“If we’d never met, I think I would have known that my life wasn’t complete. And I would have wandered the world in search of you, even if I didn’t know who I was looking for.”Nicholas Sparks, The Longest Ride
There are so many different loves that we experience in life. From the love for a parent to the first love that we experience in our adolescent years to the various loves that we find before we find the one.
At 36 years old, I can say with complete confidence that I have experienced each one. The one that teaches you a great deal about yourself. The one that helps you realize what you are really looking for. And, of course, the one that makes you wonder why you ever thought you were in love all of the times before.
Tonight is another of many sleepless nights. They are a frequent occurrence for me, for I find myself quite often kept awake by the various thoughts that make their way through my mind in the middle of the night.
A few years ago, I took Tristin home with me, to North Carolina, for the first time. It seemed like it was right for him to meet my family and, to be honest, I did not want to spend two weeks without him. So, we loaded up our suitcases, got in the car, and drove. That was when our tradition of kissing at state lines began.
On one particular day during our visit, my mom wanted to spend the day with the children, so we took advantage of it and snuck off for a date. Our dates have always been the kind that nourish my soul and give us both more to remember than just a meal. Museums, lakes, long walks…
That day, we got in the car and made our way to the mountains. We drove up to the Linn Cove Viaduct in the Blue Ridge mountains. There’s a parking lot just off of the highway there, allowing you to safely get out to take in the view. It is a very popular spot, particularly in Autumn, when the leaves are changing colors. The landscape, during this time, is painted with the most beautiful golds, reds, oranges, with a bit of green mixed in.
After parking our vehicle, we decided to hike down one of the trails leading down from the Visitor’s Center. As we hiked down the mountain, weaving through the trees, we talked. I can no longer recall what the conversation was about, but the content isn’t really of consequence. A cool mist lightly peppered us as a rainstorm approached the mountain.
Just before it started to really pour, we found a dry spot beneath the bridge above to seek refuge until it passed.
How long we sat there I do not remember. We talked, we gazed out at the incredible view before us, and we talked some more. At one point, I looked over at him. He was smiling just slightly, focusing on something off in the distance. As I watched his quietly amused expression in awe, I remember thinking to myself, “This is what the rest of my life looks like. Wow.”
In a world so often driven by extraordinary moments and things, this moment was, by all considerations, ordinary. It was ordinary and, yet, I was wonderstruck. By the picturesque landscape of the mountains before us. By the light in his eyes as he surveyed it. By the curve of his lips as we spoke.
That moment under a bridge in the rain took place four years ago. As ordinary as it may seem, it was, to me, a moment of astonishment that still resonates within me as strongly today as it did that day. It feels like it just happened yesterday.
I have so many memories from a myriad of moments that have taken place during the 36 years that I have existed and that one will always be one of my favorites.
He is the love that taught me what real love is. He is the love that makes me wonder why I ever wasted my time on anyone else. He is the love that readers of Jane Austen hold out for. A Wentworth. A Mr. Darcy. A once in a lifetime kind of love.
Personal though it may be, this memory felt very much worth sharing with you tonight.
With hope that the day ahead of you is full of beautiful moments,