The Notebook, some Letters and a Small Used Book Store

Our souls were one, if you must know
And never shall they be apart;
With splendid dawn, your face aglow
I reach for you and find my heart.

Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

In 2004, I sat in a theater with a friend and watched as the story of The Notebook played out before me. I watched as a choice was made, a choice which would bring pain in one form or another. As the credits rolled, I sobbed. My friend sobbed. We left in tears both laughing at ourselves for being so corny. So silly.
Love like that doesn’t exist. That kind of magic, that spark of romance, that kind of passion and love can only be found in the imaginations of truly great writers….

After seeing The Notebook, I set out to read every book ever written by Nicholas Sparks. As I read each book, unable to put them down, I was continuously overwhelmed by his stories. Each story oozing with love but dripping with some form of heartache. Each story left me baffled. How could such stories be written if this type of love didn’t exist.
As I finished each book, I couldn’t muster the courage to read The Notebook. I had fallen in love with the movie, that story, and I forever wanted it to stay the way I held it in my memory.
Fast forward twelve years….just four days ago I walked into a small used book store just minutes from home in search of a few books to read over my vacation. As I searched the shelves, there still in it’s book jacket looking brand new, was the book I spent twelve years avoiding. As I pulled the book from the shelf, I knew it was time to read the words of the story I loved so much.
It took less than a day for me to finish. The story, the one I knew so well, drew me in and revealed itself in a whole new way. The story had new meaning. My perspective has changed.
As I read each word, I recognized my own story. I recognized the love described on every page. I understood the passion, the friendship, the commitment, and love that existed between two people so beautifully described.
As I read the words found in that story, I recognized the love of my husband for me. The familiar resemblance of his devotion, affection, commitment and selflessness. I couldn’t restrain my tears but this time the sobs came from a different place. This time the tears that poured surfaced from a place of understanding and gratefulness as I realized that though Hollywood romance doesn’t exist, God’s love is most definitely real and it is amazing.
I went through hell for many years. I experienced hurt in a way that I’m not ever sure I’ve experienced before but I have now been given a gift.

I have been given a gift, a love that I never truly believe existed. I am the wife of a man who loves me well. I am his priority. I am his best friend. I am his confidant. I am his lover and, in his words, his soul mate.
For many years I believed the lie that this kind of love didn’t exist. I was cynical and bought into the hype that love fades or becomes “more like a friendship” but now I know differently.
This week I’ve been away from my love, my other half 😉 Something that rarely happens because truthfully there is nothing I hate more than being away from him. But he loves me well. He left letters with one of his secret agents (I assume one of my children but no one will confess) which have been delivered to me each day reminding me of his love. I’m constantly overwhelmed by this gift I’ve been given.
My mom pointed out to me that he is setting the bar awfully high for my girls. I agree. And thankfully so. For me, my hope and my prayer for my daughters (and my sons) is that they see how well their mom is loved and never settle for anything less. I often remind them that if they are willing to wait for a man (or woman) who loves Jesus more than themselves….this kind of love does exist.
Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love;  it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs  or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight!  Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what. 

– 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends.

John 15:13

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