Thanks to a friend and a blind date, I met the man of my dreams; only he turned out to be more than I dreamed possible. Our first date was perfect. We went to the movies, and he held my hand. Other guys had held my hand before, but the simple gesture of affection usually prompted twenty questions. I waited, but no questions were asked.
As the dates progressed, I continued to anticipate the usual questions, but they never surfaced – not even in his eyes.
When I met his family, I was terrified when the day arrived. Honestly, by this point, I believed that perhaps God had answered my prayer. I had asked Him to send me someone to see the person underneath the scars first, and I believed he couldn’t see my hands as they were. I was falling in love with him, and I was so afraid his family would open his eyes, and he would see my imperfections. The thought of him looking at me as a burden he didn’t have the heart to carry terrified me. He held power to destroy my heart in his hands. Little did I know then, but I held his heart in my hands as well.
I tortured myself and didn’t give him enough credit. With every date, I figured this was it. This will be the date he discovers my imperfections and cuts a trail. And then one day unexpectedly he picked up my hand, looked at it as if it were really beautiful, and kissed it as a valued treasure. From that moment on, I wasn’t afraid anymore. He had slain my demons from the past and offered me his unconditional love.
I will never forget how I felt when he slipped the little velvet box out of his pocket. That night underneath the stars, he took my hand in his and asked me to be his forever. As he slipped the diamond ring on my finger my breath caught in my throat, and my eyes filled with tears. With all of the people in the world to love, he chose me. He didn’t have to love me. There was no family obligation. So many times he could have walked away from me, but he chose to stay. His love for me was real – I could see it in his eyes and feel it in his touch.
While I was so thankful for him and his love, in the back of my mind, I thought he deserved better than me. He deserved a woman without scars and an unknown diagnosis. The day I took his last name before God, our family, and friends, I knew he would enter the ugliness of my life. People would stare at him and wonder what possessed him to marry a woman with scars. I loved him enough to spare him the heartache but too much to walk away. I tried to convince myself he would be better off without me. Simply put, he refused to let me go without a fight.
One year later, we were married without him even asking about my hands. We had a simple ceremony with only immediate family at my parent’s house. A part of me wanted the church wedding I had always dreamed of, but my fears prevented it from happening. Even after we got our marriage license, I was so afraid he would change his mind. So, I opted to get married at my parent’s house that way, if he changed his mind, I wouldn’t have to suffer the humiliation of standing at the altar with no groom.
The morning of our wedding, I was so nervous. I paced and looked at the clock, counting the minutes until his arrival. When he walked through the door, looking as nervous as I felt, with the grin I loved so much on his face, I knew it would all work out.
It’s amazing to me now how I assumed he would be better off without me initially. At that time, I felt he had given me everything possible with his love, and I had nothing significant to offer him in return. Our anniversary usually turned out to be the one occasion when he told me the words in his heart. Usually, I got sappy cards that confessed his undying love, that I found absolutely priceless! However, there was one year when he showed me exactly what his heart felt for me. If we live to be old, I don’t think he could ever top the Love Plant.
That year, like most, we were poor. I mean really poor. He asked me what I wanted, and I knew we couldn’t afford anything extravagant, but he was determined to buy me something. So, I suggested a simple houseplant and he agreed.
He worked the night shift at the time, so I knew when he came home from work, he would have my present. He woke me up in the wee hours of the morning. As I walked into the living room to see my gift, he stood there grinning like a fool, thinking he had done something great. I sighed and fought back the tears.
The plant was dead!
Brown leaves were lying in the floor around the plant and many more threatened to fall. I tried to sound grateful, but I was mad. I figured he went into the store, grabbed the plant closest to the door, and didn’t even notice it was hideous. Then, I felt bad; I thought perhaps he had bought it because it was on clearance. However, the receipt on the counter showed he had paid full price.
He had definitely rendered me speechless. I guess the expression on my face, or the withheld thank you, alarmed him and made him question me.
“I thought you wanted a plant,” he said, clearly frustrated.
“I did! I wanted a plant with green, shiny leaves. But this one . . . this one is dead,” I said, as my eyes filled with tears.
He sat down on the couch and pulled me into his arms. “When I went into the store all of the other plants were beautiful. I knew someone would buy them, but this one was dying. That’s how I felt before I met you. I was dying and your love helped save me. I thought maybe you could save the plant, too,” he said.
That was one of the sweetest things anyone had ever said to me. I cried – not tears of sorrow or anger but joy and thankfulness.
The next day I bought a new container, transplanted it, pruned it and stood back to watch it grow. It was as if it had grown right before my eyes. The leaves turned bright green and were shiny. It was the most beautiful plant I had ever seen. Pruning became a weekly chore, and the plant reached the ceiling several times. It was our love plant, and it grew just like our love – strong and beautiful. I hope never to forget the love plant and the love that bought it.
Have a beautiful day!