|Romance Non-Fiction posted February 16, 2020||Chapters:||...3 4 -5-|
I want to assure you that I too am a long-distance runner!
A chapter in the book MY ANGEL OF GOD
In Ch4 circumstances separate me from my Angel, and we must rely upon letter writing. Slowly our exchanges ignite a raging fire that has the power to either purify us or to destroy our marriages.
MY ANGEL OF GOD: Chronicles of her fierce compassion and grace-filled healing love -- This is an unusual and dangerous love story that I have tried to relate with honesty and insight. I have relied upon my journal entries and upon our love letters that I carefully preserved for thirty years. Now that I am facing my own death, I want to share with family, friends, and writers those personal experiences that have shaped my life most profoundly. Hence, I ask you, as my reader, to prepare yourself for a mind-bending and heart-rending experience. This is also a story of my faith and hope in the face of small "miracles" and enormous tragedies; hence, those who share my faith and hope are in for a special treat. Please advise me (a) by identifying [using "copy and paste"] those lines in my story that most moved you and (b) by offering your ideas on how I might improve my telling of the "chronicles of her fierce compassion and grace-filled healing love."
Walnut Hills, July 2nd
Wind of life,
I have some distressing news. Tim opened one of your letters before I got home. It sounds pretty bad.
We talked for about two hours yesterday. I told him that we experienced the love of God (totally complete and good) through each other's love. I was very calm. Yet I think he only understood half of what I was telling him. He was very threatened by what you wrote, but he was open to listening about our relationship.
Long ago you advised me to yield rather than fight any demands that Tim might make relative to our friendship. And so I yielded to his suggestion that I would not see you anymore. Later, he agreed to think about it for a week and then decide how he felt about the possibility of us continuing. I was glad to hear that he was open to reflection on this matter.
At times, Tim yearns for a "normal" wife, but I also know that he loves me because I'm not. Tim mainly objected to the intimate overtones of your letter. He's looking in from outside.
Ahhh, this was my worst fear, although, on the other hand, I'm glad he is now more aware of those things that I've tried to communicate to him all along. In effect, he wasn't willing to talk about our relationship because he was too threatened by what he might find out.
Today I feel depressed because I can't even bear to think of not having you as part of my life. I really won't allow myself to think of it right now because I can't emotionally handle the pain, not today.
I want to hug you, most of all, and assure you that I too am a long-distance runner. My love continues, more deeply, more whole, more, more, more.
I am with you,
P.S.: Tim promised not to read any more letters of mine.
Neuchâtel, July 4th
Your letter hit me like a hammer. I cried. Never, never, never did I intend to present myself as a rival for your affection. Quite the contrary, I had hoped to bless your life and Tim's indirectly as well! Now I have caused both of you pain.
Have you misunderstood me? You are the rose whose roots are planted deep within the soul of your husband. He feeds your roots, and you enchant him with your fragrant blooms. I am the manure that stinks and rots on the surface. Yet, by some strange grace, it sends the roots deeper, and the blooms become larger and more fragrant. This and nothing more!
Yes, my letter was "intimate." Here is where my imagination comes into play. Take this out of our relationship and it becomes ordinary, even bordering on the banal. My letters represent the "imaginative voyages" of a man away from family and friends writing back home to someone who might relish my madness and allow my loneliness to be dispelled.
You and Tim need only know that during my fifteen years of marriage I have never been unfaithful (i.e., sexually intimate with another). You can call Rachel today and question her about this. You can invite Tim to do the same.
In sum, I am not like other men. And you are not like other women. I do so want to embrace you (all of you) as a friend and a kindred spirit. At the same time, I invite you to embrace all of me, including the wild imaginings that have caused you and Tim so much grief, so much pain.
P.S.: If you can believe parts of this letter, feel free to share those parts with Tim. What you cannot believe, please let's let it rest until I return.
The Rose and the Manure
My last letter was clearly sad and apologetic. I secretly hoped that Tim would open this letter (even though he promised that he would not). In any case, I offered my Angel some leads as to how she might explain the unusual passion in the letter that he had opened.
The metaphor of the rose and the manure was already used in another place. I first formulated it when Rachel pressed me to specify how my Angel stood relative to her. In that telling, she was the rose and you were the manure. My wife even chided me, "It doesn't seem right that you use such an unseemly metaphor for your Angel." Unseemly or not, it did represent my sentiments at the time.
I came back from Neuchâtel determined to be all that I am and reluctant to live my life according to the expectations set by others. Even after fifteen years of marriage, I had to admit that there were areas of my life (especially my long-delayed grief for my mother) that Rachel had not entirely accepted. When I returned, I no longer felt the need to hide or to compromise in these areas. I had decided not to live in a smaller cage for the sake of marital harmony; for, as my cage got smaller, the bird inside slowly lost his inclination to sing.
Looking for my AngelWhen on campus, I deliberately circulated in those places where I might expect to find my Angel if she had decided to enroll in another course. In my classes, I always gave one good look around after entering the classroom just to see whether my Angel had silently taken her place and was already beaming her love toward me. In the minutes before the starting bell, I found myself involuntarily hoping that she would come rushing through the classroom door. But this never happened.
Once my classes began, I would sometimes actually imagine her loving gaze. I stood taller and spoke more openly because she was there in spirit rooting for me. After a class was finished, I chatted within circles of chums who stayed behind. I would sometimes imagine her patiently waiting for her turn to gain my attention. But, when it was all over and everyone had gone about their business, she was not there. Then, as I left the classroom, I would find tears silently flooded my eyes as a sign of how painful it was to embrace her absence. I vividly recalled how she would listen with her eyes, with her hands, with her very soul. Never, never, never have I had someone listen to me as she did. . . .
My Cry of ProtestI cry out against the present order of things. I feel like tearing this world apart and shaping a new world order: a new heaven and a new earth. The order of this world is a small cage indeed. I cry out to God to bring in that kingdom that he holds in readiness for those who protest small cages. In this, my hour of darkness, I listen for a word from my Angel. . . . But, there is only her absence . . . and waiting . . . and mortal fear that, given the constraints of this world, constraints that even God suffers, the kingdom will never come soon enough for my Angel and me.
The word "never" chokes in my throat. There cannot be justice and beauty and love in this world unless such moments as I have known with my Angel can be proclaimed upon the mountain tops and celebrated with the spontaneous freedom that greets the birth of a new child. There cannot be a God who champions justice, beauty, and love without there being such a world in the making.
Happily, my Angel (whom I cannot see or communicate with) also protests with me and hopes with me. So, while we are separated in the present order of things, we are bound together in the same faith, the same hope, and the same mutual love. She best expresses this in the last letter I received from her:
Walnut Hills, July 6th
Here I am holding you,
Your eternal Angel,
Love pouring out to you,
Will I ever be this happy again? The pain pours out of me, I grasp for air. Will I ever be filled, be whole again? Your Angel weeps tears of loss for those journeys into my soul and yours that will not be made.
I am very sad because I know that no one can liberate my soul as you have been able to. I, too, yearn to liberate your soul, your pain, your inhibitions, so that you too can see God face to face.
Our friendship has allowed a rebirth to occur. A part of me that was smothered comes to life when I am with you.
However, I anticipate a dark future. Tim doesn't want me to spend time with you anymore. He feels threatened by what you have come to mean for me. I anticipated this reaction as a possible response that might follow upon his coming to glimpse what we share—a deep love, a holy love.
I received two of your letters today, and I cry as I read them. Why? I cry because they are so beautiful, because you are so beautiful. Your letters that I have grown to cherish with my heart and soul give me the freedom to explore my life. Your letters and your love have unlocked the dreary inhibitions of my life. You "set my heart free."
ur Dearest Friend of love,
ur Angel of God
Postscript: Anticipating our FutureAll is not lost. Each year, during the week following Valentine's Day, my Angel and I meet together in the restaurant where we had our first meal. We both come early and stay until closing. We share the joy and pains of the past year in our personal stories. We hold hands and share tender kisses. We mingle our tears and blend our laughter. For the last half hour, we are emotionally spent, and we hold each other in perfect silence.
Our partners know about our annual reunions. They don't like it, but we have not given them much choice; hence, they silently tolerate it. As the years pass, no great catastrophe results from our annual reunions; hence, they have come to accept our healing practice more and more gracefully.
We agreed together to repeat nothing of what passes between us to our spouses or to our friends. Thus, you, my dear reader, are also excluded from knowing the intimate details of what transpired during our annual reunions. Hence our shared experiences will go with us to our graves.
In the resurrection, however, we both secretly and fully expect that all our shared experiences will become known and celebrated by nearly everyone during the Final Judgment. Then God himself will sit on his throne and will wipe away our tears and our disappointments forever. Then we will fully and passionately be for each other all those things which the old world would not tolerate. . . .
A Parable of Faith, Hope, and LoveIt came to our attention that a few saints in the world to come objected to the ferocious passion we exhibited for each other. In due course, they brought their objections to the attention of Jesus. As would be expected, Jesus knew our whole story. He also understood the jealousy that prompted their objections. Jesus listened to their complaints with profound patience.
When they were finished, he said to them in a very soft voice:
There are three things that I wish to have you remember regarding these two special people:
First: "What God has joined together, let no one separate" (Matt 19:6).
Second: "Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age [to come] and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage" (Luke 20:34-35)." It is for this reason that marriage vows are taken "until death do us part."
Third, these two who have been graced with a ferocious and eternal love for each other 'have chosen the better part, and it shall not be taken from them' (Luke 10:42).
My response to the tears and the pain of my beloved Angel is the dramatic scene of the Last Days narrated in the Book of Revelation:
Our Blessed Future
And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more (Rev 21:2-4).
This is God's promise to us, my beloved Angel. I will be there and you will be there. And we will eventually find each other in the great crowd of the elect. From that moment of meeting and hugging, the tears and pain of our separation will be no more. Then the holy promises that we made to each other will be magnificently blessed by God and forever set into motion. We won't even have to get into line with those waiting upon the Lord to wipe away their tears. So much the better, for that line will surely be incredibly long.
On that day and in that place, true lovers will be doing for each other what God will be doing for those who have never known such love. God will not be jealous. Rather he will be relieved to know that some of his children have gone ahead and began doing for each other what God has always wanted them to learn to do for each other. Thus, the words of the beloved apostle will find their fulfillment: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7).
You arrive at the thrilling conclusion. You can now meet Aaron/Angel and other romantics here = http://www.churchonfire.net/forum/ Enjoy!
Here are my three questions:
#1 Did I fail to protect my Angel's interests? Did I give up too much? Should I have asked my Angel to insist on a restaurant meeting once a month? Tim might not like this; yet, he has to allow that his wife is suffering greatly with his "no contact" call. Doesn't her welfare deserve some close attention as well?
Moreover, in the face of such a one-sided resolution, doesn't Tim take a fatal step that risks his future with his wife? Won't the day perhaps arrive when my Angel will see his demands as selfish and manipulative? Then what? He gained the lion's share, but the lioness sets out to hunt on her own. So by gaining everything, was he risking to lose everything? [#2 How would you advise Tim?]
#3 And what do you make of the final paragraphs where my Angel and I wipe away each other's tears and have no need, accordingly, to get in the long line where God (not Jesus) does the final healing?
For those who have read this far, I offer you a free copy of my entire book, including Appendix 1: Dracula and Minah. Enjoy it yourself and feel free to share it with a few friends who might enjoy it. My hope is to publish a paperback edition in the months to come.
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