With Valentine's Day just days away, I'm going to tell you a love story. Not just any love story, but it happens to be my own. I don't normally like to get all "lovey-dovey" and sappy on the blog. No one likes that really. But as I have yet to put on my mascara for the day and everyone else is turning in to big piles of mushy goodness already, excuse me for temporarily dropping my sarcastic card and telling you a quick fairy tale. I promise you won't regret listening.
Twelve years ago this month, I got to know a skinny little geek. We'll call him BC. There I stood in the sanctuary at church on a Wednesday night in the youth group with stars in my eyes for this adorable keyboard player onstage. There was just something about him. Besides that he could play the piano, which had always been a secret wish of mine. There has always been something about the amazingly strong and beautiful melodies that come from striking those keys that I can listen to for hours. And as I sat and worshiped God that night, I also silently worshiped and adored the music that came from the heart of the one playing the tunes. He was confident. And passionate. And prayerful. And quirky. Yes, I even loved that he had the most spot-on Kermit the Frog impression that I'd ever heard. Granted, his shirts we're 7 sizes too big and he wore converse tennis shoes every single day, but those things were fixable. I was infatuated. And as I listened to him lead our church into the presence of God week after week, I fell more in love with the man behind that keyboard. For all the right reasons.
He wasn't from my small town. He was from a small town of his own an hour or so away. Him and his friends felt God leading them to our church to lead praise and worship and so they sacrificed and drove every week. They had been a band for years. Finding each other through circles of friends and learning how to play their instruments as they went. They were self-taught and defintely talented. BC was intrigued by music from an early age. His parents went to a small church where the pastors wife taught piano lessons. She had an extra piano, and after she had offered it to members of her own family without acceptance, she offered it to BC's family. That big gift became the instrument that brought him to a place of experiencing God in a new way. One that he fell in love with. Worship. It would become his life.
An hour away, in another small town, I found myself in a world of chaos. Growing up in a home full of constant discord, the shouting never stopped. After years of putting my hands over my ears and praying for relief, I found a solution. My Grandma bought me my first Walkman after I got saved and I immediately started filling my drawers with cassette after cassette of worship music. On those nights when things would get dark and intense at home, I would retreat to my room, put on my headphones and tune everything out. Turn "up" instead. Losing myself in God's presence became my escape. I loved the melodies and message....that everything was going to be okay. That someday the fighting would cease and there would be silence. And the only thing that would be heard was the sweet sound of a piano playing softly as I went to sleep. My aunt and uncle pastored a small church some towns away. She was a piano teacher and if it hadn't have been for the distance, I would have been taking lessons. When they bought a brand new piano one year, they offered their old one to me, with the promise to teach me to play. I was ecstatic at the idea. But it was forbid. For reasons foreign to me, we could not accept the gift from my aunt and uncle. My dad was a proud man and had all sorts of resentment towards the spiritual influence that my aunt and uncle had offered our family. The gift of music...the gift of escape for me was forfeited. Offered to another. But they couldn't take the music away from me. For years and years after, I continued to put on my headphones and escape into worship. God became my escape from the horror that was my homelife for so many years. And then I walked in the doors of this sanctuary and worship became even more real to me.
Our attraction to each other was something magnetic. We were as different as night and day except for a few common loves....God and music. And boy, was that enough. We fell in love immediately. As we both had never fell before. It was a pure and innocent and godly love. We wanted good things for each other. And we were each other's greatest gift. He helped me learn about worship and art and I taught him about compassion and patience. He knew how to draw, I knew how to write. He knew how to play this beautiful instrument, and I knew how to worship. We grew closer together because we grew closer to the Lord. And we praised God for the gift of music in our lives.
A few years later, as I hold his hand and we walk together through my relatives at a Christmas gathering for the first time, a couple of people stood to greet BC as if they knew him already. My aunt and uncle, the ones who extended the gift of the piano to me, are the former pastors of BC's childhood church. After my father's rejection, the piano that should have been sitting in my living room, was the one that was currently sitting in BC's. The reason that he developed his passion for music and grew closer to God was because of that piano. We were more connected than I'd ever thought possible. I realize now that if I had been allowed to accept that gift, I would have never met BC. The gift to him had become an act of providence that orchestrated a beautiful melody bringing two people together at just the perfect moment in time.
Eleven years later, we still accept that God's timing is perfect. We smile at the mysterious ways that he brings about His will and perfect plan for our lives. He sings over us. Our entire lives, He's been singing over us. Leading us to each other. I have to say, we've had one of the hardest years of our marriage this last year. But we can't deny that we are together for a purpose. We marvel at the song that God is writing of our lives. We don't know all the words yet, and sometimes all we hear is the faintest tinkling of piano keys, but we trust in His melody. We will worship the God "together" who gives us a new reason, a thousand new things to sing about, every single day.
Thank you God for our real life fairy tale.