When I fell in love with Debbie Wilkins, I fell hard, I fell fast and, emotionally, I was at 100 miles per hour. Life had a freshness about it; a renewed sense – like experiencing a crisp spring day after a long, cold winter. Colors seemed more vibrant; smells more intense and the visions of a once dim future seemed to come alive in a way I had never experienced before. Many of us hope. We chase after that for which we hope and when we catch up to it, well that is truly an amazing feeling. Even more so when we realize that what we have received (in my case the love of my life) surpasses our original vision and that to me is the definition of blessing.
I knew. I knew in my heart of hearts that I was going to marry this godly, beautiful and passionate girl. I just knew it. But there was a slight problem: Debbie did not know it. She was at 5 mph – in every aspect – which was completely understandable given the grief in her life (and her 4 boys), her new status as a widowed mom, her new role as provider for her family and given how her world was thrust upside down.
So everything in me just wants to burst out. I want to tell her everything I feel, tell her of the visions I have for all of us for the future. I can barely contain my joy and it is even harder to contain and constrain my love for her.
That is exactly what I had to do. And that is one of the hardest things in life to do. Think back to that time in your life. Do you remember the intensity? Can you recall the emotions and how they could so easily control you; how they could lead you beyond where logic or prudence would have directed you?
Are you able to remember? If not, try to break through; break through the routine of your daily life now; break through possible hurts or disappointments and try to recapture that intensity – to, in a sense, relive it and bring it forward to the present. I believe it is essential to do this, and often. The reward is worth the effort.
I still remember. I know it has been a relatively short period of time (2.5 years), but I remember it like it was yesterday.
I remember how her big beautiful smile would enliven my day as she would open up the door. I remember how my heart was almost jumping out of my body during our first kiss. I remember seeing the struggle, in her eyes, as she tried to make sense of her feelings – pulling her in many directions all at once. I remember how excited I would get when she would text or message me. I remember some of the first pictures we took of just us two and where we were. I remember swimming in the flood of emotions and floating upon an ever deepening and developing love for my best friend.
It was Christmas time and Debbie, the boys and her extended family were going to the mountains. They had rented a cabin for a week. They were getting away and going to enjoy some time together. I completely agreed with the decision, but a big part of me was sad that I would not be able to see her beautiful smile on Christmas day.
A big snow had come in and covered the mountains with a majestic blanket and their fireplace was stoked to a nice red and yellow glow. She was giving me a play-by-play via text on her last minute shopping trip to a local hardware store. She would send me pictures of the “toy” ideas for the boys. The entire time I could not fight the immense urge to be with her. I may have even hinted that I could be – in less than two hours. I would hint then she would hint. We kidded each other that it was a crazy idea. If I drove up there we could only see each other for 30 minutes – no more.
And it was at that moment – keys in hand – and with a promise of only 30 minutes; with snow covered roads that I knew. I knew I would do anything for this girl; drive anywhere at any time, no matter the conditions – if only I could be in her presence, if I could only see her big, beautiful smile.
I did not end up driving up there (it was complicated), but in my mind I was already there – 100 mph and speeding up fast!
100 mph feelings. 100 mph intensity. 100 mph love. Yet living and operating at her 5 mph speed. This is a tough balancing act. It is a path walked delicately and one I did not always adhere to well. But I was able to adjust to life lived at her 5 mph because I knew. I knew she would eventually be my wife and that meant she would eventually have to be at 100 mph too.
Even now, as I write this, I get chills. The freshness is pulled forward in time and my love for this amazing girl deepens. And the richness of the blessing becomes more apparent with each passing day.
It was, and still is, 100 mph poetry, lived.
Next up: When Debbie goes from 5 mph to 100 mph