One year, one month, two weeks and a day.
That was the time that passed from when I first noticed Susanna in Sunday School at Whitesburg (“Sharp kid”) until she informed me Friday that there was no longer any sort of us.
That was the period of my life that I spent pursuing the woman I would have had be my wife. That is how much older I am today than I was when we first crossed paths. How many of my days upon this Earth were invested in the future we apparently shan’t be having together.
Which, then, raises for me the question, was it worth it? Knowing how it ends, was it worth the time?
And, the answer, having given it some thought recently, is yes.
Why? As they say in my favorite movie, “Vivir con miedo, es como vivir a medias!” A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.
I spent high school and college on a string of pathetic crushes. Women whom I would have loved to have gone out with, but never did. At the time, I thought it was because I was utterly uncompelling. Looking back, however, I realized it was because I never tried. In one of those cases in particular, that very fact was later confirmed officially. The object of my affection actually wished I was interested in her, but I never gave her a clue.
Susanna could easily have been the ultimate example of that. She could easily have been the ultimate one-that-got-away. The woman that I would have always wondered, “What if…” And there were plenty of times in that year and change that it would have been easy to give up. That she gave me every opportunity to think there was no way. But, instead, I stuck with it. I persevered. Sure, it took a whole lot of precious time, to do it right.
But, as a result, instead of having to wonder, I know. Not the answer I would have hoped for, but at least I can go forward with my life knowing that I did everything I could. I made plenty of mistakes in the relationship, but, in that area, at least, I can have no regrets. She was worth pursuing, and I did.
And, to be sure, while I’m more than a little disappointed at the ending of the story, I’m a better person for having lived it.
So, Susanna …
For being my biggest cheerleader and fan through the release of the book, thank you.
For being my support while facing tough emotional challenges, thank you.
For The Shack and The Fountainhead and Lamb and probably others, thank you.
For Love You Out Loud and A Life Less Ordinary and others, thank you.
For teaching me that in fact not all, but only probably 95 percent, of country music is crap, thank you.
For introducing me to the potential of green beans, thank you.
For inspiring me to find my disposable fountain pens, thank you.
For allowing me to embrace being a dork, thank you.
For hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of great conversation, thank you.
For encouraging me through heresy and apostasy, thank you.
For Phase 10, thank you.
For introducing me to the world of text messaging, thank you.
For, ironically, teaching me “secrets” of Jackson, Miss., thank you.
For making my world a little bit bigger, thank you.
For inspiring me to become involved in Fake Church, thank you.
For the gala, thank you. For our second first date, thank you. For 4 a.m. IHOP and 3 a.m. Bridge Street parking lot and 6 a.m. space station watching, thank you.
For the time in which you were my best friend, thank you.
And on and on and on.
I’m better for having known you. I hope, at the end of the day, you can say the same. It’s been fun.
I could make a similar list of apologies, but don’t think I’ll share those here.
And, so, since I managed to type this entire post without shedding a tear, maybe I’m about ready to say, Godspeed.