I’m still not sure why she said yes.
Thirty-four years ago this month a beautiful young college student, sitting three rows behind me in a history class, agreed to go to lunch.
Two days later we found ourselves in a small deli looking over club sandwiches our nerves wouldn’t allow us to eat.
Love is funny like that. Neither of us was looking for Cupid’s stealthy participation – actually quite the opposite. Newly minted into the adult world, we were looking forward to years of independent self-discovery and adventure. Those plans, however, did not include getting pricked by an arrow.
“The elevator kiss.”
Ask when we first realized we were no longer on an ordinary date you’ll get these three words.
The literary world is great at romanticizing the act of falling in love. First sight, first touch, first words.
To us, two young kids looking into an unknown future, it all came down to a stolen moment in a moving glass elevator.
I’m not sure why I kissed her other than I was too nervous to know better. The kiss only lasted a moment but lasted a lifetime. I knew right then and there my future arrived. And if you ask my wife, she’ll say the same.
Love is a mischievous and elusive enigma. Unlike most things in life – a job, a house, or a new car – you cannot go looking for love. Rather, love needs to find you.
But love is also only the foundation of a life together. As temperamental and paradoxical as love can be, the embers can be extinguished as quickly as they arrived if unattended. A long-term relationship is going to take the courage of fully giving of oneself to another. In other words, the giving of unmitigated trust.
My wife and I tell our kids it took a long time to get where we are today. There were periods of time where we wondered if love was enough to get us through some very difficult times. But we hung on, continuing to invest in each other.
Today I am married to my very best friend, mother of our two wonderful children, and someone who still fills me with butterflies at the end of the day.
But the reality is we are each a long way from the couple staring over club sandwiches in a small deli after class. Each with separate dreams for our futures, we listened to the unexpected voice encouraging us to create a singular path in life together.
Call it what you will, but my wife and I joke God brought us together, leaned back, laughed, and spoke “this ought to be fun to watch.”
Our thirty-four years together have felt like a lifetime – and one I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Together, since her questionable judgment of agreeing to a lunch date, we’ve each grown, evolved, and built a life together I never dreamed could exist. And, literally speaking, I love her with all my heart and soul.
– 30 –