I would return for a visit over Christmas break. Anxious doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt as I boarded that plane! We were supposed to spend about two weeks together. What if the feelings we’d experience during the summer had evaporated? What if having me staying at his house revealed to Dave a side of me that he just couldn’t stand? What if he met me at the airport and knew right away that the “magic” was gone?
I needn’t have worried. Things were perfect from “Hello”. He hugged me, he kissed me; he took my luggage and guided me to the car. As we began the drive to his house, I told him about my fears. He turned to me and smiled and told me he’d had all the same concerns. We both laughed at the relief of knowing we had both been worried about nothing!
That Christmas vacation was the best Christmas of my life. We spent every minute together that we possibly could. We were so happy to be in the same place that we didn’t waste any time disagreeing, and this time I didn’t let any doubts fill my heart. I loved this man and he loved me! I couldn’t believe how good and happy my life was. I was pretty sure God had led me to my soul-mate.
On December 23rd, we were up very late when our most important conversation occurred. As we discussed college and our plans for our lives, I looked at Dave and asked him when he saw himself making the decision to get married. His response was immediate but nonchalant, “Probably when I’m about 25, or so, I guess.”
My response was just as immediate, but dead serious, “Well, I don’t know who you are planning on marrying, but it sure isn’t me! I’m not waiting that long!”
I don’t think that was what he expected me to say. But, this super-calm guy of mine just looked at me and smiled and asked me what I had in mind. After a few minutes of serious conversation, I just had to ask, “Does this mean we are engaged?” To which he replied that we were—but that reply might not have been entirely verbal! The next day we were shopping for engagement rings, and Christmas Day we broke the news to everyone in his family and mine.
They weren’t surprised at all.
But, I was. I was surprised that, knowing everything he knew about me, he still wanted to spend his life with me. He wasn’t worried at all. I still had many moments of doubt about whether I deserved Dave’s love. But every time I expressed my fears that I wasn’t good enough for him, he wiped them away with a kiss and a declaration that I was just the girl he’d been waiting for. It took time, but he erased the song of doubt in my heart.
And one day it really hit me—I’d found my soul’s mate and the love of my life and I almost lost him because I didn’t think I was good enough for him.
That’s the song Dave began to teach me. . .that love doesn’t ask you to be good enough for each other. . .the choice to love unconditionally makes you perfect for each other.