On the 13th of April, I wrote about having gone on a date. I didn't mention the name of the woman at the time. Her name is Roslyn Griffith, but she prefers to call herself Ros. At that time, I had reservations about wanting to deepen the relationship with her. I didn't write about what those reservations were.
One thought was that she was the only woman in the Church who was roughly my age and not attached. Thatís not strictly true, but true to say that she was the only one I'd be remotely interested in. But I thought I'd better not commit too soon, in case there was someone better just around the corner. “Don't rush God,Ē I thought. He will answer in his own time.”
Another thought was that she's five years older than me and a little overweight. Both of those factors together make it more likely that she will die before me, and I was worried about how I would be able to cope with that again.
The third thought was that she was single. I didn't think that it was possible for a single woman to sufficiently understand what itís been like for me to have been married to someone I was madly in love with for nineteen and a half years. For that reason, I thought that I needed to find a widow, who would at least understand that it was impossible to erase the memory of the last twenty years, and so comparisons would be inevitable.
And so time went by. It's not as if four months have passed between seeing her. After all, I've been seeing her twice a week for most weeks, because sheís been at Church on Sundays and at Bible Study on Wednesdays. And we've chatted a fair bit.
As the months rolled on, I kept running the previous excuses through my head, and the longer the time went, the less valid they seemed. More importantly, the more time I spent with Ros, the more I was enjoying her company.
At our Church, after the service, people are always invited to go to the front for prayer for anything they feel that they need prayer for, and there is a team of people who make it their job to pray with whoever needs it. On the 23rd July, the Sunday before yesterday, I was wanting prayer to help me to cope with the week approaching my birthday, which was looking like it was going to be an event on par with the wedding anniversary.
But immediately after the service, Ros started chatting to me, and it was pleasant, so I chatted too. But we chatted for so long, that the praying people had all finished and gone down to morning tea. So Ros prayed for me, and I appreciated that very much.
I was so enjoying her company, that I decided that there could be no harm in going out to dinner with her again, just to get to know her a bit better. So we arranged to go out on Friday of last week, and I arranged for Daniel to have a sleep-over at a friend's place so that I wouldn't have to rush back to pick him up after his Youth Group finished at nine-thirty.
I made up my mind that I would discuss with her some of the things that were making me cautious about deepening the relationship, and during dinner I did that - not in a question and answer sort of way, but I just weaved things into the conversation, and I was very pleased with how the discussion went.
In a nutshell, the evening confirmed all the things I liked about Ros, and all of my previous fears were allayed.
We left the restaurant at about ten o'clock, and I drove her home. We parked in the street near her driveway, and we talked and talked and talked and talked. The more we talked, the more I became sure that this was the woman I wanted to love, and I knew that she had the desire to love me.
I desperately wanted our goodbye to be with a kiss, but true to form, I had no way of initiating it. So I sat and just wished for physical contact.
This is not the right place to write about how the kiss began. I prefer to allow Ros some privacy, but the brief kiss I was anticipating became a very prolonged smooch. Again, for the sake of Ros's privacy, I'm not going to write about the rest of the evening, or early morning as it became, but suffice to say that by the time I went home, I was deeply in love with this woman.
The phrase “in love” is not one that I'm comfortable with. After all, love is a decision - it's a verb, a “doing” word. When I choose to love, it has nothing to do with feelings or emotions. And yet I can't find any other English words to describe the feeling. I'll have to just allow myself to differentiate the verb to love from the emotional “falling in love”.
I realised what I fool I'd been. I'd spent the last four months looking for reasons not to get into a relationship with Ros, and here she was, a gift from God, meeting every one of the criteria for what I wanted in a woman, (as I'd written on the 3rd of May).
I had nowhere near enough sleep that night, but on Saturday I was a different man. Life was good. Things that used to be a chore, like clothes washing and hanging it out, were a breeze. Even washing up the dishes was done with a “spring in my step”. Amazingly, I was not depressed by the fact that I was eating breakfast alone. I was on a high. I had not felt this way for such a long time.
My only worry now was how to get through Sunday. I didn't want to upset Daniel by showing affection to Ros, but I also didn't want to have to pretend that Friday night didn't happen. So on the way to Church, I talked to Daniel about what was happening to me and Ros, and I begged him to give me the birthday present of not having to pretend that she didnít mean something to me. I knew that he couldn't be comfortable with the situation, but I just wanted him to accept that it was what I needed. He remained sombre for the rest of the journey.
At Church, I was delighted to see Ros, and it was obvious that the feeling was mutual. We sat close to each other in Church, and once Daniel had left to go to the children's activities, we held hands, and I was very contented.
During morning tea, we escaped and went for a walk alone, arms around each other, and deliriously happy, comparing our mutual feelings for each other, and pausing occasionally for an embrace and a kiss. I had the pleasure of being able to tell her that she had been the answer to her own prayer that she'd prayed for me on the previous Sunday.
On the rest of the day I was feeling euphoric, tempered only by the fact that Daniel was struggling to accept the new situation. I am hoping that his time with our grief counsellor this Thursday may give him ways of coming to accept this. Already in his head, he understands that “Happy Daddy” equals “Happy Household” which equals “Happy Son”, but his heart may take a while to accept it.
As for me, the long, difficult trudge through the valley is over. I have begun the climb up the next mountain, and even at this low altitude, the views are very spectacular indeed.
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