Always Love You

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Hey there,

I’ve been pretty busy lately. The new job is going well and my family is enjoying a season of humble prosperity. Things are good. My oldest sons are growing into fine young men, and my daughters are both growing into beautiful young ladies. My lil guy is at that special age where I simultaneously want to wrap my arms around him in a protective bear-hug, but also seal his mouth shut with duct tape. He’s mostly the cause of my blooming gray goatee. My wife likes the silver. She thinks it’s sexy and wisdom looks good on me. I’ll take that. Everyday, I see more of the woman she’s destined to become and it brings me joy. We’ve been through some things over the years, but by the grace of our father, we’re about to celebrate 15 years of marriage. I wouldn’t trade her or her special brand of crazy for all the money in the world. She was made special for me. I see it all the time now. And I’m thankful for them all. They are my family.

There are days when I feel as if life has become so busy that I’ve placed you on the back burner, as some afterthought. But you know my heart. And even though I probably don’t need to say it, I will because I know you like to hear confession from the lips. I think about you all the time. No matter what I may be doing in my busy days, you’re always there. Sometimes I can hear past conversations and then marvel at how things have turned out. Sometimes I imagine your voice answering a spontaneous question. Sometimes I smile when I think to myself that its perfectly fine to love someone else the way I love my family. But then, you are family, aren’t you? I can’t exactly pinpoint when you officially became family to me, but I know it’s true.

I wanted to write this to you, just as a reminder. I know its a big world and you’ve got things to do that don’t necessarily involve me. But, I also know that you still love me. I know you’ll love me forever. I know you think about me often, because I can feel it from time to time. It’s that special bond we have. I hope I make you proud as not only the man I’ve become, but as the man I am becoming.

Some folks may read this and have no clue what it means. Others may read it as a misconstrued cryptic message. But you know exactly what it all means, and you know it’s straight from my heart. In time, people may turn away from you; maybe even close loved ones. That’s gonna hurt something terrible. But I want you to remember this truth: I figured out a long time ago that I’m going to always love you. Do you understand that? I’m going to *always* love you.

Good night.

 

 

 

Always and Forever

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You remember being a kid, and words like always and forever didn’t carry much weight? Think back to when you were five years old. Maybe you had a favorite stuffed animal to sleep with every night. It was a sure bet that you would always love that plush teddy, and would probably keep it until the end of time. Maybe at seventeen, you had “the” crush. No matter what happened in the years to come, you were going to always love that boy, or hold a special place in your heart for that one girl forever. Steve and Lindsay know what I’m talking about (I love my brother and sister). Or, how about that 1960s muscle car you bought with your own saved money, dad. You babied that car for decades, and just know that you’ll always cherish it. Even now, well into your 60s, that car’s going to be with you forever.

Okay, those examples may have been a little superficial, but deep down at the heart of it all, that’s the kind of love that makes an awesome marriage. When a man and a woman come together under God, weather any and all storms that rage against them, raise a family as a united front and pass on into the after life knowing they’ve given their all to their blessed mate; that’s what always and  forever looks like.

It doesn’t just pertain to the marriage relationship, however. Lasting friendships can–and often do–exhibit always and forever, too. Did you know that King David and Saul’s son Johnathan loved each other with a deep love? I don’t mean any funny-business-love either. I’m talking pure, no judgment, deep, lasting love that only the best of friends share.

Do you know what it is to have less than a handful of deep root inner circle friends? I’m talking about pals you might not even speak with on a daily basis, but when you do get together, time stands still. Do you know what it is to instinctively know when your pal is hurting? That sixth-sense type of love that takes precedence over everything else going on in your life, for one moment? Some of you know what I’m talking about. That’s the always and forever bond of true friends.

Most parents instinctively know what always and forever love looks like. It’s that unspoken bond you have with your children that automatically makes you put yourself and your needs behind theirs. No matter what, you’re going to always love them, forever. That kind of love makes a 41-year old mother refer to her 24 year-old son as, “my baby”. It’s sappy, but it’s pure.

Do you have a spouse, a friend or a child in that always and forever spot locked in your heart? Make sure you tell them what they mean to you, sometime this week. Life is short. Our loved ones need to know we care, and that we’re in their lives for the long haul, no matter what.

 

*always*

One Last Time

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Where did time go? These days, I look in the mirror and see the evidence of its subtle passing: gray peppers my goatee, a constant receding hairline and extra pounds round my waistline. But, one day I rounded the corner and saw her sitting quietly alone. All at once, time not only stood still, it rewound.

There was my old friend, just as I had always remembered her. Despite time’s undaunted march, she hadn’t changed a bit. Suddenly, all the love I had stored inside—love I thought had long since faded away—came back in a spectacular explosion that left me dumbfounded. She never saw me hesitate; too busy entertaining her smartphone. She didn’t see my smile, didn’t see me choke back emotion at the mere sight of her again. I couldn’t believe how happy I was to see her after so much time had passed. Yet, it was as if no time had passed at all.

By the time I walked to her, my façade was in place: a light joke; a gentle hug; a quick glance into her eyes, just to let her know I was really with her. Her eyes were still just as beautiful and deep as I remembered, but…but…something…

I met her children; each one just as beautiful as their mother, with a hint of their father in each innocent face. We watched them play as we talked. I watched them cling to her in their own individual ways, and saw her easily and instinctively love them as a mother should. The love in my heart multiplied. I was so proud of the woman she had become; the mother and wife I imagined she would someday be.

Suddenly, I remembered a scene from a lifetime ago; and yet it seemed to be just yesterday. My friend, kneeling down in a flower bed, planting. I watched her from the window of her apartment and saw the woman she would someday be; the woman she is now, sitting here in front of me, loving her children. She didn’t notice me whisper a silent prayer of thanks to God, for watching over her, for the past 15 years. She didn’t know I praised him for giving her the man she’d asked for, and her beautiful babies.

Our small talk was just that. I loved my friend enough to respect her new life. There would be no professing how much I missed her presence in my life; how deeply I still loved her, though the love I harbor is far removed from lust. The fact that I can’t talk to her whenever she crosses my mind, sometimes seems unfair, but it is a price that I accept, if only to know she’s okay. It is the moment I’ve prayed for a hundred times.

“Please God. Bring us back together one last time. Let me look on her, and see her happiness.”

Something in her eyes. My façade faltered and I showed my worry. I gazed into her eyes, but she looked away, trying to convince me a dozen times that she was fine. My heart hurt for her. There was nothing I could do but pray that God would fix whatever was broken. In my humanity, I wanted to pry; I needed to know if there was anything I could do. But this was not my place, and I knew it. I had been on the road she was now traveling, and knew what bumps lie ahead. My friend; despite her blessings, she was sad inside.

As we parted ways, I casually told her I loved her, and she responded in kind. And as I walked away, I could feel my age and my world return to their rightful place in my life. Yet, every day since, I pray for my friend and her entire family. I pray that God would work a miracle to bring joy and happiness back into her everyday life. And I pray that she knows, someone outside of her everyday world, an old friend will always love her.

The Dream Remembered

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I saw you last night, someplace other than our separate lives now. In that place, we were young, together, and we loved each other. There were no obstacles binding our true feelings. For a time beyond the confines of our different realities, we were free to talk, laugh, and share companionship with one another. Nothing taboo occurred. Nothing forbidden was allowed. We simply enjoyed each other’s company.

 

Though your face was as young as I last remembered, your eyes reflected a deep soul bathed in the wisdom of age. Likewise, you saw not the youthful and vibrant glow of my 17 year-old skin, but the 40 years of stored knowledge within my soul. I gently touched your cheek, simultaneously timid and anxious to prove your existence, in that place. Your fingers softly lit across my arm, sending a chill up my spine.

 

How could this be? What was God’s plan in allowing this to happen? Was this your deep desire, or mine? Did we ask for this impromptu encounter, in our hearts? Did you pray for me recently, or is this the result of my prayers for you, years past?

 

 Remembering, I looked into your eyes and knew that this was real and right, for the moment. Our embrace was not that of secret lovers. No; it was the envelope of timeless, genuine, and true friendship. I held you close, and you squeezed me in kind. I could smell the familiar scent of your hair. You delicately fit into the fold of my arms and I suddenly realized…you’ve been with me all the days of my life. It was as if no time had ever passed between us. Our friendship was as fresh in this place, as it was the day we met so many years ago. We’ve never separated.

 

 The moment in that place existed as a split second, but lasted for a lifetime between us. Our laughter was unabashed; free. Our conversation was honest and heartfelt, as we walked along clouds side by side. We spoke of the Lord and what He’s accomplished in our separate lives. Together, we praised Him for the fantastic enigma He is. We thanked Him for this impossible moment; this ridiculously unexplainable, and fascinatingly wonderful meeting. We thanked Him for blessing our separate families; our spouses and our children.

 

 That’s when the atmosphere changed. I noticed the dim fading of your eyes and the translucency of your skin. Reality beckoned; it was time to return home to where we each belonged. Just before parting ways, we shared a final warm embrace bound by the love of untainted selfish desires. No more words were spoken, but our hearts exchanged an unspoken message all their own.

 

‘No matter where I go in life, I’m with you and you are with me. I’ll always find you and you’ll always see me, even when I’m far away. I’ll always remember you friend.’

 

 Your heart responds to mine, as we step back and wave to one another. As you smile goodbye, you fade away, into reality. I wake, aware of my surroundings; aware of my life. But I remember that split second of impossible joy. I remember the dream, and smile before it fades into oblivion.