Lessons of Love

I’ve known Jenn for only five months, and already I cannot envision the future without her. If you don’t know her yet, you should — silly, artistic, adventuresome, beautiful, and in possession of a wisdom that most 60-year-olds lack. And it is this wisdom that is serving as a catalyst for important and necessary changes in my life.

For many years, I was incredibly self-centered. If you were to convene a “Matthew McGarity Past Lover’s Convention,” besides serving punch and pie you’d likely want to know why I had accumulated such a huge roster of ex-girlfriends over the years. I’d bet you good money that the most-common reason they’d say we broke up would be, “because it was always all about him.” Yep, all about what I wanted and how I had to have it, even if it upset the person I was with. Years ago, I recall having my company offer me a voluntary opportunity to work overseas for three straight months while I was dating someone seriously stateside. Guess what I decided to do without seriously consulting that girlfriend — and guess who is no longer said girlfriend. This person knows who she is but has never heard me apologize for it, for I didn’t feel sorry for that until recently. So‚ I’m sorry and wish I’d said something to that effect before now.

But why am I sorry now? When I left Jenn’s apartment this morning to catch a flight, I left her a sweet note (attached to a batch of fresh-baked cookies!). In the midst of writing, I told Jenn that the most important thing I’ve learned from her is how to be selfless. This was a difficult lesson to learn, for the best friend of my self-centeredness is a stubbornness which kept me from getting past myself.

For many years, I did not believe in God and this was a comfortable choice for me. It felt good to decide something even if it was to not believe. And it was a hard decision, for I knew it might preclude me from settling down. Jenn, born and raised Catholic, continued to talk to me, convinced that I was not truly atheist.

But one of the most-humbling nights of my life was the one Friday Jenn and I were planning to go out — and how she called me to say that she couldn’t see me anymore. She called things off because she couldn’t let herself become more involved with someone that did not believe in God. I remember lying on my bed, still dressed in my nice date clothes, and brooding. The last time I stared that much at the ceiling was 11th grade English, and all night I despaired because I might be alone for the rest of my life if this continued.

I must say that the sweetest thing Jenn has ever said to me was when she told me that I was the answer to her prayers. For years, the girl suffered through some tough times and persevered because of her love of God. And for years, she waited for Him to provide her with some ration of happiness — and along came Atheist Boy here. To her, it had to be a sign. Very early the next morning, Jenn called me — she had reconsidered because she couldn’t walk away from someone that might be what God had steered her way. And since then, I have seriously questioned all of my choices. She still marvels at the fact I read the Bible now, and last weekend we went to church together for the first time. And hopefully not the last.

So I am terribly happy because I am finding a peace which has eluded me for years. I’m in love.

And speaking of going to a church with Jenn, notice anything sparkly on my sweetie’s left hand?

I love you, darling!