Davis and I met years ago. It seems like yesterday, I was walking in the hallways of our high school searching for his A’s hat. I knew his name (praise the Lord for MySpace), and I knew he was dreamy… and I knew I liked the A’s too, so obviously we were going to get married. We never talked, we never hung out, we pretended to not know each other. Years later, I was at his high school graduation party; oh God, it was so awkward. I remember walking into his family’s house, and falling in love with it already. There were crosses, Jesus plates, and grandma-made home decor. My first thought was: He loves Jesus? My second: I don’t know anything about cars, what are these guys talking about? A year later, I seen him again at a party. I went with a guy I was dating, and so this time, Davis really kept his distance… A year after that, it was New Years Eve party. Before the party, I vented to my best friend “DAVIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL, WHY DOESN’T HE GIVE ME ATTENTION” We arrive to this party and there he is. I went with all of my beautiful friends, and yet he walked straight up to me. I regret not staying until midnight, but from that moment on, it was game on.
At the time, I lived an hour out of town, without a car. I was working and going to school, and he worked graveyard. He made it work. He would drive an hour to see me, two hours to work, and an hour back home, just to wake up and do it all over again. The first thing I learned about Davis, was he was in love with Jesus. Sundays were my favorite. We would go to church together, and during worship he would grab my hand. This was what I wanted all along. The second thing I learned was Davis could fix anything. He was constantly working, building, helping, fixing anything for anyone. Mostly cars, but you could see this was a gift from God, not just a talent he picked up. After a few months of dating, the third important thing I learned, was he was interested in the Air Force.
I begged him to not do it. Try out college, or a better full-time job, ANYTHING, just please don’t do THAT. No one in my immediate family was in the military, so the only examples I had were Black Hawk Down and Dear John… so, no. I refuse to be a “military girlfriend.” Months passed, and God wreaked my heart. I was being so selfish, and closed-minded . This was what he was born to do all along, this was why He blessed him. I let my selfishness and fear of being alone or dependent keep me from supporting him. After a year of dating, we had a serious talk. What do we want out of life? What are our goals? Are we really meant to be together? He told me he still felt called to serve, and I said okay. His face was confused, he accused me of lying, but I wasn’t. I loved him, and together or apart, I was going to support him, because that’s what friends do…
The process started. Meeting the requirements, the studying, the testing, the meeting… He got in the USAF DEP November 2013. I was so happy for him, he was glowing. In January, he was at work and got called into the recruiters office. When he got there, they gave him his “ship date” and everything became real. His ship date was March 25th. Two months notice, which was both too much and too little time. They flew by way too fast, and they broke my heart for way too long. February 16th, two days after our second anniversary, he got on one knee. It was perfect. Engaged or not, I was still 100% by his side.
March 16th, his family threw him the best party either of us have ever gone to. The love and support from all of his friends my family, his family,and my family brought so much peace into his heart!
The last week was a roller-coaster for everyone. It was bittersweet. It was excited and proud one moment, and scared and unsure the next. It was the last Sunday. I dragged him to church, and during worship we were silent. The message wasn’t a message from our pastor, but everyone’s experience with grace, and what does grace mean to them. One by one, church members would go up. Some funny and playful, some thankful and appreciative. Then we were asked to do a spur of the moment worship song… and it hit me.
The words, the music, the moment, God had hit me so hard. This was the last time I was going to worship with Davis by my side for a long time. The last time we would call a church home for a long long time. It was the same church we went to years ago, and God brought us back to it. How selfish was I being to put God to the side and focus on how hard it was for us? Who was I to question his plan again and make it about me and my fairy tale? Davis heard me sobbing, and he couldn’t hold it back either. With make up down my face, and my sleeves covered in teary foundation, I was relieved the song ended. YAY! No more tears, lets just tuck our heads down an make a run for the car…
We sat again, and as I am wiping tears away still, I hear them call our name to the stage… no, please God, no more. We look at each other and lift each other up. We walk up, and our best friends and pastor are up there with us. The introduce us to the church, and explain what we are going through, and about to go through. The asked everyone to bow their heads and pray for us… it was the first time anyone had ever prayed for me without me asking them too. It was the first time first time Davis and I were in front of a church so venerable and speechless. Any other day, we could speak in front of anyone, but this was a first… and I realized this was grace. This wasn’t the end, but the beginning. We were not just leaving our old life learning about God and in comfortably, we were entering a life of trusting God and going out into the world for Him as a unit.
As the church prayed for us, the tears came more powerful and heartbreaking as ever, not out of sadness, but the birth of a new heart. A new heart for God, a new heart for Davis, and a new heart for myself. Peace came back into our relationship, and the fear disappeared. We were ready to fight for what God brought together. We went to the beach after, fell in love all over again.
I cried the last night he was home. I cried the last morning he was home. I cried watching him pack up his room and throw things away. I cried just thinking of how much I would miss him and how much I couldn’t wait to see him. The night we took him to the hotel was a blessing in disguise. What was supposed to be sad, wasn’t. He checked into his room, and came back out. We drank hot coco and cuddled in the lobby. His family talked about movies, and mosquitos, and he was calm. This was everything he wanted. He wanted it to be normal, he wanted to feel like he was at home. I cried when I hugged him the last time for that night. He called before bed, and explained to me what would happen the next day.
March 25th he was officially active in the Air Force. We went to the center and got to spend some time with him before the ceremony. They called him back, and when he returned his face was a face I’d never seen before. It was strong and straight to the point. He looked at us and said “This is the last time I will see you guys, I won’t be able to spend time with you after the ceremony.” I hugged him, and quickly stepped away to let his family hug him. When they were done, he stared at me. His mom nudged me to hug him again, so I did. It was the first time I refused to let go. The tears poured down and I said I love you. He had to go but my arms were locked, and I felt him sink… we made eye contact and he left.
We were asked to go into the ceremony room, where he was front row. He looked so strong and brave, but of coarse it wasn’t anything his siblings couldn’t break through. He smiled and laughed, it was the cutest thing ever. He heard their officer walking and he put on a straight face again, and we just laughed at how good he was at it. Did he practice this in the mirror or something? The swearing-in started. It was straight to the point, and he was so handsome doing it. They gave us a minute after to hug good bye. It was the first time I didn’t cry (not that his dad betting me money had anything to do with it). We had our last kiss, and it was all smiles.
He hugged everyone and again, I was the last. His dad was whispering “Oh last hug, this is so sad” to get me to budge, but I wouldn’t. I smiled, and Davis said not to cry, so I didn’t. I knew this would come one day, and I was blessed to be so prepared for it. He let go, and went into a classroom, and we left the building. Walking down the halls this time, I wasn’t looking for the boy in the A’s hat anymore, I was collecting his dad’s $10, and looking for our next adventure.