Fort Worth, Texas was an interesting place in post World War II America. First, it struggled with societal changes wrought by the war. Later, it worked to find a balance between the “Cowtown,” image it cherished, and the reality of being a prime nuclear target for the Soviet Union. Duck and cover drills were a regular school activity, while the Strategic Air Command patrolled the skies.
In the midst of change, in the midst of fear, two kids traveled separate paths to adulthood. She came from a successful Jewish family. For his family, success was a fantasy. In his home, faith and religion could not stand against the instability of his father. Faith and tradition were the core of hers.
Over the years, she was surrounded by friends, family and plenty. He, on the other hand, lived an almost nomadic existence. Friendships disappeared as often as his address changed. Completing a school year in the same house was the exception, not the rule. Her father was a rock, holding the family together. His father was lost in the pain, despair and confusion haunting him from his childhood and his service in the war.
Life after high school was an extension of their youth. She went off to college. He lived at home, working his way through school. Her father led the family business to new heights. His moved on to chase his fantasies and lusts, leaving wife and son behind. Eventually, she married her knight in shining armor. He married a hometown girl who could only see his charm.
For decades they walked their respective paths. She as a faithful wife and loving mother, doing her best to extend the legacy of stability and family she inherited. He as the not so faithful husband, failing to provide the stability and family he never knew as a child. Eventually, both were alone, families destroyed. Hers by a husband who failed to live up to the example of his father, while he could not rise above the example set by his.
This was their story. Two souls born a month a part, raised in the same town. Two kids whose parents knew each other professionally. Two young people graduating from rival high schools the same year, with friends and memories in common. Two adults who married, had families and likely passed each other on the street or in a crowd more than once. Yet, they never met.
Thirty years after high school that changed. A party was planned for someone both knew. She accepted, excitedly telling the host of the new man in her life. A man she wanted her friends to meet at the party. He declined. His plans for that weekend were to visit family on the coast.
Work derailed his plans. Suddenly, he needed to be in town instead of on the coast. Even more suddenly her plans fell apart. The new man revealed himself to be a lot like the old husband, and they parted company the day before the party.
He called to say he was joining the celebration after all. She called to say she wasn’t. The host was welcoming to him, consoling to her. Consoling and kind, the host convinced her coming to the celebration would be better than sitting home alone. The next day, another plan started coming to fruition. A plan that had been in the works since they were born.
He saw her step out of her car and walk toward the house. She saw him standing on the porch talking to a couple she knew. He wanted to say something. She acted as if he were invisible. The day played out. They never spoke, but they touched. He stepped into the prayer circle beside her before dinner, taking her hand. Not long after dinner he took his leave, blaming his long drive home.
The next day he called the host for her number. She told the host no. She wasn’t taking any calls, especially from him. For goodness sake she said. Her girlfriend liked him! The host reminded her he did not ask for the girlfriend’s number. She took his call. Three hundred and seventy-nine days later they married.
As they say, the rest is history. Their lives seemed totally unplanned, but that was not the case. Two kids with nothing in common, were destined to meet when it was their time. Both had lives to live, lives to touch and challenges to overcome. Both came to Christ by different paths. Both ended up at a mutual friend’s home, as if by chance. Twenty-one years later they are still holding hands, and following God’s plan.
God works in His time not ours. The next time you wonder about His plan for you or someone you love, remember this story. Whether a love story, a story of salvation or a battle with no end in sight, God has a plan that will come together on His schedule, not yours.
© S. E. Jackson – 2017