If I Wrote a Love Story…

If I wrote a love story, I’d start it on Mother’s Day. A garden would begin from a grocery cart and a broken heart. The daisies would be half-price. There would be hope. And it would take awhile. There would be no time for cliches. There’d be too much life, too much hard, too much good.


The protagonist would lash out at an unassuming kitchen cabinet and ask hard questions and scribble in prayer and not sing hymns. The love story would be two-fold. The one where she is loved by God (always) and the one where she and her husband laugh (still).

The garden would spill from the porch and her hand would be filled with wildflowers, her womb with nothing, her heart with peace. Her husband would bring home boquets of orange flowers and other amazing wild boquets and they’d laugh and she’d say, “In another life you could be a florist!” Through the years, he’d keep those vases filled with water not quite trusting his wife would remember.

If I wrote a love story, the garden would escape the Porch and the protagonist would escape her prison, and the couple would dream new dreams and forge a way for new beginnings. There would be a sense of excitement burgeoning and then…there would be the sheer miracle of a little boy. Well, before his arrival earthside, there would be laughter on the bathroom floor, anticipation, intense fear, building a lopsided flowerbed and another rose in the ground. The escaped garden ever spilling, ever being. And laughter. So much laughter. (But to be honest, I doubt I’d write that in the story, because I’d try to keep it to real, mistakenly equating real with only sad and dreams never lived.)

In that love story, they’d bring the baby home to sunflowers and she’d sit on the front porch with him. Of course, we’d have to add in the ground squirrels ravaging the garden. It is August, after all. Barely two weeks in, there would be cut flowers from the garden placed in a vase. The first very real and assorted bouquet of a garden that began on Mother’s Day for a childless woman. But in her arms now–flowers, a baby. And life would move as it does. The book would be filled with all sorts of mundane moments and gentle real-life magic.

The couple would grow and the garden would too. He would be carving out the rocky soil to place stepping stones in the ground. She would be pregnant again. A plot twist hoped for, but never imagined quite as good as this! If I wrote a love story, mother and son would go out to the garden for hours and she would push him in his swing. Husband and wife would eat lunch on the garden floor while their son played, while they waited for their daughter…mere weeks away.

If I wrote a love story, they’d steal any spare spring morning to drink coffee in the garden while their two kids grew. And at night when the kids went to bed, they’d be out in the garden watering the plants. But as in any good love story, there’d have to be some sort of water from sky or sprinklers or hose. And in this case, they’d start by watering the plants but revert to splashing each other. Sometimes, they’d argue about how much to water plants or the best method. He’d always bring up those yellow leaves and she’d secretly water the garden decor to make it look especially soaked to convince him yes she really did water and yes it was thorough.

And if I wrote a love story the years would be written in flowers, felt beneath bare feet, heard in the laughter…enjoyed, endured. One night, near the end of the story (so far), they’d be in the garden once again this time putting a simple sprinkler system in. At first, it would feel like poetry. Like maybe she should write about their love story through the lens of their garden. And then it would feel like mosquitoes nipping at arms and legs and faces.

Because the best love stories are just like that. Poetry in one breath, mosquitoes on the other hand.

If I wrote a love story, it’d go on a long, long time. But I’d start with the first eight years. I’d get rid of all the cliches (except the water one, that’s a good one) and keep it true to life. It would be an epic of mundane proportions with dreams (those dreamed & un-dreamed) coming true. I think that’d make a good tag line,

a story true to life where dreams also do come true.

I wonder how many best-sellers there’d be if we wrote the love stories we lived. The kind with kitchens and bathroom floors, dining tables, and gardens grown. The ones with years of aching, yearning and years of blessing, healing. The kind where laughter stays and some questions never get answered, but you are radiant of heart and soul and spirit having been loved & held by God.

And if I wrote this love story, I wonder if anyone would believe me. They would probably scoff, “Too good to be true!” And they would have a point. But I’d write the story anyway. Let them speculate. Let them call it fairytale, let them think it myth. But I’d still answer yes…

a true story…

based on the goodness, kindness, love, and wisdom of God.

Proved every time we’re in the garden. Proved every time we laugh.

Eight years of proof.

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