In this section, we detail poignant stories of love which has been lost.
With the exception of two women, all of my expressions of romantic love have been for naught. Kindness , courteousness, little gifts and listening were not enough. Even the two women who returned my love eventually said, "I don't love you anymore...my feelings have changed.
One was very special. She threw me a birthday party, we drank from the same glass, we kissed to the top of the World Trade Center, and we shared similar interests and dreams.
When I was growing up in the public schools, I did not experience the ability to participate in normal school days functions. I was not athletic. I was teased. I was abused by peers. Before graduating I had suffered a concussion, had a lighted cigarette stuck in my pocket, and had been pushed down a flight of stairs. Besides being not athletic, I suffered from asthma, bronchitis, allergies and was a Christian when it was "cool."
When I met my now ex-fiance, we had an instant attraction. We both liked the arts and theatre. We were both creative. We were both looking for someone with whom to share our love. Although we were both non-traditional college students, she lived in a dorm. In any event, during that year, we went to football games, to the homecoming dance and cruise, to retreats at other colleges, and to New York City with members of her class to watch Broadway shows. The dorm living required some adjustment. We were both "night people." I can remember more than once hauling her word processor down to the lobby so we could work into the wee hours.
I also remember her first English 101 essay assignment. We were spontaneously invited to an Italian restaurant with the former newspaper fine arts editor and the then current programmer for the artists series. After dining, the programmer wanted to raid the home of her soon to be ex husband, who himself was an English professor. We provided "support" while she retrieved personal belongings. And, of course, the start of that English essay was postponed. One the way back a smirk appeared on my face. What if the ex-husband had returned and the elderly fine arts editor had developed chest pains?
I could see us all at the hospital. My fiance would have been so upset over the condition of the elderly woman, she could not have concentrated on the essay. That would have left all of us --- either professonal writers, English teachers and journalists --- to attempt completing an English 101 essay that was not too brilliant for a freshman class. Fortunately, none of those disasters happened. But the thought of professional writers arguing about faking a freshman essay sounds amusing.
For various reasons left unsaid for privacy sake, my fiance split. My friends stabbed me in the back; relatives interfered on both sides of the fence. Now, I'm again doomed to limp, walk and run this planet with a giant hole in my heart. Stitched together from numerous braks, it continues thumping as I wistfully gaze upon still another couple strolling hand in hand looking lovingly in each others eyes. They smile and laugh in the brisk fall air probably contemplating a winter in front of a roaring fire.
Unfortunately, for me, I will not have a sweetheart. Only memories ease my pain. Still, I often pray in between pleas to St. Jude for help, that I just do not awake. Actually, I'm not that "picky" --- its just that I don't want to raise someone elses children and I think anyone who would be compatible with me would want to spend much time enjoying cultural activities, not changing diapers.
I believed in miracles!
At an early age along the highway of faith and life, I began believing in the power of prayer. When a crisis enveloped the family, everyone prayed. At church, the minister wuld often remind, "God hears and he answers prayers."
After daily relying on prayer and believing in its powers, I hit a bump in the road. I could not come to terms with the execution of Carla Faye Tucker. How many pastors, congregations and ordinary Christians prayed that George Bush Jr. would spare her life? Ms. Tucker did not expect intervention, but she kept the faith. She looked forward to going Home to Heaven. Now, comes a satanic irony: George Bush and the parole board spared the life of a confessed serial killer! The current Texas heat wave may been God's wrath upon the state. Mr. Bush and his henchmen are receiving a does of Hell Fire. Unfortunately, Bush sits inside an air conditioned office, home or limo, while his "subjects" die from the effects of nature's fiery furnace!
Having always believed in a god who performed awesome miracles through Jesus' own intervention, angels walking the globe, or compassion through fellow humans, the execution placed my faith against a brick wall. Despite expecting "It's a Wonderful Life," "Touched by an Angel" or "The Preacher's Wife" kind of "miracles," I began questioning prayers value. Does it matter to God how many pray about a particular concern? Does He determine by Gallop Poll which one's to favorably answer? Does he ignore personal pleas which are selfish to the point of expecting a genie to appear? How does he handle Christians on two opposing teams each praying for a football victory. Only one team will walk away winners.
Then, came an awesome healing miracle! My friend's dad was dying of complications from cancer. Physicians said he would not last a week. He was sent home to die. But, he did not die. He rallied. The complicating factor in his diagnosis was healed. A Hospice nurse declared she had not seen anything like this in her years of nursing.
Thank you , Lord, for a genuine miracle!
I had not truly praised God since the time I stood up for justice and injustice prevailed. When my fiance defected in the aftermath, I sunk into the depths of depression. My minister said, "God has someone better for you." Four years later, I'm still waiting for her.
My doubts faded with the awesome healing miracle! A few days later, my friend flew back to the Lone Star State to prepare for her young daughter's birthday party and take care of business matters. Not long after I told everyone about the real miracle, I received a phone call from Texas. My friend's father had passed away. Maybe God's "miracle" was a time extention which allowed the family to see him in a posture of near normalcy, rather than outwardly suffering. But the doubting Thomas part of me asks: "When was the last time a man or woman walked on water? When did someone pray and the walls of a city fall? When were 5,000 fed with a few loaves of bread and a few fish?
Whether awesome miracles occur in this scientific and technological age, I do know that "little" miracles occur daily. By practicing the definition of a tiny four letter word, relations near and far improve. None of us are capable of all the time practicing truly unconditional love which is built around "giving" rather than "receiving." Only Jesus displayed perfect, unconditional love during his 33 years on this planet. But can we not keep "love" in mind by asking ourselves "what would Jesus do" before acting?
Too often, romantic love and other types of love go away when either "the feelings gone" or when someone else offering better "receiving" opportunities. In fact, having been disappointed so often with earthly love, we withdraw our passions at the first or second sign of imperfection in another person. Christian friends have these problems daily. One meets men at church, school and work, yet they continually dissapoint her. Even an upbeat, pillar of faith woman speaks of how many "boys" have broken her heart. They tend to classify the entire male gender as infected. However, when genuinely nice guys come around , they fall victim to sins of past males. Most do not get second looks because while their hearts may be compassionate, their bodies aren't hunky. Men and women can not get the knack for "just being friends" and "hanging out " and/or "sorta dating" until the "right person" comes along. One or the other will give off "signals," which the other interpets as romance blossoming. Opps, now the friendship has been contaminated.
Furthermore, the "gals" have advantages over "dudes" in the 90s. The gals can hang together and bash men or go out as a group. Dudes who hang out together are viewed suspiciously unless they're drinking, gambling, or at a sporting event.
No wonder many men speak to their Heavenly Father with this or a similar prayer:
Now I lay me down alone...I've heard no words of love today. I do my work, I eat my food ,I'm getting by, but life's no good. Some folks say I'll again take vows, but I'm just another useless guy. Life is empty here and now. There's no point to life alone, so Father , for Thy mercy's sake, let me not be forced to wake."
Although I've stabilized somewhat since the execution of Carla Faye, the broken miracle, and the non-existent "someone better" coming along, I have continued praying. I know my anxieties depict a lack of faith on my part. But I continue to pray, hoping that a humble prayer here or there may find a favorable answer. Now, though, I feel like the chances of receiving a favorable answer to prayer or experiencing an awesome , no question about it, miracle.... well, those odds are like winning the Powerball jackpot.