Thursday, January 15, 2009

Six Years, A Thousand Memories Ago

Six years ago this weekend, I stood on a precipice of sorts. I was looking forward to amazing new possibilities for me in the future, but I was also facing a great fear. I had high hopes that a business plan I was working on was going to turn into a lucrative opportunity for my planning partner and for myself. I was afraid I was going to lose a relationship with one of the most amazing people I have ever met.

So I got on a plane. I flew to Salt Lake, where I could investigate the future of both concerns. There was a similar business to the one we hoped to start that happened to be in a Salt Lake suburb. In fact, our research had only uncovered that one business at the time, so it was the only place I could hope to check out. At the same time, my dear friend was headed back to college in Idaho, and I knew she would be passing through the area. We had, after all, arranged to meet that Saturday night. I had asked her to bring me something. We had discussed it, argued about it, and probably cried over it - so I decided it was time to settle it.

That Friday, I checked out the business. In two hours, I made one basic note, "If this is our business model, we had better be looking for jobs soon." When the business had to begin operations for the day because I showed up, I took that as a bad sign (it was a movie theater, and I apparently woke the manager from his nap when I asked for a ticket). I knew further investigation would be a waste, so I checked on how early my friend would reach the area the next day. I believe we met in the morning, but that detail has faded somewhat from memory.

I remember never wanting the day to end. We met in downtown Salt Lake and walked over to Temple Square. There we met up with another couple. None of us were technically dating within the group. We just each had some inclinations to do so. We toured the Visitor's Center, walked around the temple, and then toured the Conference Center. The peace in that place was palpable even to me, even then. I remarked at the time, "God is in this place." My group was kind enough to deflect the missionaries questions as to which of us were not members. They wanted me to appreciate my experience without feeling bothered or pressured. Without a doubt, it still stands as one of the best days of my life.

After the square, we all walked over to a mall to meet up with other friends. A mutual friend was due to be married in a few weeks, and she was in town to look at some wedding-related items. Make that the third couple to join the group. The engaged couple broke off again, though, and we all returned to Temple Square. I had parked at the mall there, and my friend needed to get on the road. After all, she had a date that night with some lucky fellow.

Neither of us wanted to leave. Well, I didn't want her to go. But a promise was a promise, and I didn't expect her to break her date for me. So, instead, we found ourselves standing at our cars, wondering when (and perhaps if) we would ever meet again. Our first meeting had been just under a year before, and we had enjoyed this one even more than that. Still, so many things seemed to stand in our way, so we simply couldn't be together. One of the biggest obstacles was in her hand.

"I hope you don't hate me for giving you this," I remember her telling me. I found it an odd remark, since I had asked her to bring it. I promised to look at it that night. We embraced for a long moment - both too short and too long. Then we separated. The day was just a little darker for the parting.

Now we look at it together. We discuss it. We show it to our children. We give it to friends who show an interest (and probably some who have no interest). Most of all, though, we share it between us, no longer an obstacle but instead a cherished bond.

Six years. One thousand, two hundred, and ninety days. A world away from where we were. And back on another precipice, looking on an uncertain future. At least this time none of that uncertainty comes from our relationship. Sure, we might wonder how we can afford this or that, or where we will be in six months and again in five years, but we know whatever happens, we'll be together, come what may. That alone makes the view spectacular. After all, I can see my wife and three beautiful children in it, and what could ever be more beautiful than that?

-- Robert


le35 said...

What a beautiful way to write about that weekend. I love you!

Robert said...

I love you, too. Thanks for that great weekend.

Julie Pippert said...

Oh that is so lovely! Congrats to the two of you!

Robert said...

Thanks, Julie.