It’s February 14th, 2011. Today, Oregon had a light drizzle in the morning that fooled us into thinking that the gray skies would just hide the sun for a while. Not so, as the skies opened like a hatch to dump water down onto my windshield during my commute home. I talked to Mom and Dad on the way home until it got too rainy, then I turned off my phone to concentrate on the road, the rotation of my wheels a backdrop to thoughts too dark to speak aloud.
I dropped some books off at the library and went to the gym, which was awfully quiet for a Monday. Running put some endorphins in my system, but I think I’m pulling that same muscle again because it’s starting to ache. The problem is, undoubtedly, that I run like an uncoordinated goose, all knees and elbows. Now I’m at home, waiting for Nicole to come over, bringing an action movie for our evening in.
Happy Valentine’s Day, my love. Where the hell are you?!?
You must be alive. There’s no way that I’m going to rob the cradle that much. But other than that, all I know is that you’re not here and that pisses me off. And you know what else pisses me off? Thinking that you might be on a date right now with someone who isn’t me. Well, lady, have fun, because it won’t last. He’s mine, ultimately. You’re just the appetizer.
I’m sorry – Valentine’s day is for lovers, and I don’t have you yet. I started out this day very strong and brave, happy to love those in my life who support me while I’m waiting for you. All of those people whom you now know, either in person or through pictures and stories, who have sustained me and loved me when you haven’t been able to. And I am thankful for them, and I love them more than I can say.
But everything around me is shouting. Either the world is saying, “Sex is the most important on this and every day” or the Christian culture is saying, “Just wait on the Lord for your future spouse and be a nun until then,” or the Christian counter-culture is saying, “Celebrate your singleness and sexuality, but we don’t know how to do that and it’s the Christian culture’s fault.” It all sucks, as does the flowers and the surprise dates and the chocolate – well, not so much the chocolate. I had plenty of that without you.
I’ve been listening to this song non-stop, called “To Whom It May Concern,” by this new fantastic band, The Civil Wars. It’s just been playing over and over in my car, in my office, in my mind. The chorus says, “I miss you, and I haven’t met you.” Love, there are no truer words, and yet that does not suffice. How do I miss someone whose face is a blur, whose arms are wisps of smoke, whose voice is barely a puff of breath on my cheek?
I’ve lost many of my romantic notions, the inner cynic so close to the surface. In those hormone-strewn days of high school, I bought a journal “by” (how can a journal be by anyone?) Rebecca St. James, called the “Wait for Me” journal. I had lofty goals of writing in it daily about how God would bring us together, and when I found you – at a Christian college, of course – I would read pieces of it at our wedding and we would cry blissful tears along with the entire congregation. Eh, never happened. And good ole RSJ is getting married now, so I think either I missed the bus on the letter thing, or it just doesn’t matter. Now, if you’ve written me letters, that’s a wholly different story. There’s nothing sexier than a man who writes letters. You can quote me on that.
If I laid everything else down – my expectations, my fears, my insecurities, my loneliness – I know why I haven’t met you yet. You’re not done baking. That’s what my mom would say whenever one of us kids had just woken up from a nap, cheeks still red and warm, eyes drowsy, brow furrowed because the world just seemed so loud and fast compared to the comfort of dreams. Still baking, she’d say, and it applies to everything. You’re not ready for me. And I hate to say it, but I am not ready for you. I’m still baking, each day getting a little warmer and a little browner and a little more firm. I’m becoming the Christ-image that he wants me to be, and you are too. And I don’t want you until you’re “done” – that is, until your life is ready for a hot biscuit like me. And then we’ll keep baking together, our warmth feeding each other’s growth. It’ll be the greatest and hardest thing we’ll ever do.
But for today, February 14, 2011, I hope you had a good day. I hope you saw the sun, whether it was figurative or literal. I hope you ate a cupcake or two, smiled at your friends, worked hard. I hope you watched a good movie or read an excellent book. I hope you dropped that girl off early…or had a good time with her. Whichever one. But mostly, I hope, just before you fall asleep, you think of me and feel my breath on your cheek. I’m here.
I love you. I’ll see you soon.