Young love, old love

Young love – I remember it well. Heartflutters, crazy mood swings, electric touches, skin on fire and passionate messages transmitted across the room by eye contact alone.

We kissed to the Carpenters singing We’ve Only Just Begun during our Saturday morning rendezvous in our college’s least-frequented student lounge. We didn’t waste our time playing Solitaire, and we weren’t saying Goodbye to Love, either.

Forty-two years later, I still wear his ring.

I’ve kept our letters, exchanged during summers apart, when he was preaching and I was travelling across the country. Singing and missing him. His letters had XXs and OOs scrawled beside his signature.

Our two eldest grandaughters, 10 and 11, gaped at our wedding album when I got it out the other day. “Nana! You look so young! And is that really Gampa?”

“Yup.  And we were young.”

“How old were you?”

I thought a moment, slammed with sudden perspective. Did I really do that? “Eight years older than you,” I said, with some reluctance.

Both sets of eyes widened. “No way.”

“Yes way,” I said, then added in a hurry, “but I don’t recommend getting married that young. Back then lots of us did that.” I like to think we were more mature than today’s youth – but perhaps not. “I’d marry the same guy again,” I told them. “But I’d wait till we were out of school.”

Their grandfather and I both got our degrees after we married. It took years. We worked part-time at a nursing home to pay the bills, and some days we worked opposite shifts. “One of us got off the bus as the other got on sometimes,” I told them. “We kissed at the bottom of the stairs. Some people looked the other way, but the driver understood. Young love.”

“That’s funny,” they said. Guess it was, sort of.

I came home from work yesterday and found the Preacher in the kitchen. I’m a few years behind him in the retirement race. He’s often standing by the stove when I arrive home – doing what I did (usually) during the decades when our roles were reversed. (I tell him he may have to wear the oven mitts forever – and he might, too. He likes his food better than mine.)

Walking over, I put my arms around him. He kissed me – sort of. “What? I only get one? I’m on rations now?” He chuckled and kissed me properly.

Young love. I remember it well. Unbridled passion and raw emotion. But I know old love now. It may look, even feel different, but it can’t fool me. It’s just young love in a sweater. Knitted together with commitment and compromise. Patience and temperance. Forgiveness. Forgetfulness. Lots of that.

Every so often I look at romantic love under the microscope of 1 Corinthians 13, the Bible’s well-known description of true love; the “Love is patient, love is kind, love bears all, hopes all, endures all…”chapter.

Old love, I think. And I like it. I pray you get there.