It was a warm and sunny day as always in Las Vegas on September 15th, 1996. I was heading to our newly opened motor speedway for the inaugural race with an extra ticket in hand. As I pulled away from the apartment, there she was, getting out of her car. Her short shorts revealed the most beautiful long legs I’d ever seen. Her blonde hair blowing in the light breeze served as the perfect frame for her crystal blue eyes that were captivating even from many yards away. It wasn’t the first time I’d noticed her-she lived in the apartment across the lot from mine. But even in my arrogance I would never have had the courage to approach her-she was from heaven and I a mere mortal. Only in fairy tales and Hollywood movies do such unlikely unions take place. Ah, but I did have an extra race ticket-a reasonable excuse to at least see her up close and say hello. So I did-she was even more breath-taking standing just a few feet away. I offered her the ticket assuming she would have some friend who would enjoy the race. She graciously accepted and thanked me and I drove off, forgetting for a moment where it was I was heading and grateful to God for my brief brush with one of His angels.
Just a few minutes before the drop of the green flag a shadow was converging on my seat but the background of the bright sun prohibited me from identifying the figure, until the figure took the vacant seat next to mine-it was her, the angel. Her friends had dropped her off and left her in my custody for the race and the balance of the day. Wondering if this was a cruel trick from God or if not, how I came to deserve to spend the afternoon with this creature, I just went with it. We enjoyed getting to know each other over the roar of the open wheel engines and as the race ended, I was pleasantly surprised as she asked if she could ride with me back to our apartments. As luck or fate or divine providence would have it, the 20 minute trip took over two hours due to the unexpected attendance and the city’s clueless efforts to direct traffic from such a large event, an amount of time that gives ample opportunity to become intimately acquainted. When we finally returned we met at the pool, ordered pizza and spent the rest of the evening together. As it turns out she had previously and secretly noticed my legs as well-who would have guessed! On September 27th of the following year I married my angel and have been blessed of God to spend the last 18 years with her as we shared life together.
Love Stories-most of us have them. Some may be epic and worthy of Hollywood screen plays and others more simple but no less cherished. I’ve heard many people argue that there is no such thing as love at first sight, or that two people don’t “fall” in love but grow slowly and comfortably into a relationship like breaking in a new pair of jeans. I couldn’t disagree more. Countless are the stories retold of eyes meeting from across a crowded room or chance encounters on a busy street or mall when the individuals knew from first glance that there was something special in the gaze worthy of investigation and closer review. God creates each of us with a special set of interests and features that form a uniquely shaped profile, and only He knows for sure who He created with the complimenting and opposite profile that when joined with ours, fits perfectly together like two pieces of a puzzle. God’s cool like that!
The concept of two souls joining together for a lifetime has certainly been subjected to the modern day devaluation of eternal commitment. Some seem more sure of the longevity of a tattoo than the covenant of marriage. To be willing to stand before friends, family and God and vow to each other and to God to remain loyal and joined to this one person for the balance of your life causes fear and trepidation with many young couples, while others take the vows flippantly, knowing if they get bored or “fall out of love” they can always proceed with divorce and find another. Just this past weekend I was privileged to be among the witnesses as my niece married. In her tradition, Greek Orthodox, the words “til death do us part” are never used because they believe that marriage does not end with death but rather transitions to our ultimate marriage to Christ as His bride. In the ceremony two crowns, one each for the bride and groom, are placed on their heads and blessed by the priest. These crowns are connected by one ribbon and guarded throughout their marriage. Upon the death of one of the partners the ribbon is cut and the departed is buried with his or her crown while the survivor retains theirs and is then buried with it upon their own death. What blessed symbolism of eternal love, of lifelong commitment and of honoring the sacred vows made to each other in the presence of their Lord and eventual groom Jesus Christ!
And if you think for one moment that God did not establish and ordain the beauty and rapture of romantic love between two people, consider the words from the fourth chapter of the Old Testament Book, The Song of Solomon, taken from The Message translation:
1-5 You’re so beautiful, my darling, so beautiful, and your dove eyes are veiled
By your hair as it flows and shimmers, like a flock of goats in the distance
streaming down a hillside in the sunshine. Your smile is generous and full—
expressive and strong and clean. Your lips are jewel red,
your mouth elegant and inviting, your veiled cheeks soft and radiant.
The smooth, lithe lines of your neck command notice—all heads turn in awe and admiration!
Your breasts are like fawns, twins of a gazelle, grazing among the first spring flowers.
6-7 The sweet, fragrant curves of your body, the soft, spiced contours of your flesh
Invite me, and I come. I stay until dawn breathes its light and night slips away.
You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.
You have captured my heart, dear friend. You looked at me, and I fell in love.
One look my way and I was hopelessly in love! How beautiful your love, dear, dear friend—
far more pleasing than a fine, rare wine, your fragrance more exotic than select spices.
The kisses of your lips are honey, my love, every syllable you speak a delicacy to savor.
God saw that it wasn’t good for His created man to be alone and created from his own flesh the perfect compliment, woman. His ideal from the beginning was for these two newly created beings to enjoy and be filled and fulfilled with each other and to share a long and happy life together, learning new things, blazing new paths and being one in life and in worship to their creator. You can tell that a woman loves her husband by looking into her eyes and seeing her expression; you can tell how much a man loves God by how much he loves and dotes over his wife!
A word to the men-we are not naturally gifted in all things romantic and some of us lack the art of expression or sentiment. There is a day approaching, you know, the Hallmark holiday, that as cheesy as you may think it to be, provides an inexcusable opportunity to shower your beloved with love and attention, and to thank God for the beauty and grace of such women who put up with us when we are at our worst. DON”T BLOW IT-MAN UP-LOVE YOUR WIFE AND MAKE IT KNOWN LIKE A MEDAL OF HONOR OR A TROPHY PROUDLY DISPLAYED IN YOUR CASE. BY HONORING HER WE ARE HONORING GOD HIMSELF!
As I close this week’s blog, I think it would be an amazing tribute to your spouse and God’s greatest gift to reply or comment and share your love stories. Let’s exchange each others epic tales and glorify our creator in reliving those moments when you just knew that God shined his light of favor on you and His spirit slapped you on the back and said “go get ’em”. “God, thank you for the gift of romantic love, the blessing of eternal union and the hope of our ultimate heavenly marriage to the Lamb of God, your son and gift to us, Jesus Christ”.