Day Four: Parking Lot
It was a warm summer evening as I walked to my car. The air was sweet from the humidity. As I approached my car, I noticed something tucked under the wiper. It was a note folded several times into a triangle and a single, red rose. You know, the ones you find at the gas station next to the Slim Jim’s.
I picked up the note and unfolded it several times. It was from this new guy I had started dating. It wasn’t poetry or anything. It was a note about his day and how he was thinking of me and that he couldn’t wait to talk to me again. You need to remember that this was pre-cell phone and pre-email days. You had to wait until both people were home at the same time to call them on the phone. It’s weird to even think about it now, but maybe we should leave hand written notes more often.
The new guy I was dating is now my husband. It has been almost thirty-four years since that night when I was standing in the parking lot. Most people do not know that he is Dyslexic. Rob wasn’t tested until he was in ninth grade and he spent the next four years of high school trying to catch up. I know many people think that Dyslexia is about writing your letters backwards, but that is a gross misunderstanding. It is actually something structural in the brain. The best description I have read is that the mind sees everything in 3D which of course makes writing a challenge. Letters are one dimensional and it is difficult for my husband to even tell if the letters are upside down or backwards. The question I get on a daily basis from my husband is “does this look right”?
It has been frustrating for him and even more so when he is tired. Sometimes we joke that he writes in code and I am the only one who can decipher it. We would make a great spy team. Yet, I know it is infuriating. School felt impossible to him and he would end up throwing his books down in exasperation. His saving grace was wood shop and auto-mechanics. The advantage that Dyslexics have on the average person is that they see things in 3D. All they need to do is close their eyes and they can visualize the finished product or how to fix the problem. And my guy can fix just about anything.
So there I was standing in a parking lot reading a note from a guy I was crushing on and I fell in love.
“cant wait 2 c u agin” (Rob was crushing texting before it was even invented).
How much courage must it take to send a hand written note to a girl when it is your greatest struggle? He could have left the flower and a note that read, “from Rob”. But he put himself out there. He took a risk. Do you know what love does? Love takes a risk. Love allows itself to be vulnerable all the while knowing it might get hurt. He did not know if I would laugh or what I would think. He simply knew that he had to take a chance.
But I didn’t laugh. I was impressed with his determination and fortitude. I guess it’s what made me fall in love. If he was willing to take a risk like that, then how far would he be willing to go? It turns out he was willing to go 34 years into a life with me and our children.
Today I wonder when was the last time I took a risk for love. When was the last time I put myself out there? When was the last time you took a risk for someone or something that you care about? Maybe this Lenten season we could reflect on this together. Maybe we could ask God for the strength and courage to take a chance on love.