It is a love story, interrupted.
Born out of an unexpected beginning. Found in a young mama’s tears. Laced gently in a baby’s cry.
All on a Christmas day, many years ago.
The day when her high school love would go hunting and never return. Leaving her alone with her infant daughter and the unfinished hope of a lifetime together.
The local newspapers would call the accident tragic, speaking of the young bride and the baby he left behind. It was this that caught the eye of a young Army captain, sitting at the kitchen table with his mama. Broken over their pain, he and his mama began to pray.
Pray for the young widow. Pray for the little girl. Pray for a light to enter their darkness.
Little did he know just how that light would come.
Because some time later, this shy young captain would introduce himself to the very same widow at church. Even now, she will admit with a bit of a twinkle in her eye that she was rather unimpressed. But as days went by, she learned that he was more than just another chance at love.
This man would also be used to heal the heart of her little girl.
So much so that when the young captain and his sweet bride married, the little girl was certain she would be going along on their honeymoon because her Daddy loved her best of all.
It was the first and only time in her life that he disappointed her.
As the years went by, the love between the captain and his bride grew into something quite remarkable. It became the love story that a cynical world might claim impossible.
Love notes every day. Hands always held. Care always given. And prayers always offered together.
They were the best of friends, best of sweethearts and best of partners in every way. They had babies and grandbabies and great grands. And they revelled in it.
Basketball games and concerts and birthday parties and weddings and all the things a love story gives. But as life does in the span of eighty five years, their bodies began to fail.
First, her stroke and seven precious months of him waiting for his bride to come home. Home from the hospital. Home from in-patient recovery. Home from assisted living.
Back and forth, they would go.
But each time a discharge was near, he would make sure that everything was just so to welcome her home. Working so hard that his body began to buckle itself.
A surgery. A complication. An unexpected death.
His love, a widow once again.
But as she went to hold his hand for the last time, her girl’s girl bent down closely and whispered, “He spent all year preparing for you to come home and so maybe, just maybe, his heart knew you would need him to welcome you Home one last time.”
Her eyes brimmed with tears and her head nodded gently, as if holding onto the promise fulfilled in their own little love story: That the deepest, darkest pain can give way to the love of a lifetime. And whose start was, without coincidence, on Christmas Day.
A day born out of an unexpected beginning. A day found in a young mama’s tears. A day laced in a baby’s cry.
All giving way to the greatest love story the world would ever know.