Sunday, June 15, 2014

Love notes

The ABC’s of knowing God better: the letter “L”


Thy steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, thy faithfulness to the clouds. – Psalm 36:5 (RSV)
God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.  – 1 John 4:16 (NKJV)

My first high school boyfriend, a tall, skinny basketball player nicknamed “Rebo” (short for “rebound” – his job on the court) was the first boy in high school who liked me back. Finally, I got love notes like the other girls. I was loved! Oh, joy! He even gave me a huge stuffed St. Bernard that took up nearly half my single bed for Valentine’s Day. I named it “Rebo.” (Duh.)
Our romance lasted three months. On the bus ride home from our class picnic at the end of the school year, he handed me a note and told me not to read it until I got home.
It was a “Dear Michele” letter.
I was devastated. I mean, I finally get a boy to like me back, and he dumps me for a cheerleader!
I grieved all summer, sitting in the dark living room on the hard floor in front of the stereo, listening to Bobby Vinton and all those emo songs back then. I didn’t think I’d ever run out of tears or that my heart, shattered in a million pieces, would ever be whole again.
Then one summer evening, I went to a church bazaar with friends, including the boy who became my high school sweetheart. It was the last night of the event, and the magical August night sky blossomed with fireworks to end the evening.
Well, that was the first display of fireworks that night. The second was when I arrived home after walking my best friend, who lived across town, home. I should have called when we got to Kathie’s house. (Remember, no cell phones existed back then.)
It was after midnight when I climbed the front porch steps. My father, who’d never gotten angry with me before, met me at the door – not unruffled and quiet, like he usually was. After our heated exchange, I stormed to my room, grounded for two weeks.
I treated Dad with icy silence the next day, Sunday. Monday he left for work. He traveled for his job and would be gone a week.
Wednesday I received a letter.

My dear Michele, Dad wrote. Perhaps by now you are over the mad spell at me for scolding you.
It had been the first time I’d ever stayed out late without calling, he explained.

I was sick with worry after walking up to the bazaar and not finding you there, he wrote. By that time I was imagining everything.
Mom told me he’d ventured out in his pajamas, poking through the bushes along the way.

It is so hard for a parent to be cross with a child, he concluded. But sometimes it is necessary for your own good. Perhaps when you have children of your own, you will understand how we feel.
My icy heart melted. One moment of panic, I realized, doesn’t cancel out years of steadfast love. I clutched the letter to my heart, tears once more filling my eyes. But this time they were tears of joy.
Love notes – I think my father’s trumps them all.

Thank you, Father God, for Your steadfast, faithful, and unfailing love. And thank you for the Bible, Your love note to me. Amen.

Special-Tea: Read Romans 8:31–39

(Love note image courtesy of StuartMiles/

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