This is the story of two people I know.
It is true.
Some details are omitted to protect their privacy.
They were an unlikely couple.
They met in 2008 at church.
It started with just polite conversation.
He was much older than she.
Almost twice her age
She was seeking someone her age, he was interested in finding someone closer to his.
So they simply spoke to each other from time to time with no intentions of going further.
But she was polite and friendly and funny.
And she found that he acted and thought much younger than his numerical age.
And the more they talked, the more they found that they were similar.
Seeing things the same way.
Thinking the same thing at the same time.
Finding the same things humorous.
They started trading emails, still not thinking that a relationship was under construction.
But is was.
Within two months they realized that "something" was happening.
Against all odds.
Against all logic.
In spite of their innocence and lack of intent.
In spite of their age difference.
They soon found themselves in love.
But they knew it could not progress beyond a certain point.
They were an unlikely couple and they knew it.
They saw the looks they got from others.
But they did not care.
They talked about it.
They laughed about it.
And enjoyed what they had, no matter how strange it looked to others.
It was sweet while it lasted.
Oh, it was so sweet.
So easy and comfortable.
They just fit.
They meshed with each other in so many ways.
On food, politics, music, religion, dieting, exercise, home decorating.
And on dozens of other little things.
They cooked together.
They prayed together.
They laughed together.
She could make him laugh.
They just fit.
He found out what it meant to have a soul mate.
He had read about such a thing.
And he believed it was possible.
But he had never experienced it.
She was it.
And she said the same thing about him.
And it was so nice.
It amazed him because he was just being himself.
But somehow that delighted her.
Up until now, being himself had always caused a problem with the other person on some point or other.
Not this time.
He could do no wrong, it seemed.
It felt strange and, well, nice.
He learned how it felt to be loved.
(not that he had not been loved before. But somehow this was different.)
And she knew how to pet his ego.
She made him feel like a new man.
A younger man.
When he was with her, he forgot how old he was.
He felt like a kid with her.
It was like high school all over again.
Except this time he knew what was going on.
He loved her.
He loved her in every way he could.
He loved her every way he knew how.
Love was something he was never comfortable with.
He felt he was not good at it.
That he failed to express it well enough.
That he never seemed to get it right with his mate.
He was too self-centered.
But somehow, this time, he got it right.
She, somehow, brought it out of him.
And he loved her with everything he had.
And she loved him.
Even though he was much older than she.
She stopped seeing an older man and saw the kid that was still in him.
She appreciated things about him that no other woman had.
She called him her "sweet man".
No woman had ever called him that.
For his part, he could not understand how she could love him like this.
No one else ever had.
Not like this.
At first he was embarrassed and skeptical.
He wondered if he had somehow deceived her.
Or if she was just putting on an act.
No woman had ever loved him like this.
Could it really be genuine?
But as they spent more time together, he came to accept the authenticity of her feelings.
And he loved it.
In their few months together, they never argued.
They never had a disagreement.
It was not because they were on their best dating behavior and holding back.
They were way past that (if they ever did it).
It was because they were so similar in so many ways.
It was because they thought alike.
It was because they saw so many things the same way.
It was just the way they were.
They had questions, too.
Why did God bring them together?
Knowing they could not marry (the logical/emotional conclusion of such a pleasant relationship.) because of his divorce years ago.
Why did he allow them to become so connected?
He could have stopped them at a hundred different points.
But he just let them grow together.
They knew that they would probably never know.
So they just accepted the strange circumstance and let the relationship grow as much as the Bible would allow.
And they stopped where it would not permit them to go further.
They never sinned.
They never violated their understanding of the Bible.
They never tried to push the boundaries.
He honored and respected her.
She honored and respected him.
And that just made them love each other more.
But they knew the ending was inevitable.
They knew they could not go on as they were going.
The Bible put limits on how far they could progress together.
And they choose to conform to those constraints.
That meant they could not be married.
At least not until another circumstance changed.
And that was not something they could control or felt free to ask for.
(if this makes no sense to you, I understand, but I don't want to go into the details as that would delve into the privacy of some other people)
She was the one who jumped first.
He was afraid that he would have to be the one to pull the plug.
But she spared him the unpleasant task.
There were reasons why it was just not realistic to prolong an incomplete relationship any longer.
He did not argue.
He knew she was feeling the frustration.
So she decided she had had enough.
He knew it would have to end sometime for some reason and this was as good a time and reason as any.
He did not want to see her suffer any more.
He knew it would be painful - and it is.
Like open heart surgery with a ditch digger.
So here he is hurting.
And wanting to call her and comfort her.
And wanting to go to her and hug her and tell her it will be all right.
But he is the problem.
So the more he is with her, the more problems she will have.
Thus, he must stay away.
And let her grieve alone.
He had seen her cry too much already.
It hurt him so much to see her cry.
He wanted to do something to help her stop crying.
But he could not.
It has to end this way.
And this way hurts.
(But there is no other way to end it that does not hurt)
So now it is ended. (or ending...)
He sits and cries.
Sometimes he cries hard.
So hard his body shakes.
And then, after a minute or two, it passes and he just sits.
Miles away, she cries.
Maybe in the same way.
(He really does not want to know)
For her it is a bit different.
Life will go on.
Life has to go on.
She is still young.
There is much of life to be lived for her.
She has a career to pursue.
Time to heal,
Time to grow,
Time to change.
Hobbies, talents, skills, ministry.
Maybe she will find someone else and they will be able to be happy together.
Happily ever after and all that.
He wants that for her.
He wants her to have what she could not have with him.
For him, life is just about over.
He could live another thirty years.
But emotionally, he is finished.
There will never be another woman like her for him.
For him, the remaining years of his life will be empty and boring and pointless.
He really has no interest is living anymore.
Not that he wants to kill himself.
It is just that the rest of his life will be in the shadow of this beautiful few months he shared with this delightful woman.
Who is now gone.