I firmly believe that faithful, honest love is the closest thing we have to heaven on this earth. Whether among family, friends or romantic relationship, there is safety and security in being fully known and still fully wanted.
Being engaged has been a thing of felicity for me. No more guessing about timetables. No more waiting and wondering about the future. No more hopeful anticipation. I have found the one my soul loves, and I will not let him go… this time. (But that’s a story for another day.)
Cautious, curious girl that I am, I had so many questions prior to engagement. And who better to ask than those who have braved betrothal before me?
“How do you know someone is really the person you want to pursue? How do you know—for sure—that they’re the person you want to marry?”
‘Married couple,’ I’d beg, ‘don’t let me waste my time. Give me assurances!’
If I had a nickel for every time someone told me, “I just knew,” I could probably pay off my student loans. And that’s only slightly hyperbolic.
You just ‘knew’? What does that even mean? How do I measure my certainty? In miles? Minutes? Cups of coffee? More importantly, how would I be able to tell if I was wrong?
Now that I’ve loved and been loved by Daniel, I can confidently say that I understand that (previously unhelpful) answer much better than I did before. Part of it is trial and error. Making a decision and learning as you go. This takes time. There is a gradual, but unmistakeable certainty that comes with loving someone that fits you well. Still, if ever I am asked, I plan on saying something a little different.
One day, if an unsure and unattached girl asks me ‘how I knew,’ I will give her my own vague, unhelpful reasoning:
No pebble in my shoe.
Have you ever gone for a walk, and gotten a pebble in your shoe?
When you first notice the pebble, you may not be likely to stop right away. It’s easy enough to continue on your journey without stopping, or alerting anyone of your pain or discomfort. After all… It’s just a little pebble. A mere inconvenience.
A pebble isn’t very big. They aren’t necessarily dangerous; small enough to be ignored. But, in the right place, a pebble is noticeable. They are just large enough and just hard enough to cause genuine pain if you continue without removing it. Think of the blisters!
A pebble in my shoe, very much like a single pea beneath the mattress of a princess. That’s what wrong love always felt like to me.
Tiny obstacles. Miniature red, nay, yellow flags. Easily dismissible things like the slight strain of contriving, or the constant need to justify relational legitimacy to myself or others. These were the metaphorical pebbles in the “shoe” that was my heart.
‘I’m sure it’s not my conscience speaking,’ I’d say, ‘It’s simply fear of commitment, or apprehension of the unknown.’ Knowing full well I faced abiding fear, that caused me to avoid prayer because the apprehension intensified not diminished.
‘I know I’m trying too hard to make things work, but, love is work, isn’t it?’ I’d justify, making excuses for some obvious lack in consistent partnership with the object of my affection.
How my heart would break with disappointment when, time and again, that nasty pebble would show up. No matter how much I convinced, contrived or strove. No matter which “shoe” I tried on, there it would be; making it’s presence known, over and over, until I became tired of walking with it and moved on.
While I don’t believe in the idea of a “One” (as in the one person in the world meant only for you) I do believe that when God’s blessing is on something it has a feeling of rightness. Goodness. Natural ease and attraction. Similar to the feeling you get when you enter a warm, cheerfully lit kitchen after a long day of work, and sit down to a hot, life-giving cup of good coffee.
In a relationship filled with rightness, there is no pebble. No colored flags. No unease in the spirit. No striving. It was as if my heart was waiting for Daniel, rejecting everything else before him. Maybe it recognized that anything that’d come before wasn’t quite the right fit.
While I can’t be sure of that, I am certainly sure of my decision. That at least, satiates the cautious, curious girl inside of me. And hopefully will do for the equally curious girls that come after me.
From my pebble-less shoe to you… Until next time, reader.