I sit here across from the man I love and married 40 years ago as I read a little red book in which I wrote 42 years ago--my 1967 diary.
In 1966 I had met him and danced with him all night at a company Christmas dance, but I was going out with someone else at the time: Peter.
Peter was becoming increasingly serious. He had just got a job as a fireman for which he was going through training. The job came with a house, he said. Yikes! He was four years older than me. At 16 I was far from ready to "settle down." I was barely beyond the giggling about boys with my friends stage and my heart was as changeable as the English weather.
In the first week January of 1967, Mr. Burston, our office manager and Paul's dad, told me the church was planning a party for the Sunday School children and asked if I would help. He told me that Paul would call me with the details. Yikes again! I knew that he could easily give me "the details" himself.
At the Sunday School party, the children kept asking, "Is that your girlfriend, Paul?" He rode home on the coach with me, and when he asked if I would be in church the next day, I took a deep breath, gritted my teeth, and told him about Peter. He flushed and said that he had been going to ask me to go skating. I said that I would have loved to go, but of course, I couldn't. He understood, he said, of course...By the time we got to Alvechurch, he even said that maybe Peter would come out to church sometime and it felt as if we were the best of friends still. It was hard when I got off the coach though, as the other guys from the church had expected him to get off with me and walk me home.
Throughout that spring I continued a relationship with Peter that was up and down. I felt as though I was living in two different worlds and not really happy in either one as long as I didn't decide between them. Peter had friends that were nice enough but some were on the wild side and in trouble with the law. I cared about him but didn't love him and he seemed to have a very loose relationship with truth.
I talked to Gloria, an older woman at the church. She was probably not as old as she seemed to me then. Although she was single, her face was radiant with joy and her faith shone from a place deep within. She didn't tell me what to do, but she told me what she had done, years ago, when she loved someone who didn't love God as she did. The choice was hard, but she chose well: for God. I thought about that a lot.
In March I found myself thinking about Paul and couldn't understand why. April came, and Peter's 21st birthday party. It ended with him having a drunken fight with friends at his house in the small hours of the morning. I knew the time had come for me to make a choice and it wasn't hard to know what it was. After that day I didn't see him again. I wrote a letter ending it.
I heard (though it wasn't true) that Paul had a girlfriend and my heart sank. But I had turned a significant corner in my life. I would never again walk in two different worlds. I still had a lot of growing up to do, but I had made a choice that was good...