About 4.5 years ago I went on the first date of my newfound single life. After being with my husband for the past 8+ years you’d think I’d have been a bit out of practice or nervous about dating but I wasn’t. I was fortunate enough to have somewhat known the first guy I went out with. He had dated a friend years before. So, I knew of him, through her, and we had many mutual friends. As a result, I was surprisingly very much at ease with the idea of a first date. So, in my bold confidence, I wore a pair of 4″ heels that were the loveliest fuchsia patent leather; some truly sexy shoes!!
I don’t remember if it was sprinkling or what but for whatever reason, it seemed we were rushing; and as I held his hand climbing the stairs to our destination, it happened. That lovely heel slipped right off my foot and I, in tow, kept going a step or two. My surprised “Oh” caused him to pause, look back, assess the situation and respond. Without missing a beat, he retreated down the stairs, scooped up my lost shoe, took my hand and placed it on his shoulder to steady me as he lifted my foot and replaced my shoe while saying “here you go Cinderella.” I remember as we laughed, thinking he might just be a keeper…and in so many ways he was.
He was instrumental in my life at a point in time when I needed someone to be a rock. My once prudential strength had encountered a jackhammer and some days, the pieces needed someone with superglue and the patience of a saint. He was that person.
We would sit up on his couch talking for hours; exploring everything from our shared faith, to our hurts, to our hopes, dreams and aspirations in life. He reintroduced me to wine and provided my first experience with sushi. I remember both instances with such clarity and am reminded of his care in being certain he found a wine that would suit my palate and then later selecting just the right sushi so I had a positive experience. Daily, he read me like a book, somehow always able to gauge my mood; and on the bad days, held me close through all the tears shed in hurt and anger. He was a constant source of encouragement and kept me tethered to my faith at a time when I was angry at God and not quite sure how to manage it.
He was also a thorn in my side. Because, as far as our relationship went, we were never on the same page at the same time…him ready to move forward too soon when I wasn’t, I ready to move forward when he wasn’t. Though I lost the desire to continue a life with him and moved on, I’ve held close to my heart the role he played in healing the deepest of hurts. For that, I am ever grateful.
This morning as I was walking into work, I walked out of my shoe, not once, but twice, the SAME SHOE. As I laughed, I flashed back, as I do every time I have walked out of a shoe since, to fond memories of him.
God brings everyone into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Lest you think I sit here wistfully thinking of a discarded love, I’ve no doubt he was a “reason” and likely, I to him as well. Sometimes it is hard to decipher if people are reasons, seasons or lifetimes. I’m sure you’ve often heard the saying “Hindsight is always 20/20.” But, what of the midst of your uncertainty. How do you know who is in your life for what? What of friendships that you see fall by the wayside?
Relationships, friendship or otherwise, are no different than a garden. They start with a seed or a seedling planted in healthy soil. That plant has to be cultivated. You have to water it, nourishing it. You have to provide it with sunlight to encourage a positive outcome. You sometimes have to prune it back to force it to use energy to regenerate the roots. You have to cut off dead parts. You have to pull the weeds that threaten to interfere with its growth. You have to ensure that it is not attacked by pests…and when it is, and the produce, and in some cases the plant, is lost you have to dig it up and start over. Both gardens and relationships take work. Roses and fruits or veggies can grow in many different conditions but to really thrive and produce the best result, you have to tend the garden. Food for thought…