It all began twenty years ago today- well, it probably began about 8-9 months before that, but officially (as official as it could be when I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone), it began on this day.
You and I had been writing letters back and forth for a couple weeks. Long ones. You were encouraging me and uplifting me in a way no other person ever had in my sixteen and a half years ever had. You were praying for me, pointing me toward Scripture, and already attempting to counter the lies of others with the truth.
You had, if we are honest, facilitated the biggest -and only- true romantic heartbreak of my life just a few weeks before. At the time I kinda wondered why the heck it was your business and why it was so important to you that he TELL me to my face he didn’t like me “like that”, but you seemed confident that it was, soooo… I guessed it was. Eventually it became clearer that you needed me to have my blinders off because there was someone who did like me “like that,” and more.
So, it was Sunday morning, and it was your turn to give me a letter. You’d called me Friday night, and said something about how the letter was hard to write, and something about overturning apple carts, and I was nervous. All I could imagine was that you had some big problem with me to, in Christian brotherhood, bring to my attention. There was Sunday School, there was church, and I was *so* tense. Finally, right before my dad called me to the car, you put this thick chunk of paper in my hand, and said “let me know what you think.”
When I got home, I went to my room to change, and immediately started reading. When I got to that part at the top of the second page, my heart started pounding and I threw the letter down. Those four words:
“Because I love you.”
I was shocked, confused, shaken up. Surely you couldn’t mean what I thought you meant. You had just seen me go through that terrible heartbreak, you knew I was tender and still broken and vulnerable. Certainly you wouldn’t use those words in a way that confused me. Maybe you meant you loved me like a brother, like a fellow Christian. That had to be it, because you were far too good for me. Breathe, Maegan, because he doesn’t mean what you think he means. But…what if he does?
I read on, and it became clear that you did mean exactly what I’d thought. You loved me, and not only that, you were in love with me. How??? The rest of that day was kind of a blur. I was definitely walking around with my head in the clouds. Late in the afternoon, I was folding laundry in my parents’ room, when the phone rang. My dad gruffly handed me the phone, and my heart started racing. You said hi, and I remember thinking that you maybe sounded a little nervous. You asked if I read your letter, and what I thought. I remember having to phrase my answers very carefully, because my dad was sitting right there! I think I said “I definitely agree with you…” and you were not satisfied with that, but I somehow communicated that I wasn’t alone, and you got it. You wanted me to come to prayer meeting, mostly so you could see me (swoon), and even offered to come get me. My dad said no, because my mom was in FL and he wanted my help with the kids and cleaning up. You were frustrated and disappointed, but not much could be done.
A year later was our first “one on one” date, and the only one we had until after I graduated high school. You surprised me, and took me out to dinner, and used your brand new credit card for the first time.
The next year, you surprised me on a ladder at sunrise with a beautiful ring and a proposal. Pretty hard to top that date-iversary!
We’ve celebrated this date every year, and every year I re-read all your letters and feel thankful for our beginning, but even more thankful for all that has come since. We have laughed so much, loved so much, cried so many tears, fought so hard, held so tightly, and prayed so fervently, and all of it has been unbelievable. I love you a thousand bajillion super bazooka times more than I ever realized possible twenty years ago today, and I know the best is ahead of us.
Your face is my heart,
and the love of you, my soul.
-Jamie Fraser, Outlander