Here I sit waiting in the car in a parking lot beside a jail. I may be here for a while and I’ve brought plenty to read but I want a pen! Any paper will do. Purse? No. The car’s glove compartment? No. Ah, here’s one. Not like my good pen but it will have to do.
Now, a few days later I must transfer what I wrote that sunny cool day. Here goes:
Such a pretty place to park. Such a tall and formidable building next to it! This grandma never knew what kind of drama her youngest grandchild would bring. Katie is 23 going on 24 and I’ve brought her to visit the young man of 26 she has promised herself to, one Jeffrey Allen Smith.
The others in our family, aside from Katie’s parents and me, do not know Jeff. All they know is that he’s behind bars. They don’t know the history, the story of why, the reasons. Too complicated to explain even here, but we who know the story are not blinded by obvious mistakes to the confidence of these two young people in love. We have seen the pain of wrong choices our children have suffered and now we see the hope and the way circumstances have separated these two physically but are uniting them in spirit and soul. Letters and phone calls and weekend visits behind glass through telephone are the only tangible connections for six more months. The intangibles, the “getting to know you, getting to know all about you...” part, is coming in a way that most courtships cannot know or benefit by.
As Grandma, sitting on the sidelines, making a home for Katie until Jeff can do it, I support them both. I believe in their love and commitment, in their hopes and plans for the future and in their present preparation for a good life together. The past, having served its purpose to show wrong choices and harsh consequences, will be, (I pray!), left in the dusty road behind.
Plans are being made now to seal their love with a jailhouse wedding. It will be simple, without any one of the families there. (That's the way they do it here.) A formal wedding with friends and family where they will renew their vows will come later. It will be lovely too.
Marriage may not be easy. It seldom is. But it will be a testing time, a new path of sharing the good, overcoming the bad, and loving each other every step of the way. Marriage is, I believe, a chance to demonstrate the oneness of two people in love as a preparation for our oneness with God, divine Love. Where else but on this exquisite blue planet can we better prepare ourselves to launch out into Heaven and explore the Infinite?
Well, I’m glad I found a pen. Now, a bit of editing. Maybe others will think me foolish, addled by old age. They may look more coldly on the scant view of Katie and Jeff's youth years. They may say, “Prove yourselves first, like we did.” But I say, No, when you get to be my age you can’t let go of hope in the good we see only through faith. By the way, Faith was my mother’s name. Katie bears her name second, Kathryn Faith. It seems appropriate for us all to have faith now. There’s really no other choice. I'm asking you skeptics out there to join me in supporting these two children. After all, we're all children in one form or another and in the schoolroom of life we'll all graduate soon or late. And then we celebrate!