Friday, March 13, 2009

Love Ballad for Luis

So I was perusing Adam Lambert's profile on his American Idol web page when I came across the following quote, which you can find if you click on side arrows in the Q&A section:

What's your proudest moment?

Falling in love.

Immediately, I thought, "Yeah. I get it. That's what happened to me."

Nine years ago, give or take a few weeks, I fell in love. It was the proudest, bravest, smartest thing I have ever done. Despite all my carefully cultivated caution, my 10-year wound from an agonizing relationship that wouldn't die until I finally pulled the plug, my insistence that I had given up on men forever – I fell truly-madly-deeply in love with someone I expected would inevitably reject me.

Luis and I couldn't have seemed more different on the surface. He was 21, Hispanic, raised in poverty in East L.A. in a world where conservative political opinion and Protestant theology were rarely spoken, a theological skeptic who mocked Christians, drop-dead gorgeous despite that don't-mess-with-me walk and averted stare born of necessity during a childhood marred by gang violence. I was 43, divorced with a 16-year-old son, a reformed spoiled youngest child, a middle class WASP, a lapsed Lutheran, proudly conservative, 50lbs. overweight not counting the invisible armor that was supposed to protect me from further heartbreak.

We were forced to work together on the Board of Directors where I lived. He swears it was love at first meeting. It took three months and a scary car accident that emboldened him to make his move. I never saw it coming.

It took a month for me to go walking with him at a local park after work. I agreed, thinking he would soon realize how impossible it was to overcome the obstacles between us. I hoped, after spending a few hours together, we could part as friends and continue working together on the HOA. Instead, I discovered innate intelligence, irresistible charm, humor, depth, maturity, wisdom, humility, manliness and gentlemanliness in one beautiful package – a combination of traits I never found in the dozens of men I dated from my teens through my forties.

We kept walking and talking – and I kept balking – until somehow I was eager to take the biggest risk of my life. Nine months after our first date, I married my soulmate – although I was stilled bedeviled by the fear that he would reject me in old age.

For the past 6 years, Luis has been the most dedicated partner imaginable in my battle against breast cancer. Just as I had to confront the very real possibility that I would never reach old age, his constant support and unconditional love completely erased my vain fears. Without reservation, he took in my deaf brother while I was undergoing chemotherapy – moving him 3,000 miles from Florida to our home in California when my sister suddenly died – and raised my son as his own.

When I was treated for my first episode of metastatic breast cancer in 2006, he committed his life to Christ, became an evangelist and enrolled in Bible college. Then I had a miraculous remission, the likes of which my oncologist had never seen before.

Since December 2008, I have been undergoing chemotherapy for my second episode of metastatic breast cancer, which is considered terminal and incurable. Barring divine intervention, I am in the last months or dozens of months of my life. Luis and I are fused by unbreakable bonds – the deepest of earthly loves and a shared devotion to our Savior, Jesus Christ. God has given us His peace, hope and strength. We are as happy together as ever.

Tomorrow will be the sixth Deaf Awareness Day we have attended together with my brother at Disneyland. At the last minute, I decided I should get a long-sleeved Winnie the Pooh shirt to wear to amuse our niece and nephews, who will accompany us. While shopping at a Goodwill thrift store, George Benson's uptempo version of the Jeffrey Osborne/LTD song, Love Ballad, came on the muzak system. The lyrics instantly reminded me of my wonderful husband – and I cried, which I rarely do these days.

I wish I had the time left to write a book about my amazing Luis, but these lyrics are a good start.

LOVE BALLAD (George Benson)

I have never been so much
In love, in love before
What a difference
How true love made in my life
So nice and so right

Lovers come and then lovers go
That's what the people say
Don't they know
How it feels when you love me
Hold me and say you care
And what we have is much more than they can see
And what we have is much more than they can see
Baby what we have is much more than they see
Oh baby, whoa yeah

I'm in love, I'm in love with you

I say love I never knew that a touch
Could mean, could mean so much
What a difference
And when we walk hand in hand
I feel, I feel so real

Lovers come and then lovers go
That's what the people say
Don't they know
How I feel when you love me
Hold me and say you care
And what we have is much more than they can see
And what we have is much more than they can see
Baby, what we have is much more than they can see

Better yet, here's George.

1 comment:

Susie said...

Terrie, I came to your site through your name/link on mj's when you commented on David Archuleta singing Selena.

First, thank you for your comment about him! I agree!! I think in time David may well be considered one of AI's greatest! Love the kid and pray continually that he knows our Jesus. (I don't know much about the Mormon belief system.)

Second, CONGRATULATIONS on your marriage to Luis and on his commitment to our Lord! WOW! Isn't our God great!

Third, your site is AWESOME! You are a talented and witty writer. Especially loved the conversation with the Obama supporters. Kudos!

Most important, I will pray for that miracle for you!!!

Well...having no doubt used my full quota of exclamation marks for one post, I should end. But please know that I will pray!

Love in Him!