Sunday, April 19, 2009
First Date Follow-Up
Following up on my last post, I had several comments - both on the blog and off-list - stating that I had done a great job of teasing folks but hadn't done enough to fill out the story and remove the "cliffhanger" status. So, to respect the wishes of some of my friends and readers - and without going into so much detail as to make it boring - let me give you a bit more.
Twenty-five years ago, my family - after having attended one church for nearly two decades - decided to move to a church closer to our home. Being a lover of history and of all things old, I was immediately captivated by the fact that our new church was nearly 150 years old - a brick building with a beautiful sanctuary, huge windows, an extremely high ceiling, and one of those classic churchyards with the tall old oaks and faded stones that give off that wonderful, mysterious aura. The front was bordered by an elegant bring serpentine wall, and the view from the back of the church was of nothing but farms, fields, and a section of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
I was also immediately captivated by a young lady in my Sunday school class - long, blonde hair, beautiful smile, intelligent, and funny. She was also three years older than me, which for a 14-year-old was exciting in itself (my father thought it was great, but to this day I'm convinced that my mother was not at all thrilled with the age difference). As interested as I was in her, I was very pleased to find that she was equally interested in me, and our first few Sunday conversations quickly led to numerous telephone calls, notes, and - as I mentiond in my last post - a first date. It was a wonderful evening, and to this day I vivdly remember much of everything that happened.
The first date went well enough that there were others - concerts, plays, walks through the woods. The whole time I never gave a second thought to the age difference, but I should have recognized that it was always the elephant in the room. As much as I was enjoying our time together, she (as I found out later) was becoming concerned about the elephant, and after a few months things did taper off and ultimately end.
For a 14-year-0ld, that sort of thing can be devastating, and it took me quite some time to get over things. With the hindsight of 25 years, however, I can see even more clearly just how wonderful things were, and how blessed I was to have that time - even with the age difference. In my mind, I have this idealized picture of how things had gone, an image to which I was more than happy to cling. Recently, I pulled out my journal from that time and - other than being able to clearly see how I really was a 14-year-old, no matter how much I thought or acted otherwise - was happy to see that much of the idealism was confirmed.
I haven't seen here in about 15 or 20 years, although I've kept tabs on her and know that she's happily married now and living in Europe. I would like to think that perhaps we'll see each other again one day, and I'll have the opportunity to introduce her to my wife and children and to meet her husband. Maybe there will even be a few laughs about the old days - about our church and our youth group, the friends and experiences - and perhaps even a chance for me to say "thanks" for some great memories that I've gladly carried with me for 25 years.