Sunday, April 17, 2011

He Said, She Said - Excerpt

He Said, She Said
Lighthouse Publishing (February 14, 2011)
Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles


Puppy Love — HE SAID
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
Song of Solomon 8:6 NIV

I have a box of love notes I keep from my wife. The birthday cards and scraps of paper remind me of lips I kissed and tears I dried before I met my bride. I don’t know if these relics of my broken heart are an act of unfaithfulness or simply a sad testimony to the passion a romantic who loved... and lost in the pursuit of puppy love.

First Kiss: We met in her basement for our first kiss. Everything I knew about smooching I’d learned from the movie Love Story. Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw kissed a lot: mostly with their eyes closed. This seemed only natural since the idea of standing that close to anyone, much less a pretty girl, terrified me. But there we were, two high school freshmen preparing to seal our love with lips coated in ketchup and mustard and hot dog chili. I advanced; she moved. I hit a cinder block wall. My aim improved by I never fully recovered from the miss... our first kiss that came moments later.

First Love: Like so many high school sweethearts, our emotions ran hot and cold, off and on. We swapped love notes in hallways, lingering looks across cafeteria tables and class rings. I suppose we both knew it wouldn’t last but pretended it would, crafting names for our kids and careers that would allow us to travel. We parted ways the night of my first Jimmy Buffett concert: each of us leaving a piece of our soul with the other. There were others. Work girls and college girls and summer fun girls from the Chesapeake Bay. Now their tender words and hair ribbons lie wedged into a small cardboard box that remains almost forgotten... but not quiet.

I married the girl of my dreams. The shy, doll-eyed angel with the chipmunk cheeks and sundress tan who, for a time, thought I was cute and funny. When I said “I do,” I did, but I sometimes wonder: Is it enough?

Oh, I don’t question if she is enough. Of course she is. But am I enough? Have I been husband enough, father enough, lover enough? Have I provided, cherished, and honored enough.

Love may indeed blaze for a time with the passion of a mighty flame, but it is the golden embers of small coals that keep our feet warm and bed sacred.

Place me as a seal over your heart, my love. Rest your head on my shoulder and cling to my arm as we walk toward the blazing warmth of the setting sun. You are my mighty flame, the spark that ignites my spirit. Let us love and expire together in each other’s arms.


Precious Lord, I am your servant, laid before your feet to offer you praise and Glory for the almighty, majestic God you are. Accept my praise; may your love blaze within me.


True love is friendship caught on fire. - French proverb

Sealed with a Kiss — SHE SAID
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
Song of Solomon 8:6

I’ve lost love once. But not to death: to divorce. I wondered if God would ever allow me an opportunity to know real love.

When my husband’s dad died, we comforted his mother as she mourned her soul mate. She pressed her fingers against her lips, kissed them and touched the husk of her husband. “I’ll see him again,” she whispered, comforted in her belief. When her fingers touched his lips, she sealed that belief with a kiss.

I stared as my brother eased my mother into the backseat of his car. Mom kissed one finger and pointed it tenderly toward dad’s casket. I knew the ache I felt couldn’t compare to hers. He was her lifelong mate. Her kiss sealed him eternally as her own.

I wonder how God views the fleeting commitment of today’s modern family. Instead of learning how to love in sickness, poverty and worst-case circumstance, “domestic partners” escape at the first signs of trouble.

Solomon had commitment issues to be sure. But the depth and intimacy of his writings on love suggest God’s true passion for us and His burning desire for every marital relationship. Solomon’s words testify to what love is - a holy bond sealed across our hearts.

Some years later I watched as my husband’s mother took her final breaths. I leaned against Tim and whispered, “You know she’s not coming back.” He nodded. “She’s not only seen God but she’s seen your dad. She won’t return.”

I feel sure that was the truth. When the gates of heaven opened to welcome her home, part of her reward had to be the reunion of a lifetime...the one sealed with a kiss—her husband.

God did bless me with the love of my life. He opened my heart placed within it the desire, the passion and the understanding of real love—something deeper than the deepest emotion and more passionate than the sexual relationship. Each time I kiss my husband, I know that he is sealed in my heart and that he is my burning flame.

Does the one you love burn within you? God offered us the ability to know real love. He gave us the example. Trust your relationship to Him. Seal it with a kiss.

Father, bring us closer to you. That is my hearts desire.

So heavy is the chain of wedlock that it needs two to carry it, and sometimes three. - Alexandre Dumas

We Deserved More Time — HE SAID
Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom—there I will give you my love.
Song of Solomon 7:11-12 (NIV)

Dear, I’m sorry.

I meant what I said—oh those many years ago when I promised you the moon and stars and days filled with rich foods and sweet drink, but then came the hard work of making a living and honestly honey, how much of the world can we see with just two weeks of vacation each year. You understood. Of course you did. You were the frugal one, the one who set budgets and banked paychecks for unseen emergencies. So we shelved our travel plans, packing our dreams into folders marked “beach house,” “Europe,” and “Yosemite.”

For a while we enjoyed weekends in cottages borrowed from friends. But the days were too few and besides, the boys needed us at scout meetings, on ball fields, and in the kitchen where you made our house a home. Here, look at this photo. Here you are sitting on the sea wall in St. Thomas. See that smile? See how, even with the glare of the tropical sun in your eyes, you’re still beaming with that carefree smile that now sags, thin and pale.

There was hope for a time after the boys left for college, but then our parents became sick and then the grandkids... my God, think of them. Would you really have wanted to exchange their laughter and cooing for a few months in the vineyards of Tuscany?

Before I heard—before the oncologist called—I was dusting off those dreams. I wanted to see if we could recapture the magic we’d enjoyed oh those years ago. But now it’s too late. Now there’s only you and me and each day there is less of you.

Were we to leave right now it would be too late. So we won’t. We’ll stay right here in this room, on this bed, among the deepening shadows that diminish the light in your eyes. All that is left is the moon and stars and they are not enough.

Oh dear, I am sorry. Please forgive me. When you said I do, I didn’t. I didn’t take you to the pyramids and glaciers and mountaintops like I promised. You deserved more. You deserved the world.

We deserved more time.

Lord, I ask that the power of a loving God would exhibit itself in peace and hope, in provision and in our relationship. Save us from ourselves… save us for You.

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. - Mignon McLaughlin

“Time To...” — SHE SAID
Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom—there I will give you my love.
Song of Solomon 7:11-12 NIV

Time is a killer. There never seems to be enough and when I held a job outside the home, plus my family, plus church, plus the ministry...there was even less.

My husband’s a shift-worker and there were days I literally passed him on the road—him on his way to work, me on my way home. I hated that.

Finances and four growing sons dictated the circumstances of time more than our desire to be together. So, when stress made me sick, my husband and I had a real heart-to-heart.

“What’s most important?” I asked. “The kids are grown and though it’s far from great, we’re in the best financial situation we’ve ever been in.”

“I know,” my husband agreed. “So if you want to resign your job, then do it. I do miss you.”

And that...was all I needed to hear. Not the, “if you want to resign then do it” part; but the three words every woman wants to hear—”I miss you.”

We’d spent the last 24 years struggling to provide for our family, digging from beneath mounds of medical expenses that nearly bankrupted us. What was wrong with spending quality time with the man I love? Selfish...maybe. But maybe not.

Solomon enticed his lover to spend time with him, to sneak off for a weekend getaway, accept his advances of love. He knew the importance of spending time with the woman he loved, wooing her, focusing his full attention on her and her on him. It solidified their relationship, bonded them—brought them closer.

I knew my plate was overflowing and my husband, kind and sweet, supported my tediously balanced plate. But when God called me into the ministry, into a different season of life with my husband, a decision had to be made.

These days my husband and I spend lots of time together. Well-meaning friends joked it wouldn’t last; we’d grow tired of one another. Instead, we grow closer. We talk more, do things together, listen better, and desire each other more. He is my lover, my friend, my brother in Christ, and my soul mate, and I make every effort to spend quality time with more than ever.

God instituted the marital relationship as a sacred and holy place—a place where one man and one woman can share their deepest, passionate love.

Make time to spend with the one you love. God blesses the hours we spend in love.

Father, I praise you for the joy and love that you bring. I praise you because you are the Master of all things, the God of the Universe, the maker of mankind. Lord, you are almighty. Thank you Lord, for this day of thanksgiving.

A dress that zips up the back will bring a husband and wife together. - James H. Boren

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