In spite of living within fifty miles of each other, my dear friend and I often allow several years to slip by between seeing each other. Nevertheless, we both need to carve out time now and again to catch up, reminisce, and whine about how fast life screams by and weren’t we young and full of promise with overflowing bucket lists only last week?
We usually meet half way at a favorite restaurant and from the second we are seated we launch, hardly catching our breath, babbling about our current activities, our families, then switch to grumbling, commiserating about all the things we can’t do anymore. Not to brag, but between us that is quite a lot.
But this most recent visit she brought a new topic to share. A real life fairytale.
After forty-five years of having lost one another to the capricious whims of life–a distant move to a job, a war, other spouses–she and her long lost college flame became reacquainted through a stray reach out message via Facebook. All it took was a single meeting and four and a half decades instantly dissolved into a cache of experience that served to add even more to share with each other in follow-up marathon conversations.
I’ve never seen her more radiant and I could not be more thrilled for her. There is no way to explain what an incredible burst of impossible possibilities this rekindling of old love has infused into two lives. Turns out God is not just the ultimate designer, He is also an unparalleled love story author as well. With God all things are indeed possible.
I cannot help but point out that the reason only God could have seen this coming is because the value of old love, in all its variations, is highly underestimated in the NEW NEW NEW, everything must be NEW era.
Firstly, old love is something that cannot be explained to the young. Generally speaking it creeps them out to even mention it. Youthful passions and raging hormones must assume that love is exclusively for the young and this misconception is as ancient as love itself. But love isn’t what it used to be. There is an old saying that youth is wasted on the young but I could add that genuine love is almost always overlooked by the young while they are chasing after a glittery imitation that, once caught, is rarely able to survive the rigors of real life.
Speaking from personal experience, old love is better than the new version simply because it has had plenty of opportunity to grow up. It has earned wisdom from having endured nicks and wear and tear. It’s polished from abrasion. It’s been around the block; it’s been beat up and yet survived. Having survived is nothing if not a great attitude adjuster. Once you have been spiked to the ground like a volleyball in a winner-take-all game a few times, you tend to reevaluate what really matters.
Dating and mating, in this selfie-absorbed world is like playing the lottery. You might get lucky but the odds are not in your favor. The subtle detours and ultimate road blocks thrown up to interfere with mature abiding love finding its way didn’t happen overnight. It’s been a slow descent to a miserable state of unresolvable conflict of the sexes, starting with competition for the fierce maintaining of ground that leads to alienation, enmity, resentment and haughtiness usurping any hope of meeting in the middle.
It appears that modern love has become a war game that no one can win. Ask anyone who has tried an online dating service; the revised rules of engagement are brutal. It’s a tale of woe that promises to become even sadder as the family unit becomes a footnote in history and society finally at last forgets that love between two people is supposed to be a mutual agreement not a ceasefire.
Days after our lunch, while still basking in the glow of the joy that my friend is experiencing, I picked up my old guitar that my son and husband recently had repaired as a surprise for me. The Conrad is another very dear friend I haven’t visited with as much as I used to. I sat down and flipped through one of my many ragged song books. I stopped on a Paul McCartney tune, The Long and Winding Road. I strummed and picked, as best I could, with stiff, arthritic fingers. Oh, the sound! The mellow, unforgettable, ringing tones unique to the instrument and the words of the song swept me back forty years. I was twenty-seven again, sitting cross-legged (hypothetically speaking) in a long ago living room floor playing the melancholy tune about sidetracked love.
And then the pain in my right shoulder pierced through and (whoosh!) I was back being sixty-seven again. Returning my old friend to its case, I thought about the lyrics and how young the songwriter was when he composed it. I’m sure he thought he knew what it was about but I doubt he could have possibly known the true depth of what he was writing because undoubtedly he had not yet lived long enough. I’ll bet he knows now.
It is a given that living changes everything and makes new things old, but sometimes, just when you think nothing can stop the ravages of time, out of the blue, God adds a twist to the story and makes old things new again.
“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in His hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; trust God: See all, nor be afraid!‘“ ~Robert Browning