Monday, February 22, 2010

Love still holds on (by Billy Coffey)

image courtest of

If you were here last Monday, then you've already read Part One of this story. If not, check out Holding On.

Here's Part Two:

“You’re gonna have to write about this, aren’t you?” she asked.

I nodded and said, “I’m afraid so.”

She looked down and toed the concrete. A faint smile crossed her mouth. “Awesome,” she whispered.

And it was awesome. The sort of story that I like to tell, part II of what will hopefully be a trilogy, complete with a “happily ever after” at the end.

Last May I wrote a post about her, her boyfriend, and their impending and involuntary separation. The college year was over and she was heading home to Utah, leaving both her love and her desire here. Her boyfriend lived and worked about three miles from campus.

Neither had ever believed in love at first sight. Not that they were jaded, mind you. Just practical. It takes time to fall in love. Time and effort and more than a little doubt. At least in their experience.

But experience isn’t always the best teacher, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Love is a power unto itself. It cannot be bottled for study or manipulated for experimentation. It simply washes over you and leaves you breathless.

Which is what happened to them.

The problem with that sort of thing is that it temporarily suspends all rational thought concerning some of the bigger issues. The fact that she was basically a visitor here and he was a permanent resident didn’t cross their minds until a few weeks before the school year ended. Which is when she approached me with this question:

Could their love survive the distance that would be between them?

I answered yes. Of course. Because love is all-powerful. The force that moves both world and man. Love conquers all.

That’s what I said then. And this is what I can say now—I didn’t really believe those words at the time. Not in general of course, but for them specifically. Because as powerful and conquering as love is, it is also an exceedingly fragile thing. Especially when you’re barely out of your teens.

So yes, I had my doubts. But I hid them as any good person should. After all, the general theory still holds—despite it all, love truly can hang on.

When I saw her this afternoon for the first time in four months, she was smiling. A good sign. And I noticed that she still wore her boyfriend’s class ring on her necklace. Another good sign. Yes, she said, they had made it through the summer. In fact, they made it with very little effort.

“So modern technology held you together?” I asked, remembering her prediction that emails and phone calls would never suffice.

“No,” she answered. “I mean yeah, sure. But no, too.”

I wrinkled my brow.

“We wanted to keep in touch,” she said. “I felt like I had to talk to him every day or I’d just go crazy. But honestly? I think if we had to go the whole summer without ever hearing from each other, we’d have been fine. I’d have come back here and we would have been just as much in love as before. Maybe more. Know what I mean?”

Yes. I did.

I knew husbands and wives who were at that moment separated by thousands of miles because one or both were serving our country. I had a friend who because of work was about to spend three months away from his family. And just mere months ago I attended the wedding of two people who had only seen one another four times in three years.

How can this happen? Beats me.

Is it any wonder why we have such a hard time describing and defining love? Faith seems easier—“the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.” Yes. That’s it exactly. And hope has been defined as faith holding its hand out in the dark. Perfect.

But love? You can’t define love. Love is simply one of those things that must be experienced instead of pondered. It can be expressed but not explained, bent but not broken, and tested but not found wanting.

Which is why it’s the most wonderful thing in the world.


To read more from Billy Coffey, visit him at at his website and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.


Glynn said...

Love is also greatest of these -- which may explain some things, too.

Tina Dee Books said...

Yes! It is the most wonderful, powerful, incredible thing in the world. I'm glad God lavishes us with it, I'm only sorry that I take it for granted and forget to bask in it most of the time.

Love is wonderful, something you want for yourself, yet something you can't help but to share.

Thank you for your words, Billy! And thank you Katdish, Coffey is better than coffee to start your day! Have a blessed week!

Queen said...

Great post!

jasonS said...

Enjoyed this post and I remember the preceding story. If God is love and He is undefinable and mysterious at His core, then it makes sense that love would follow this same pattern... Good stuff.

Kelly Sauer said...

This story brings tears for me. It brings up a question I've faced in the past... Can love be killed? I was the girl leaving for home, willing to wait on love I knew was there...

He said he killed it. He couldn't kill it without destroying everything in himself that reminded him of me. What do you do with that?

You are right. It is a force of its own.

And Katdish - I love that you say "the Twitter." You crack me up. I wish I was so originally funny as you!

Helen said...

I am very happy for them.
I wish them continuing love.

Bonnie Gray said...

"Love is simply one of those things that must be experienced instead of pondered."


I love how you can saccharin sweet stories without giving me a tooth ache. Just sweet as the words go down.

I love the one about faith holding out it's hand in the dark, too. That's a new one for me.

L.L. Barkat said...

I agree that distance doesn't separate those who love. But it sure can hurt to be far. :)

♥ Kathy said...

It is a very fragile thing.

L.T. Elliot said...

Now that's an incredible ending and a testament to the power that is love.

Rebecca said...

*gleeful clapping ensues*

I have been rooting for them to work out, even though I know how hard it can be for a young relationship to survive that sort of test.

From one tested love to another: YAY! :D

SimplyDarlene said...

How can this happen? Beats me... said in response to love separated by both time and distance, yet it survives.

Oh, I have lived this recently. For 10 1/2 months my husband was living in a studio apartment in another state while my son and I and the critters stayed at our home.

((ring, ring, ring)) The phone rang just now--it is 5:30 in the morning. It was my husband, asking me to pray for him. He just went into the ditch after spinning a few 360's on the freeway. He is okay, but says his blood pressure is up and he is shaken. A good man stopped to see if he was okay and then helped push him outta the ditch. "Would I pray?" is what he asked.

Yes, baby I will, I did, I will. Tears drip now. That man is my love. And despite being separated on two different occasions (first for 125 days in college soon after marrying and then the recent relocation separation), our love grows stronger and deeper.

Sure there are times when I wonder who this man is. But I reckon he wonders the same about me. We came together in high school before knowing the Lord and while pregnant with our son, He came into our lives. We had no good examples of marriage in our families, we are beating the odds. Us, with God at the center.

So, I sit here crying with thankfulness that the Lord saved my husband after he swerved to miss a stupid skunk. Why did He do it? Oh, thank you God. And forgive me for being a poop at 4am when the alarm sounded. And I am thankful I stood at the window praying for his safety as taillights dimmed in the distance.


My man holds not only the key, but my heart. And thankfully the Lord holds it all.

(okay, that was long and I will likely cut & paste some of it for my post today or tomorrow--my tears may short the keyboard)

Praise God and blessings to you all.

Billy Coffey said...

Country Girl - That was incredible.