Better late than never is a cliche, but there is a hint of truth in every cliche, and this one fits us to a T. There is truly wonder in the gift of later-life love that leaves me in awe of the Creator. Wonder defines a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, and it is caused by something beautiful and/or unexpected. For me, the love that finally came into my life in my fifties was so unexpected and beautiful, especially as we met on the Internet. Viva la Internet!
I marvel every day at this wonder in my life, religiously remembering every day to thank God for my finally love: my Douglas. I wrote a previous post about us, but I could not pass up the prompt today as expressed perfectly what I feel about my life with my husband.
By the time he came into my life, I was nearly too afraid to be in love with anybody. I had lost so much of my ability to trust that anyone could love me and not for what I brought to the table. I even asked friends to look at my forehead and tell me if there were writing there that said, “If you are looking for someone to provide for you without having to give anything in return or is in need of rescue, then call Regina.”
Of course, there wasn’t anything written on my forehead, it just seemed like it was. So, in my fiftieth year of life, I did two things that changed my life and opened he door for true love. First, I learned how to drive a car. I know that sounds so weird, but I had spent my whole adult life afraid to drive. But, not being able to drive meant that I always had to depend on someone else, usually a husband, to take me places. That need meant that I remained in relationships longer than I should have, mainly because of the double fear of driving and of the panic attacks I suffered in enclosed spaces like buses.
The day I earned my driver’s license was a pivotal moment in my life, and it would prove so important to having the wonderful life I have today with Douglas. When we met on the internet, we lived about a 45-to 60-minutes drive from each other. Douglas always drove to see me as I was too scared to drive that far, having to go on the interstate. But, one day, he invited me to an outing for the Singles’ ministry at his church. It was so close to his house that it made no sense for him to have to make four trips to get me and take me back home. So, he asked me to come there. Are you kidding me?! You want me to drive on the interstate? It is not happening! Sorry!
But, then he said that although he really liked me and wanted the relationship to work, he was tired of being the only one making the long drive, and I could see that he was right. Somehow I knew that if I could not make that drive, I would lose the relationship. So, I prayed to God to give me the courage to drive so far and on the interstate, and I prayed that He would keep me in His tender care, providing angels to drive with me and for me.
As I had never been to Douglas’s house, I also asked God to touch my spirit if I was going someplace I had no business going (Yes, that might have been my way of trying to get out of the drive!). But no bad feelings came, so I got in my new Kia Rio, stepped out in faith, and drove to the meeting place that we had agreed on.
When he saw me drive up, there was such a smile on his face and I was so happy to see him. We went to the bonfire that his church group had planned, and I have to tell you that I was a little uncomfortable being the only black person in the group, but especially because one or two of the middle-age white women were looking at me as though I had stole something from them.
Although my heart hurt for them, I was not giving up this man! As scary as it was driving back home in the dark, I learned that I truly could do more than I thought I could, and today when I am driving all over the place, I thank Douglas for challenging me to go beyond my comfort zone. That is just one part of the wonder of him, as he keeps challenging me to do more, whether it is evangelism or trying new restaurants.
The second thing I did was decide that I had to learn to live alone. So, I stopped dating all together. It was just getting too weird. Men in their fifties and sixties were asking me to dress more sexy, with shorter or tighter clothes, which was not me at all. After a few of those dates, I needed a break. I was determined to be loved for myself, and not to change myself just to have a man. I had finally come to see the lie in the saying that any man is better than no man.
From 2001 to 2003, I just learned how to be alone, how to enjoy my own company, and how to go out and have fun alone. I went to the Symphony, to movies and plays, and just learned to be at peace by myself. I dressed as I wanted and stayed out as late as I wanted, with no one dictating what they thought I needed to change about me. So, by the middle of 2003, I was ready to try again. That period alone allowed me to appreciate Douglas more afterwards because I was not so desperate for someone that I would choose anybody.
So, I joined a Christian dating site, and signed up for the ten-day free period, to see if what might happen. Well, the only response I got was a man from India wanting a green card. I had to tell him that I only dated men with “Made in America” stamped on their backsides. By the tenth day, there were no more responses, so I let it go. About a week or two later, I received a response but had to pay $24.95 to see it. I prayed about it, and feeling confident, I went for it.
As I wrote before, when I saw that he was white, I thought I had lost my money, but he turned out to be the best thing I ever paid money to see. We spent many months getting to know each other from afar, and when we met the first time, I knew he was special. It has been nearly 15 years from the day I received his response, and we have been married for 14 of them, on our way to “until death do we part.”
I stand in awe still at the ways in which God works in our lives. It was a nudge to my spirit that had me up one early morning changing my preference from only black men to men of any race. The best change of my life. Late-life love, or what I call, finally love, is the best love, I believe. We met after we had parented our children and when we were both free for adventures in our lives. We are old enough to know that what matters most is not sexual attraction but heart attraction, which lasts longer and is less subject to change.
But most of all, we have both lived through horrors in past relationships so bad that we can appreciate the lack of drama in our lives. Being closer to the end of our lives, we take comfort in each other’s company, relishing every day that God gives up together, realizing that it could end at any moment. We thank God for each other every day, and we both stand in awe of the depth, breadth, length, and width of God’s love for us, demonstrated in connecting us together when we both had wondered if we would ever be truly loved in this lifetime.
God is the ultimate Matchmaker of the universe, bringing people together to love each other and to work together to do His work. Douglas and I work as a team, hoping to do the Master’s will, and I would not want to do so with anyone else. Finally, I listened to God’s whispering in my heart to slow down and let Him do the choosing, and, just as God said that everything He created was good in those first days of Creation, so I believe that He sees us in the wonder of our finally love, and our Father in Heaven says, “It is good.”
For all of those still waiting for finally love, trust in God to lead you, to know exactly what and who you need. For something so important to our spiritual, mental, and, often, physical health, we must not use somethings as fickle as romantic love or trust in fairy tales. Let Jesus be the wonder in your soul, and trust God to always do what is best for you. If what occurs in your relationships does not line up with Scriptures, that person is not for you. Pray, trust, believe, and, with God’s leading, be willing to go beyond your comfort zone.