They say you never get over your first love, and I’m a firm believer of this. I’ve never quite healed, there’s still scars in my heart that spell out his name. I’ve avoided talking about it for so long now that it’s almost second nature avoiding the subject. To talk around it when conversations shift that way. It’s taken me years to get to a place in my life where I can look at those years and not cringe, not ball my fists up and grit my teeth. And as much as I’m not entirely ready to put it out to the world, I hope that possibly, just maybe, telling my story, I can help others, souls who are lost and hurt and broken, in a situation similar to mine.
It all started when I was a young, naive, impressionable girl. My parents, no doubt wanting to give me a “proper” religious upbringing, woke me up every Sunday morning, dressed me in pretty little dresses, put cute little bows in my curly hair, and dragged me off to church.
That’s where I met him.
During church, it wasn’t uncommon for a little old lady to mosey on up to you and proclaim, “Jesus loves you!” In fact, it became such a common occurrence, that a little old lady would catch me on my way into “Big People Church” from Sunday school and tell me Jesus loves me, that I started to believe it. Jesus loved me. Jesus was in love with me.
Oh yes, my young, impressionable, bow-topped mind understood perfectly why these ladies insisted on telling me this:
Jesus was in love with me and was too embarrassed to tell me himself.
I just knew that I was going to grow up and marry Jesus. After all, isn’t that what in love people did? Get married?
How important did I feel, knowing that I was going to marry such an important man? A savior, of sorts? When the pastor would talk about the bride of Christ, I couldn’t help but get a smug little smile on my face. He was talking about me. I was the bride of Christ. Jesus was in love with me and we were going to get married.
(“Why, Kristy, Jesus loves you!” I know this now, little old lady.
“The lord is going to come & take the bride of Christ home in the rapture!” The rapture must mean our Honeymoon.)
Many a year I went on my merry little way. Long gone were the pretty little bows on my head, but my heart still belonged to my future husband Jesus.
Alas, this is where tragedy struck. Somewhere along the way, it dawned on me: I’d been waiting a long time. Jesus had never once worked up the courage to confess his feelings for me himself.
Jesus wasn’t coming for me.
These old ladies had lied to me. Or else, perhaps, Jesus had backed out. Maybe he found a new love interest. Little Ashley looked mighty cute during Sunday school last service. She had a new blue dress. Maybe Jesus preferred blue. I was always a pink-wearer. Maybe Jesus was in love with her now. Thinking back, I can remember that one little old lady, the one who always smelled like peppermints and fried foods, telling Ashley that Jesus loved her.
At my lowest point, chest deep in the midst of my crushing heartache, I asked my parents: “Who am I going to marry now?” They just laughed. They laughed at my pain. True, I never told them that I knew I was going to marry Jesus. I was mommy and daddy’s little girl. They probably wouldn’t approve of Jesus courting me so soon. Of our lives being planned out so thoroughly so early. But still, they laughed? Couldn’t they see I was in pain?
It’s been difficult, but I’ve moved on. Mostly. I met and fell in love with a different boy. A boy who I decided I’d like to share his last name. He’s pretty and he’s funny and he’s nearly perfect, despite the fact he doesn’t remind me of Jesus very much.
But late at night, every now and again, I find myself thinking of Him. My first love. The one I wrapped all my tomorrows in. I wonder what He’s doing, I wonder if He and Ashley are still together or if He’d moved on to someone else.
But most of all, I wonder if he’s thinking of me and wondering what I’m doing too.
Fair thee well, my long lost love, Jesus. I still hold those years & those memories deep down in my heart o’ hearts.