You - you're doing better than you think you are -
and words spoken do hurt, don't they? I don't understand or I don't remember or you think you are the only one. But I do understand and remember and you are not the only one.
I'm not really sure why Mama let me go that day. It was barely summer hot 1982, not too hot but hot enough I slipped on shorts early that morning before he drove up in that white beat-up Ford to get me. He'd later trade it for an old beat up yellow Pinto.
I slid in. All the way over I slid. His knee touched mine and he drove the hour with one arm on the wheel and the other across the back of the seat. And I was crazy mad about him.
I was only fifteen. Too young to be sliding over and way too young to be crazy mad for anyone. But there ain't no denying it.
We drove to the lake for his family reunion. And I remember being nervous. He was tall and handsome. A football player and none too shy with the girls. I was skinny. Maybe ninety pounds soaking wet? I slept with a retainer every night not so patiently waiting for the gap in my two front teeth to close. I had contacts now so the plastic frames were gone but the Mississippi humidity was still unforgiving to my hair.
And he was crazy mad about me. I was fun and funny and flirty and all these things, to him, made up for me not having the look of a typical girlfriend to one of the hotshot football players. But I was not an it girl. Never was never will be. And even he couldn't fix that.
And Mama didn't like him. And Mama always got her way. And here we clashed and clashed hard. And so began the beginning of a high school stand-off. I did everything right at first. I waited. He waited. We waited the required time she had said before the answer was still no and we took matters into our own hands. And we were caught, often. Almost every time we were caught.
So I'm not really sure why Mama had agreed to let me go this day.
But here I was. And there I stood with his family under wooden pavilion surrounded by chicken and potato salad and jello molds melting in the sun when she looked me up and down and said
Well, James honey, love really is blind, isn't it.
With a period at the end. Because the question had already been asked and answered.
And tears stung and I barely made it out of the crowd before I broke down.
And he took me to the fire tower that overlooked that national forest and told me it didn't matter. Told me she was the one who was blind.
And he loved me four years till I wrote Dear John.
It was Shakespeare who wrote love is blind. And he wrote it often but once for Jessica loving Lorenzo and it was romantic.
But it wasn't romantic that day and sticks and stones aren't all that hurt.
And I didn't get over it. For years I didn't get over it. I carried it around and often took it out. Am I over it now? I think so.
And that's okay. To just think so. Because it is a huge part of me - and maybe I don't want it completely gone.
And you are okay. Because you are doing better than you think you are.
Because He who began a good work in you will be faithful to the end.
And the end is a really really long time away. So relax. Treat others well.
Let every word spoken to you and every action done to you grow you into the person God created you to be. Not the person hateful words and actions can make you be.
You control you.
As Cinderella's mama told her - Have courage and be kind.