Broken to GraCE
By Ronda Rae Franklin
Excerpt (April 21, 2010)
Grace and love personified…
Sleep didn’t come easy again last night. This has been a recurring theme over the past year at least. But these past 6 months have been the worst I can recall since back in 2002. My prayers to understand God’s will are increasingly incessant. God showed me something vividly in my heart’s eye back in September or October of 2009. I will share this soon enough. For now, I sure wish I could remember the date of its occurrence. I started going through old letters Patrick and I exchanged via email last night, ones that we wrote beginning the first week of September of 2009. My reading began as a search for that date that God first placed this ever-important vision on my heart, thinking there would be a clue in the writings. What it became instead was the discovery of a more divinely inspired love between two people than I had allowed myself to remember.
From those very first days, via emails back and forth, nothing was lost in translation. The opposite in fact occurred. Multitudes of insight into each other’s hearts, souls, spirits and deepest thoughts prevailed beyond any human availability to such things. And we both knew it and were keenly aware of its happening, as it was happening. Again, there was simply no denying or mistaking it. Not to say we didn’t try to put human reasoning to it all. Maybe we both just wanted the other person to exemplify what we needed and the distance made it easy and safe. Or maybe we were simply reading too much into things, happenings, feelings, and insights – all which could be mere coincidences. We talked about these ideas to exhaust. We talked about them over the phone, in texts, and in our letters. As I was reading back into these letters last night I could feel how much we questioned our connection, the strength of it, and the seemingly divine nature of it. We discussed how this was truly not convenient timing for either of us. Nor was it something either of us was searching for at the time. In fact for me in particular it was most inconvenient. I had been very purposefully keeping myself clear of any potentially attractive man. In fact, I felt blessed that God had subdued my usually strong desire for male companionship and physical touch for a time. I didn’t pray for that to happen, but God knew I needed it long before I did. And it gave me time, lots of it, to simply focus on my relationship and walk with Jesus. I wasn’t done with that – so why was this happening now?
Were we feeding off each other, volleying our feelings back and forth, falsely increasing the depth of feelings with each volley? Decidedly after much debate, no we were not. And since neither of us believe in coincidental happenings, that was off the table too. We were left with divine intervention that was most inconvenient for each of us. It was also tantalizing, faith building, exciting, heart wrenching, spirit testing, hope enhancing, character over comfort, and a filling of our souls with more joy than either of us had ever known. We became best friends. Besides the near 100 letters we exchanged over the Internet and nearly one thousand text messages, we spent close to one hundred hours talking over the phone. All of this communication occurred during the time span from September 6th to October 6th of 2009. Exactly one month to the day. We met face to face for the first time at the Seattle-Tacoma airport at noon on October 6th, 2009. I had been flying for nearly twelve hours. We met in baggage claim. Patrick saw me before I saw him. He watched me for a minute, in a speechless state of awe as he describes it, before he walked up behind me and said two words that still reverberate in my soul, “Hi beautiful”.
It was during this first meeting at the airport that we realized the effect we have on people around us. Patrick was the first to mention it as he was driving me to my mom’s condo in Everett. He wanted to know if I had noticed and felt the same reactions. Of course I had; there truly is no mistaking it. Patrick’s description of it was as fervently direct as he always is – “people saw a husband meeting his wife for the first time.” I could hardly breathe as he said this, so calmly and passionately looking right through me and holding my hand so tight because there was just no way to get close enough. He asked me if I thought they saw something they longed for. I could barely answer because I could barely breathe; he was so beautiful. But whatever they experienced as they watched us, that was part of it. The draw those people felt towards us was so intense, I don’t believe they realized how long and intently they gazed and breathed us in. And they did. They breathed us in up to the very last second, and I could actually feel their longing for us as we walked away with my bags to the parking garage.
Patrick said he felt bad for them. He wondered had they never felt this before with the spouse they stood with as they watched; I wondered if they recognized something they used to have with that person and had forgotten it as readily as they let it slip away. And I wondered quietly to myself if they could see and feel the divinity of love that engulfed us, and God’s light that was cast out from us as we stood together. From the moment I turned around to the sound of his voice, we touched without breaking contact – from my hand on his arm, his hand in my hair, my hand in his, to a complete embrace and a passionate kiss that was so impossibly familiar and intimate – and divine. Grace and love personified in us by the Holy Spirit. There simply is no other answer. I have continued to search my soul over the months since, and I have not been successful in putting human traces to it.