i find old letters. we were engaged. he was in chicago and i was in detroit.
i read the words i wrote and i shake my head at love bold written down. i wanted to be married to joshua.
but i didn’t know what i was talking about. i didn’t really even know the man i’d addressed the letters to, or the girl who signed them.
and now the smallest girl runs down the stairs. she sleeps late and that is good. but joshua has already carried his bicycle down the front porch steps and pedaled off to solve problems for the university.
she knows the answer and she just doesn’t want to hear it.
“he’s already gone to work.”
her face falls and she looks around lost, but she recovers and says that he’ll be home at supper time. i tell her yes he will. and i understand how she feels. yes darling, he’ll be home later.
he makes me laugh so hard that my face aches and i can’t breathe to tell him to stop and i want to make him laugh so hard, too.
and i do.
sometimes when we are tangled up laughing he pulls me closer and the alarm still can sound. the internal warning that i’m not safe when it is night and someone desires me.
but the someone is joshua. my brother. my dear, dear friend. my love. the one i live grace with and have forgiven and been forgiven by even seven times in a day.
and i draw the arms around me tighter.
how much walking down an aisle and pledging my life brought to the surface. in an instant the requirements changed – the bridge and groom changed – and the depth of need and love responsible for all changed. marriage grew to a staggering height right before the eyes of the witnesses and a new thing was created.
to live grace – to harm, to repent, to forgive and to begin again. instructed by jesus, i have a way through the mess and on the other side – i’ve learned that forgiveness changes us.
i didn’t know any of that as i penned clever sentences to the boy i thought i couldn’t live without.
the letters lay in the box, years gone by now, and they are evidence. they are proof that i have, at my core, been changed by grace.