Monday, October 12, 2009

A Decade in Love- Pt II

In the summer of 1996 we crossed paths again when I visited my mother. I didn’t know what to say to him at first. All I could feel was a mixture of pain and great joy. I knew I was still in love with him- and could see he still had eyes for me. We spoke for hours trying to make sense of things but resolved that our worlds were too different to make our love work. We hugged goodbye; “Don’t worry honey, you never know what the future holds,” he said, “ten years from now we might just find each other one last time.” “And if that happens, don’t be afraid to come to me, I will leave aside whoever I’m dating.” I tried to hold back the tears, but still they fell on his shoulder.

From that day on, my heart began counting the days, months, and years until I met him again. The first year was the worst; I wept uncontrollably as if a part of me had died. Countless nights, I forced myself to eat and sleep. My family was worried, hearing me speak of him often. They knew I hadn’t let go of him. Not approving of our relationship in the first place, they said that it was better to forget him- the pain would go away soon. But it never did. I dreamt with him almost every night, sometimes good dreams; sometimes nightmares I couldn’t decipher. I dreamt I saw him sitting on steps, staring out into the heavy rain, his arms folded on his knees- waiting for me. I stroked his hair passing by him and up the steps, bidding him to come. In another dream, Nathan and I were laying side by side on a bed of green grass in an open field. We were staring up at the clear blue sky when suddenly a giant hand came out from the clouds, cut open our chests, removed our hearts and stitched in new ones. I woke up thinking, ’What a crazy dream, but this is a good sign; we won’t have to wait ten years.’ He’ll be coming for me soon. But he never did.

A second and third year went by- impatience and bitterness settled in. ‘Will it really happen?’ I thought, ‘will I ever see him again?’ I began losing hope, praying fervently for him, hoping he was doing better than me. At another visit to New Jersey I saw his sister and we spoke of him. She said he had moved away and from time to time would call her and share his dreams. She said he too would think of me and dream with me often. After telling her some of my dreams, especially, where I saw him staring out into the rain; in astonishment, she said, “That’s not possible; Nathan had that exact dream two weeks ago.” I remembered then it had been two weeks since mine. ‘This must be a good sign’ I thought. But the signs and years came and went and still- no sight of him.

In August 1999, I moved to New York City, hours away from both my families. I wanted to be left alone and find myself along the way; so I rarely visited either family. I climbed corporate ladders, traveled different countries, joined poetry and choir groups in church, went out with good friends. Still the void of him haunted my mind. And from time to time, I’d search for his face amongst endless crowds. I refused to admit that I still missed him after all this time. I engulfed myself in work masking the loneliness I felt. I entertained myself in empty relationships that never measured up to him. In the depths of my heart, I knew he was the only one for me. In March 2005, I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. The city had chewed me up and spit me out. Thoughts of Nathan crossed my mind. Somehow, I was still hanging onto his love. At times, I thought back to his last words to me- I felt we were cursed by them. I felt I would never truly be happy in life, no matter where I lived.

My brother and his wife opened their home in New Jersey to me. Once again I moved out of state and close to family. I considered myself a gypsy with the many times I had moved. I didn’t know my heart was searching for Home. I was broken, depressed and after all I had done, my life was empty. My prayers had grown dim. I stayed with my brother, his wife and four children for one year. They cared for me as if I was a child. When I began feeling better and more optimistic on life, my brother announced he and his family were moving away to Ohio. They asked me to join them, but I refused. I felt a sense of panic. But one day, stopping at a red-light, I asked God for direction. “Lord, where do I go from here?” I asked, “I have no family of my own, no one to care for me, I’m drawn in many directions. Lord, what do you want me to do?” I heard a still, small voice, “Be still and know that I am God!” For the first time in a long time, I felt as if God was preparing a huge surprise for me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I remained there in that part of New Jersey until I was led up north again where my mother used to live. Years before, she had moved back to her homeland, Puerto Rico.

One December day, in 2006, I took a wrong turn and was led to a restaurant where Nathan’s younger brother worked many years ago. I stopped in for a bite to eat and to ask for directions. When I looked up from the menu, there he was. Nathan’s brother, all grown up, with a stunned look on his face. “What are you doing here?” he hugged me, “I thought you were living in New York?” “And I thought you weren’t working here anymore!” I answered sarcastically. I explained to him that I had been in New Jersey a while- living a little more to the south. “I’m now trying to rent an apartment up this way, but it’s been a while since I’ve been here,” I laughed, “I got lost or rather, took a wrong turn searching for it and somehow ended up on this road.” “Funny,” he said, “my brother, Nathan, just moved back in town as well.” My heart skipped a beat. “He’s had it pretty rough these past years, I’m sure he’d be happy to see you again,” he told me. “You think?” I asked, “After all this time?” “What about his girlfriend or wife?” I asked him trying to get more details of his life. He smiled, shaking his head, and told me Nathan lived around the corner from the library. The library? The same library I frequently sat in almost every day only a few steps away from his house. My stomach was in knots. After our short conversation, everything fell into place. It couldn’t be! It was then; I remembered it was 2006- Ten years! Ten long years, after Nathan spoke those words to me, “… ten years from now; we might just find each other one last time.”

A few days later, I worked up the courage to go see him. I knocked on the door and his voice cut through me like a knife, “Come in.” Many times I had dreamed of this day and wondered if I ever saw him, would the love still be there or, had I, all these years, hung onto an imaginary love. The house was filled with his family who were visiting. His mother, sister, nephews and nieces were all there. I felt a little out of place, wondering what they were thinking. They all welcomed me with smiles and hugs. They asked me tons of questions- where I had been; what had I done with my life. Before I got around to him, I felt his eyes heavy on me, piercing me with his love. I walked over to him, stared into his green eyes and squeezed him tightly. With a broken voice and tears in my eyes, I whispered, “It’s been ten years, my love, the curse is broken.” He searched my eyes; I could feel him shaking. He smiled at me with love and said, “It’s good to find you again. I searched for you, but I was told you moved. After all these years, I never stopped loving you.”

I was home; he was always my home. He was my best friend and my soulmate. He was created for me and I was created for him.

It’s been close to three years from that December day. Our love has only grown stronger. We, now, both understand that losing and finding each other again was all part of God’s great design for our lives. We accept the fact that only a Higher Power could keep our hearts yearning for each other for more than a decade. Today we hold the same friendship with a loving God that cared enough to knit our hearts together, forever.

Our Love Story
copyright © 2009 Ellie Kings
Art by Jacqueline Gerritsen


Susan R. Mills said...

What a great story. Is it true????

~Ellie Kings~ said...

Yes, Susan it's a true love story. Our live testimony. Nathan is my sweetheart, the love of my life! We're fortunate to have found each other again after much suffering while apart. I believe God knew exactly what he was doing all along. It took Him a decade to bring us back together, but it was at His time not ours. We were two different people back then, now more mature, well, like I said God knew what He was doing and I'm grateful for His timing. :)

Tamika: said...

Ellie what a beautiful and painful story!

I am so glad that God orchestrates the type of second chances that we can only dream of!

Blessings to you...

~Ellie Kings~ said...

Yes, a dream come true Tamika!
That's our DADDY!

Jody Hedlund said...

Wonderful story, Ellie. Thanks for sharing it. Did you and Nathan get to a point where you resolved your religious differences, the issue that held you apart the first time? You allude to that, but I'm curious what made the difference the second time you got together.

Veronica Barton-Dean said...

Hey lady...sorry I've been on overnights so I haven't gotten to catch up the last couple of days.

What an amazing story! The connection I love how strong it felt throughout. Like it was that presence that haunted them(and you). Love that strong creeps into our dreams rather we want it to or not. Our heart doesn't let us forget what's meant to be no matter how far we try to run from it. You are very lucky to have such a personally amazing story to tell:)

~Ellie Kings~ said...

Jody- to answer your question.... The first time around we were young and naive; I was a fanatical legalistic christian, literally! He was a non-believer (gentile).

While apart, God taught me to lead a life, based more on "relationship not religion". My christian views aren't 'under the law' anymore but 'under the grace' of God. All the while, Nathan was being pruned for the Lord, more open-hearted for Him and His Word. The second time around God Himself confirmed our union.

I've been a Christian for 21 years and although I've studied God's word much, ironically today, Nathan often leads me to biblical verses that I have never observed under that kind of light. His wisdom of the word of God is amazing. A baby teaching the old! Who knew? :)

Veronica- So true, I cannot tell you enough that this kind of love only comes around once in a lifetime. Believe me, we both tried to find it in other places, and realized that our love is a special 'soulmate' kind of love.

We finish each other's sentences, he asks me a question in his mind and I answer him out loud, whenever something's wrong with him, I feel it, vice-versa. It used to creep us out... but now we're used to it. So yes, the connection is unbelievable!

Lori said...

what a beautiful, amazing story! I knew it couldn't end like that! Still, I also find it hard to believe it's true.

~Ellie Kings~ said...

Oh Lori! Sometimes when we're driving somewhere, or watching a movie I stare at him for a moment and my eyes water because I still can't believe it myself. The funny thing is sometimes I catch him staring at me, which is a good thing. I love him so much it still hurts. Isn't God good?!

Tabitha Bird said...

God sure knows what he is doing hey :)

~Ellie Kings~ said...

Yes He does Tab! Thanks for stopping by.

Stephanie said...

Ellie-beautiful! Just beautiful. All is in God's time not our time.
May God continue to bless you both always.
Love the music. Norah Jones always reminds me of my mother. My brother played Norah Jones songs to her on his guitar while she was dying. And that version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow we played at my husband's best friend's funeral.
Blessings to you Ellie!

Shelli said...

wow this could so be a book - congrads on your reunion.

~Ellie Kings~ said...

Stephanie; I'm so sorry about your mother & your husband's best friend. I know death too well... 3 within 5 months. My love goes out to you and your family! Glad you enjoyed the music. At first I wasn't sure if it was right for the blog, but I've had good response so thanks again.

Shelli; glad you could stop by. And thanks, I actually had thought of writing a book about our story. I'm sure you can tell that was the short version. :)

for I am so many things.. said...

Ellie -
I'm just reading this heart aches even more for you. I am just glad that you got to live a wonderful love story.

My thoughts are with you.