Lost and Found: Love at First Sight

Book: The Bridges at Madison County

Author: Robert James Waller

Where to buy: I really don’t know, one of my College thesis mates just lend me this book, and the price tag says, “Book Sale”.

Do you believe in love at first sight? I don’t, maybe with the 2nd sight.

Do you believe that real love can happen in a span of 4 days? I don’t, maybe with 40 days.

But a while ago, in just one sitting, a cup of coffee, and 3 slices of bread, I suddenly believe that this kind of love is possible with tears flowing down my eyes, as I read a strange yet one-of-a-kind story of love that happened in 1965, that was 4 years before my mom was born and published just before my 3rd birthday in 1992. Indeed, I’m fortunate to be able to read it today, 48 years later after that awesome love-at-first-sight affair happened in Winterset, Iowa.

Yes, I wrote it right; it was just a 4-day affair, but reading the entire book, the writer’s researches, her journals, and his photos, I should know and believe that Robert James Wallers’ whirlwind kind of love in this novel is possible.

(I’m still in tears writing this…love stories like this one can really make me cry or maybe the hopeful romantic in me hopes that my love story will be as awesome as what I just read, worth reading through the years.)  

He was a traveling photographer for National Geographic, and she was a farmer’s wife. He was tasked to take photos of the bridges at Madison Country, and while looking for the last bridge, he got lost; he stopped and asked for directions. Fortunately, the wife was alone at home, she was sitting at the porch when this man came and asked her. She gave him the directions, and even offered herself to bring him there. (Take a note of this scene, for this is same as mine.)

As I read it, I know they complement each other in a thousand ways that I couldn’t write, that was their love and no writer can really bring justice if ever he/she attempted to do that. They were poetic, artistic, and full of passion and love. He made her live who she really is; he brought out her identity and characters from a shell and her childhood dreams that she once felt dead already. She made him feel that he was not lost and that he found what he has been searching for all his life.

Here’s an awesome description of what they had as he said it, “I think we’re both inside of another being we have created called ‘us’. We’re not really inside of that being. We are that being. We have both lose ourselves and created something else, something that exists only as an interlacing of the two of us. We’re in love, as deeply, as profoundly, as it’s possible to be in love.”

May be you’ll be asking me, 4 days? Is that they call love, for real?

Well, he said these lines that even I will never forget, “In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live.”

 They were certain that they have love in just 4 days. But as I understand it, they just had each other physically for 4 days, but they love each other until their deaths.

He asked him to run away with him, but she already has a family, a husband and 2 kids that she had responsibilities with, so she stayed. They never kept in touch after that 4 days, yet they remain to love each other until their last breaths, which made me conclude that no amount of distance, communication barriers, and physical absence can put an end to a love that made two hearts beat as one.

Let me share the lines they had in their dying hand-written letters; him for her and hers for her children…

He wrote:

To the universe, four days is no different than four billion light years. I try to keep that in mind. But, I am, after all, a man. And all the philosophical rationalizations I can conjure up do not keep me from wanting you every day, every moment, the merciless wail of time, of time I can never spend with you, deep within my head. I love you, profoundly and completely. And I always will. (1978)

She wrote:

In four days, he gave me a lifetime, a universe, and made the separate parts of me into a whole… I gave my family my life; I gave him what was left of me.  Though we never spoke again to one another, we remained bound together as tightly as it’s possible for two people to be bound. (1987)

If you’ll ask me, How come that was love? Or maybe you’ll say that’s adultery, pure lust, or whatever. My answer to you will be – I believe them that it was love. Her love for her husband and children prevailed than her love for herself and the man whom she fell in love with, that was a selfless kind of love; and as for him not destroying her family, her reputation and the lives of her children for the sake of his personal happiness, another selfless love.

Lovers need not to be together physically, what matter is that they keep the love in their hearts wherever they are.

 This love story is presented as a novelization of a true story, but it is in fact entirely fictional. However, I wanna share with you a real love story kind of similar with this, my love story.

There is one man who died and lives again and went up to His Father in heaven, but I can still feel His love surrounding me now. I may not be able to love Him just the same, but I know that He is love and that is the greatest love that I have – a selfless kind of love that didn’t exactly transpire in a bridge, but happened in Calvary where my Lover bridged Himself between heaven and earth.

Like the story above, my love story also begins when I found myself lost before and then I met Jesus; He just not answered me with directions, He also offered me Himself to be with me where I’m heading.  And there, I found what I had been looking for – one true love.

What happened with the lovers with the story? They were both cremated, and there ashes were scattered at Roseman Bridge, 7 years apart. He passed away in 1982; she died in 1989, still loving each other despite never seeing or hearing from each other after their 4 days of being together. His name was Robert Kincaid, and she was Francesca Johnson.

There’s also an award-winning movie for this novel showed in 1995; I haven’t watched it yet, but I know that the story is pretty good. I hope, like me, you feel and believe in what real love can do with this classic love story.

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On Decisions and Dating Goodbye

Book: I Kissed Dating Goodbye

Author: Joshua Harris

Where to buy: Leading bookstores and Christian bookstores nationwide

Let me begin this with the book’s last chapter, “Someday, I’ll have a (Love) Story to tell.” Indeed, each one of us have our own love stories to share, and as the author says, it’s our chosen story. We can choose to make it a story of purity, faith, and selfless love, or it can be a story of impatience, selfishness, and compromise. It can be a story that we can be proud to share or a story that will only bring us shame. After all, it’s our choice and the decisions we made.

Making decisions is a vital part of life. We make decisions as early as the moment we wake up whether to snooze that alarm or not until what side of the bed we will sleep at night and the countless decisions we made in between for the entire day. We cannot deny that we really have to decide in everything. When I first saw this book, it’s the book’s title that gives me the interest to open it, and I know that I made a good decision in my life reading this book.

The author made a decision to finally kiss dating goodbye for some personal reasons and best intentions. It was his best and brave decision that he shared  to the world. Now, Joshua Harris has been so famous for this book.

But what does this book have to do with decisions?

Well, for me, when we finally get to the point that our lives seems nowhere to go or meaningless already, we have to reflect and assess ourselves.

Here’s some of my self-assessment questions way back 2010, “What is the kind of life and relationship that I really want?”, “Can I go and live like this forever?”, “Will I have a happily ever after?”, “Can someone really love me with my flaws and all?”, “Am I ready for this and the consequences of my acts?”

I had so many questions back then. Holding this book, I finally decided to follow what Mr. Harris did – kissed dating goodbye. However, I failed to uphold this commitment. I dated but not for long. Again, I had fallen and had to reassess myself. Since then, I felt that dating was a sin, a thing that was never right to do.

Dating is not a sin though, but I felt so guilty. Why? Because I did it out of wrong motives and it all ended up in wrong decisions and actions that lead me to sin. I really agree with the author when he said, “The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.” Maybe, that’s what made me feel guilty. I made the wrong things.

Now this has become too personal already, so let me go back on how kissing dating goodbye became one of the best decisions I made.

Heartbreaking: The author’s lines that somehow hurts me because it’s true.

“There are relationships I can only look back on with regrets. I do my best to forget.”

Can we really forget? I do have a good memory, and those not-so-good memories will surely come to mind from time to time, sadly.

“I know that God has been faithful to forgive as I’ve asked Him to. But I’m still aware of the consequences of my selfishness. I gave my heart away too many times.”

This is the most hurting, knowing that I have hurt God and my future husband.

Baby Steps: The author’s lines that made me took a stand and take that first step in faith.

“I’ve come to understand that God’s lordship in my life doesn’t merely tinker with my approach to romance – it completely transforms it. God not only wants me to act differently; He wants me to think differently – to view love, purity, and singleness from His perspective, to have a new lifestyle and a new attitude. The basis of this new attitude is God’s love for us.”

Need I say more? God moved me to change and to really know what love is.

“Waiting until I’m ready for commitment before pursuing romance is just one example of letting Christ’s love control my relationship. Each person has to examine his or her own life and ask what it means to love others like Christ.”

That’s exactly what I did, and I’m grateful with my decision, for I know I made the right one.

A Promise: The author’s line that keeps me waiting in expectation with excitement.

“I kissed dating goodbye because I found out that God has something better in store.”

I agree with this because I know that God’s plans are always good, pleasing, and perfect. His ways are definitely higher and better than what I could ever dream and imagine.

The Reason: The author’s lines that keeps me going.

“The ultimate goal behind my choice isn’t to avoid pain. I know that even in a godly relationship I might face disappointment one day. The reason I want to love like Christ is so that one day I can stand in purity and blamelessness before God.”

“At the end of our lives, we won’t answer to everyone. We’ll answer to God. Our actions in relationships haven’t escaped God’s notice.”

In humility, when my time comes, I’ll stand in front of God and say, “I’m sorry for the sins I made in my past life and relationships, and thank you for Your grace that sustains me not to do the same things again.

Headlines: The author’s lines that give me hope.

“But here’s the good news: The God who sees all our sin is ready to forgive if we repent and turn from them.”

“Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for me, I know that God has forgiven me for the sins I’ve committed against Him. I don’t have to live overwhelmed with by regret or fear of the future. Because we serve a God who makes all things new, no matter how many mistakes we’ve made in the past.”

This is the best and surely the greatest news I ever received; Christ came to save.

An invite: The author’s lines that made me pursue this commitment.

“It’s this grace and this mercy that should motivate us to live differently for the rest of our lives.”

“I’m an unworthy sinner that God chose to rescue and forgive. This is love. And because I’ve experienced it – because Jesus died for me – I’m committed to a love life that’s controlled by Him. I invite you along.”

I finally accepted this invite last year in view of the love of Christ, and this is surely one of the best decisions I ever made. How about you? Will you come and join us in relationships bound in the love, grace, and mercy of God?

 This is Love.

There you go! I’m finally done sharing my insights on the book’s first chapter (So this is Love), and I won’t share the in between chapters anymore. It’s time for you to grab your own copy to read, understand and believe. Remember that someday it will be your own story to share. Mr. Joshua Harris’ love story is really amazing, and mine will surely be awesome as well that I am very excited to write about it soon.

It’s your choice and your decision to make. I started mine by kissing dating goodbye, loving God more, and waiting for the things that He has in store for me.

It’s your story to share, but I never said that it is only you who can author it. My next book review is about letting God be the author of your story, When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy.

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#4

While washing the dishes early morning…

Me:  “God, yung faith goals ko po good for the entire 2013. Hindi po good until 02-13 (February 2013). Super ka God, binuhos mo naman lahat ng isang bagsakan. (God, my faith goals are good for the entire 2013, not just until 02-13. You’re amazing God, You gave all at once.) I can’t contain it, but thank You so much! I love you.”

God: “I keep my promises, just keep your faith (Hebrews 11:11). Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). I am the God who can give all you want in just a snap of a finger because I am your father (Romans 8:17) and that’s how I love you.”

Me: “I know. I trust you.”

Then I started singing… “My God is an awesome God, He reigns with wisdom, power and love…” ♥

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#1

Awhile ago, as I had my morning devotion, I suddenly felt tears flowing down my eyes. I thought today is just another day of tears with Jesus until I found myself weeping already then I remembered what historians said about the apostle Peter, and the reason why he wept most of the time. Peter’s answer on why he weeps was “Desiderio Domini” which means “I dearly long to be with my Lord.” And, as I weep today with Jesus, I asked Him a lot of Whys?

I asked Him:  Why do You have to die?
He said:  Because my death will give you life. (John 3:16)

I asked Him: Why me?
He said: Because I love you. (Romans 5:8)

I asked Him, Why do You love me?
He said: Because that’s who I am. (1 John 4:8)

As I closed my Bible and wiped the tears that wets my face, I said to myself, “Desiderio Domini.” I moved on and started my day then I realized that today is the start of the so-called Love Month, and my Ultimate Lover (Jesus) just made me cry reminding me how much He loves me.

I’m not weeping anymore, but now I feel so LOVED!

Jesus, Why are you so sweet? ♥