Sunday, February 5, 2012

Here Begins A New Life

In that book which is
My memory...
On the first page
That is the chapter when
I first met you
Appear the words...
Here begins a new life.

La Vita Nuova by Dante Alighieri

I first met John, or the promise of him, when I was in the seventh grade. I was living in Virginia and he in New York. We had never set eyes on one another. It was Christmas Eve and I was adding a few last gifts under the tree. There was an ornament that spun around when hung over a tree light and it caught my eye. As I watched it a voice from my prayer life came. A voice I have been hearing since childhood. "You will marry an artist." Like Mary, I hid it in my heart and moved on.

Six years and 290 miles later a full blooded Sicilian-Italian walked up to this Irish girl at the university in Ohio and asked me to dance. He was there pursuing a music degree and was first chair clarinet in the orchestra. I had not been praying for a musician. No woman in her right mind would. I had been praying for a friend. That is what I found that long ago night. I had a sense of recognition and I knew this was special. I felt places in me that were frozen begin to thaw. Tight buds opening. Hard edges softening.

That winter evening changed my life. A new and different life began for me that Thursday, February 5th, in 1970 at 8:00 PM EST, when I looked into blue-green eyes and said, "Yes." John led me to the dance floor and into deep water.

We were engaged on Christmas Eve 1972 and married February 10, 1973. John and I courted for three years and still married as strangers.

In truth, the both of us came with so much baggage Fed-EX should have been chartered to drive us from the church instead of a limo. We had romance and "stuff." We loved eachother deeply but sometimes we wounded eachother. We had passive aggression and self protection, the silent treatment and offenses that claimed immortality as well as everyday differences.

I was a nurse-germaphobe and he gave the parakeet a bath in my best pasta pan. I put his elegant European sweaters in the dryer and he washed my white nursing uniforms with his burgundy socks. I was a public speaker and he would rather play for a thousand people than return a purchase. I asked for pearls our first Christmas. He bought me tools. I spent. He saved. Who were these people who thought they were us?

They were the lovers from a Thursday dance who somehow kept dancing through it all. They were lovers who took scripture at its word and who bent a knee rather than break a covenant. We sometimes had the worst moments but somehow chose the better. We did our married work and Christ did His. The choice was always there and we kept choosing love and giving grace. We still do.

We learned over the 39 years of our married life that just as our first fated meeting was the beginning of a new life for us, so was each conflict, argument and problem that followed. We had a choice. New life or old. A new beginning or...what?

When I would carve my anger on the soft, unguarded surface of John's heart and he would forgive me anyway, "Here begins a new life." When he would breech my defenses and wound me and I would allow God to step in, "Here begins a new life." Every day, new life. Every year, new life. Every challenge, new life. Life! It made us perfect for eachother.

That new life was the making of our now old love. Love that is graceful, easily entreated and trustworthy. Love that is kind. Love that has been there and back and will see Eternity complete. Love that has come full circle and has transformed two people, who could hardly have grasp what it was they promised to each other 39 years ago, into us. Two who found love's deep and forever places.

We are a Christ-matched pair of lovers who will one day step through a single, carved, translucent, pearl gate. I like to think the carving above that gate will proclaim in every tongue what our own souls will have embraced throughout a lifetime together, "Here begins a new life."

You've captured my heart, dear friend. You looked at me, and I fell in love. Song of Solomon Chapter 4 (MSG)

Happy Anniversary, Sweet Husband. You remain the Darling of My Soul. We got to have love and history.-Kathy


  1. Now that's a REAL romance story. :) -K

  2. So much to love here. One line after another.

    The Fed-Ex truck. The parakeet in the pasta pan. the sweaters and socks.

    I so enjoyed your contribution to the High Calling's "I Do" project. And I am eager to others in the community to read it as well. Well done!

  3. Just so you all know, I didn't cook the parakeet or the bird bather.- Kat

  4. Ooh, I just loved this. I know about carving on soft hearts, but I also know about the grace of Jesus. I'm bookmarking this one to remind me when I forget.