Grant stared into my eyes, realizing that I needed to tell him something important.
We were still sitting on the stone bench in the cemetery and it was starting to get chilly as the sun was sinking behind the trees.
“GraceAnna, what’s wrong? You know you can tell me anything.”
“Grant, I’m afraid to tell you,” my voice was shaking now and I felt on the verge of tears.
The last thing I wanted to do was say something that might hurt him. I had felt so full of courage just a few moments before, but now I was losing that courage and afraid that I was about to ruin the special afternoon we had just spent together remembering his father.
Grant’s face had a look of concern, “Tell me, GraceAnna. You can trust me.”
I looked at the honesty in his face and I knew he was telling me the truth. I knew I could trust him and that he wouldn’t reject me for what I was about to say.
“Well,” I began, “ever since you arrived, I have felt disconnected from you. When I close my eyes and I hear your voice, everything feels normal, like it’s been for the past four months. But when I open my eyes, I feel like we just met. It’s like I can’t seem to connect the Grant that I’ve fallen in love with to the Grant sitting here in front of me.”
“GraceAnna,” Grant’s face looked confused, “I don’t understand. It’s me! It’s me, Grant.”
“I know, I don’t understand it either. It’s tearing me up on the inside and I haven’t wanted to say anything about it. But, I can’t keep a secret from you. And, well, I need you to pray for me.”
“I have noticed that you have seemed a little distant and that something has been bothering you.”
“Yes, GraceAnna, I know you.” We sat there in silence for a few moments as Grant processed what I had just said. I could see the sadness in his eyes now and my tears started to fall as I realized that I was hurting him.
“GraceAnna, I love you, and nothing is going to change that, but I want you to love me back. I want you to feel comfortable with me. I don’t want you to be forcing yourself to feel a certain way about me… GraceAnna, look at me.”
My gaze had shifted to the ground and as I looked up at him Grant brushed a piece of my hair out of my face.
“GraceAnna, I’ll be praying for you. Trust me, I want this to work out. I have given my whole heart to you. You are the girl of my heart.”
“Grant, I do love you, I know that. I don’t want you to doubt that. But for some reason, I don’t feel the way I know I should feel. And I know that if I truly love you that I have to be honest with you.“
We sat there in silence again. Grant was hurting over the things I had just said and I was hurting that I had said them.
Instead of Grant walking away from me or getting angry, he looked at me and smiled, “I love you, girl. Let’s go.”
I watched him stand up. He amazed me. How could he treat me with such respect at this moment? How could he love me like that when I had just hurt him?
This must be true love.
We got back in the car and drove out the gate of the now dark cemetery; leaving behind the thousands of white headstones and an afternoon that I wanted to always remember and yet forget at the same time.
I sat alone on the floor of my bedroom at my parents house that night. Grant and I had parted for the day.
I looked around my room. This was the room that had been mine since I was five years old. I had so many memories in this room. It had gone through so many different phases of redecorating – with myself being the chief designer and implementor of those ideas. I had played dress-up and house in this room. I had applied for college in this room. I had read my Clemson acceptance letter in this room.
I had laughed and cried so many tears in this room.
And now, as I sat on the floor as a twenty-three year old, I cried again.
I felt terrible. I was angry with myself for not feeling the way I wanted to feel. I was angry with myself for hurting Grant and ruining what was supposed to be some of the best 10 days of my life.
Dear God, I prayed, what is going on? I can’t do this, the pain is too great.
It would be better to have never loved Grant at all then to fall in love with the most amazing man I’d ever dreamed of and then to feel disconnected from him somehow.
I poured out my heart before the Lord that night.
Father, I prayed. If this is some sort of spiritual battle to keep Grant and I apart, I pray that you would intervene and get rid of it. Or if it’s just me, I pray that you would overcome whatever it is that’s going on and help me not to feel this way. Please, open my eyes. If Grant is the man that you want me to marry, then get rid of these fears. And if he’s not the one for me, then please help me see that more clearly and help me get through this, because I cannot do it in my own strength.
I prayed with tears falling down my face for a really long time. My mom came in at one point and sat next to me and prayed with me.
Then, I climbed up into my bed and fell asleep. I didn’t know what was in store for the next day, but I finally felt a peace about everything for the first time since Grant had arrived.
to be continued…