Was This Love At First Sight And Had It Literally Been Dropped Off On My Doorstep?
Love is far more profound, sacrificial and servant hearted than an emotion impulse.
The food had been leisurely prepared as we sipped red wine. We sat around the table in good spirit and the conversation had made it beyond the superficial, when my Aunt and Uncle asked me, “have you thought about marriage?”
This was one of those questions that struck a nerve, especially after years of recovering from a past hurt. I’d finally found myself in a place of contentment in my singleness, so this question was met with an initial stutter before knowing how to reply. I had just sold my house, resigned from my position as an engineer and moved to New York for a year before heading overseas. I found my singleness a tremendous advantage to this significant transition in my life and, for the first time, didn’t feel the need or desire for a romantic relationship, which was a healthy and freeing revelation for me to say the least.
Not understanding what they perceived as a radical change in the course of my life, I suppose they were concerned that I would wind up lonely on distant shores somewhere far from friends and family and this worried them. I entertained their question with great appreciation for their concern.
My response was this:
“I haven’t thought about marriage and, to be honest, I’m not looking”. I added sarcastically, “If marriage is in God’s will for my life, I will humbly accept, but he will literally have to drop her off on my doorstep.” Turns out, God has a sense of humor.
One month later, the sounds of the city streets and a warm cup of coffee set the mood for my morning as my phone rang. My friend Dan called to ask if he could come upstairs to introduce his friend who had flown from England to nanny his daughter for the summer. For some mysterious reason, whether by an intentional plan or providence, between the time Dan called and the time it took him to climb one flight of stairs to my flat; something had come up, which necessitated him dropping his friend off at my doorstep and walking away. I opened the door and there she stood.
The first thing I remember were her eyes. They were the most genuine I had ever seen - the kind that bestow value upon you as they gaze into yours. They were full of life and I could tell that they had seen things I wanted to hear all about. She radiated with a vibrancy that intrigued me to the core. Who was this person? What was her story? How am I so suddenly besotted with her? Thinking back to my conversation a month prior, I couldn’t help, but laugh. Was this love at first sight and had it literally been dropped off on my doorstep?
The following weeks were a constant battle with a flood of emotions. I found myself on my knees in prayer, asking for help to understand what I was experiencing. I wasn’t sure if it was fear of rejection, insecurity or a struggle to differentiate between contemporary culture’s shallow claims about love and what I understood love to be. Though, in all my attempts at rational thinking statements like: “this was meant to be,” and “this is love at first sight,” resonated in my mind. I didn’t want to let myself fall victim to the fairytale love script or fleeting emotions, but couldn’t deny that I was wrestling with something very real. Defining it was difficult, but clarity came.
My answer was written in words familiar to me but in my new situation, I read them in a new light. Words that read, “Love is patient, it is kind, it does not envy or boast. Love is not proud or rude and it is not self-seeking. Love isnt easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth and it always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres”.
In short, if this was all true about love, it meant that love was a choice and not solely an emotion. How could I make these types of decisions upon meeting someone for the first time? I couldn’t. I hadn’t yet reached a place where I was willing to look upon all of her faults and still say, “I choose you” but I had been confronted with the kind of beauty that triggered an eagerness to explore her story and possibly walk alongside her in the chapters to come.
There are people in this life who are beautifully captivating, but allowing our emotional response to their beauty to be confused with the choice to love someone despite all of their faults can be dangerous. Love is far more profound, sacrificial and servant hearted than an emotion impulse. It says, “I choose you when things get tough and I will never give up even when the world tells me I should.” It puts others first and humbles even the most callous of hearts.
Today, sitting in my home in the country side of England, I share my story. Had I experienced love at first sight? No, I think not but I met a woman of captivating beauty and this was the beginning of a beautiful, complex, life giving journey. For me, love came later, so did marriage and everyday, I choose her.