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The Saturday Journal: Love

They handed me a couple of folded up notes–paper freshly torn out of their composition books–messy with the shreds still intact.  Do you know so and so, they asked. They're on the track team. 


I do.  


Do you mind giving these letters to them?



Yeah, sure. I’ll deliver your letters. And I boarded the bus along with the other members of the girls’ softball team–headed up the mountain with the letters safely tucked away in my bag.  I tried to keep my mind on the game, but I’ll have to admit curiosity got the best of me. So I reached into my bag and pulled out one of the letters. The message was a little more than “I love you, do you love me? Check yes or no.” A paragraph or two and then the three magic words, I love you.  And the second note–pretty much the same.  


Now I knew these “younger” girls hadn’t had these “so-called boyfriends” long–maybe a week–at the most, two.  And they were already throwing out the “L” word??  And I was like, good grief and did an eye-roll–only a teenager can master. 



As a child, my family wasn’t much at saying the three words, I love you.  And it wasn’t limited to my immediate family–it was my grandparents too.  Possibly a generational thing–love was shown more with deeds rather than with words.  And honestly, never hearing the words I love you gave me a different perspective of what I thought love really was. I knew I was loved by my family–don’t get me wrong. But silly as it may sound I thought when I finally did fall in love with that “certain someone” I just knew I would feel different– imaginary horns would blow–confetti would fall out of the sky– and then I would know for certain I was “in love”.  And I was determined not to say those three little words until then–until I knew for sure. 


There was a hint of gray showing under his Retired Navy Veteran trucker’s hat–one of those hats that sits high on the head. He was riding the stationary bike–he’d had knee replacement, he said.  And he was working to get stronger. He cycled for twenty minutes or so and before he left he said, ‘Have a good day hon’ and I thanked him for his service pointing at his hat.  He looked away and said thank you.  Most veterans are like that.  It’s hard for them to accept the gratitude they deserve.



The man she loved dearly–her husband of many years died unexpectedly. And standing in those long lines greeting friends and loved ones is without a doubt emotionally tiring and downright hard.  And to those there paying their respect–showing their love and support–they wait, often in long lines–really not knowing what to say–only to whisper a prayer.  And when it’s finally your turn–this new widow, she reaches out and embraces you with the biggest of hugs and says, ‘I knew you would come.’ 


He was a country boy–farmer boy–with a head full of black curls.  He wore Wranglers and t-shirts and had a Southern drawl and his smile– if you ever received one–you wouldn’t forget it.  It was early spring on a Sunday morning and I can’t remember how I heard the news–the tractor accident that took his life the day before. And on this Sabbath, there was no “not going” to church. I couldn't stay home by myself. So, I pulled my hair back in a bun–never showered–and put on the longest of maxi skirts.  And I sat in the pew beside my Grandma and I cried and I cried. After service I could hear the whispers–people asking my family members what was wrong and others coming up to me, ‘Why are you crying?’ And I could barely get the words out.


You and me–young and crazy freshman in high school–a girl from Rock Creek and a boy from Traphill and during breaks and lunches–you would see me across the courtyard and you would yell my name in the funniest of voices and smile. Friends for almost a whole school year–that’s how long we had. Not as boyfriend and girlfriend–as friends. And I can still hear your voice–see your smile–and I still miss you.  I will always miss you.



The track boys who received the "love letters" from their girlfriends–the ones I delivered–maybe they needed someone to tell them they cared–that they were loved.  And the girls–perhaps they needed to write the words–with hopes of the same in return.   


Love is hard and love is a gift. It can be found in words and deeds–in the gentlest of voices–in the smallest of ways–in humility–in sacrifice–in kindness--in surrender–in service–and in beauty. Love is found in friendship–in forgiveness–in laughter–in faces--in grief--in smiles–and in memories. 


Easter is coming–


And the power of love has been here all along. 




 

A humble and heartfelt thank you for reading The Saturday Journal.

My prayer is to share The Saturday Journal every Saturday or at least bi-weekly--

but always on Saturdays. If you would like to have The Saturday Journal come to your email box,

please subscribe to A Beautiful Grace blog and newsletter at

All photos @copyright Tathel Miller, unless otherwise credited to another photographer.








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