I remember the night I met you.
I was lying face-down on the bedroom floor, bawling my eyes out. At first, I didn’t even know you were there. But after what seemed like hours had gone by, my sobs calmed down, and you put your arms around me, and told me how much you loved me. Oh yes, I had done many things wrong, engaged in activities that hurt you, but you forgave me and told me to forgive myself. I remember that night so clearly, because the timeline of my life shows a sharp division right at that moment.
It’s one of those before and after milestones that mark a lifetime. Before I met you on that floor, in that room, I lived with a desperate hollow seeking inside. I had been trying to fill that void - first with alcohol and drugs, later with crazy dieting, and finally, with family and possessions. The problem was, I couldn't satisfy it. I could ignore it for a short time, but I was always aware it was there; I had lived with it my whole life. Then, suddenly, on that night, the vacancy filled in and peace reigned.
You were what I sought.
And nearly twenty years later, when I found myself crashing to the floor again, my grief raw as I learned my sister was dead, lost to me - there you were again, comforting me and loving me the same as before. Days later, when I dissolved in tears and all I could do was beg for your help as I tried to write a eulogy of comfort and testimony, you responded to my pleas, covered me with peace, and let my thoughts flow. I poured my aching heart out to you time after time for three long years as I tried to deal with the pain of that loss. You never tired of listening to me. You never told me to just get over it. You never told me I had no reason to keep missing her. You never blamed me, even though I blamed myself. You just loved me and calmed me and held me tight.
Over and over again.
Years after that, you became such a comfortable friend. I poured my heart and thoughts and dreams out to you every single day. And you listened. You knew me intimately and deeply. You knew how badly I wanted things to work out, and you knew it wasn't going to happen. But you indulged me and lifted me every time I was hit with another disappointment. And then, when the realization my dream life was not really a dream life, and the knowledge I would have to leave a marriage I had invested a lifetime into became reality, still you were there.
When I received hate-filled messages condemning me and my children to hell - you comforted my confused spirit. Ever since I had known you - you confronted and convicted me when I strayed away from you - or started down a path upon which I did not belong. I knew how much it hurt me when I chose not to follow your leading. You always brought me back. So when it seemed everyone in my world was telling me I was wrong, I was often confused, because YOU were with me, leading me, and showing me everything was going to be okay, and that I was doing what I had to do, and that those people would be left behind.
As I cried out to you again and again, you showed me the parts of my life I needed to fix and you helped me along the way. As I struggled with homelessness and fatigue, you stepped in, always with your steadfast love and unchanging hope, using people and circumstances to keep me safe and close to you. And I grew to love and know you more than I had before. I gained a new understanding of you - realizing even as I had sought you throughout the years and drawn closer and closer to you - my own limitations and worldly notions were keeping you inside a box in which you did not fit. I found out you were so much more than I even knew and probably would ever know.
You have implanted in my heart and mind dreams and ideas which only you can fulfill - and you never disappoint.
You make me want to be like you. You make me want to show others how you are and what you can do. You are everywhere, all the time, and your love never ends. It will never end. I had no idea on that night I met you so long ago, when my emptiness was filled, that I would never be alone again, but there it is.
My heart is captured and forever yours.