Young Love and Harsh Realities

Jana and I had moved up to the 6th floor of Liberty Hospital after being discharged from the ER. We were not exactly aware, at the time, but it was the oncology floor. We sat in our room and a doctor that looked like he was in his late 30’s or early 40’s came in and introduced himself. He sat in a chair across from me, Jana was in the hospital bed. The doctor sat back in his chair, crossed his legs and put his fingertips together in front of him. “I am not going to beat around the bush,” he said after a little bit of other doctor talk, “you have Leukemia.” I felt hot, flushed. My eye site seemed to narrow and my mind became fuzzy, I couldn’t feel my arms and legs. He said some more words and I followed him to the door and closed it behind him. I turned, went to Jana, we fell together and cried.

I am frequently going back in my mind to when we first started dating in 1997. I have thought more about those days lately, than I have for years. We spent summer days in Springfield, Illinois walking and talking. Getting to know one another. It was so much fun to just be together. At the time I lived in Springfield, Missouri, so our visit time was short and we made the most of it before I had to return to my home.

I would share some of those specific memories, but they are too private for me. It was time that only we spent, and it will forever be locked in my heart. To the casual observer, we were just two young people walking, talking, and occasionally stealing kisses. But for us, it was monumental. We had found what we were looking for: the “one” that God had miraculously placed in each of our lives. What sweet memories, now…bitter-sweet. I cannot recall those moments without feeling the sharp pain of loss.

Who knew, at that time, what would come of this budding relationship? We would never have guessed that years of ministry, two miscarriages, a still-born son, two beautiful daughters, and many joys and challenges over the next 22 years would follow those precious first dates.

Praise the Lord for his work between us. Thank you, Lord, for the time you gave. My only complaint is that it was too short… May I complain, Lord? May I offer my displeasure at the way things happened? God, I understand your will is sovereign and You are just in all You do… Sometimes this is comforting…sometimes I simply don’t understand.

When I looked at Jana, I saw the twenty-something that I married years ago. I was so anxious to see how she would age, and supposed I would continue to look at her, even when she was 80, as that young girl I held hands with, walking through the park, taking time to whisper and kiss along the way. My first and only love. I can still feel the gentle wind, hear the trees rustle, and remember the warm feeling of the deepening love for her in my heart. Thank you, God…thank you.

Let your fountain be blessed, and take pleasure in the wife of your youth.

Proverbs 5:18

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