It is a cold day in late January of 1956, and I find myself feeling that the day is controlling my life much more than I am willing to admit. Even the possibility of it snowing will bring a welcome relief to the gloomy atmosphere created by a sky heavy with low, gray clouds and the hurried activity of daily college life. The usual “hurry up”, “gotta get to class”, “study”, “grab something to eat”, “get this day finished”, has been the order of the day.
The only pause in campus activity comes when we all meet together in chapel for the daily devotional period and even these wonderful minutes seem rushed this day. I find myself in the midst of a day that pulls at my heart, leaving me with feelings of loneliness, even though a rushed and noisy body of students surrounds me. I find myself longing for the one person that will restore sanity, warmth and calmness to my seemingly incomplete world.
Kay and I have been engaged almost three months now and even though I know I must study and make my grades, the light of my day centers in her and I know I must see her before this troublesome day ends. Finding her in the cafeteria for the evening meal surrounded by other students, we talk casually, realizing it is good just being together and we do our best to seal out the rest of the world.
As we are about to leave the cafeteria inside that beautiful old mansion that serves as the center of our campus life, we glance out the massive entrance doors and see that the snow is beginning to fall across our world. It is now lying gracefully on the beautiful white-stoned ornate well where we have sat many times talking about our life together. We watch as the fading light reveals large and beautiful flakes as they come floating lazily down from a windless sky. I take one look at Kay and I know what she is thinking as we find our coats and hurry out the door. The girl’s dorm would be our normal destination as we walk together this time of day, but not this day. To our left is a long tree-lined road that leads us to the far entrance of the campus. We have traveled this way many times in the past. A gradual slope takes us to the top of the hill and a magnificent view of the old mansion and our beloved world. You see, this beautiful campus is where we fell in love.
As we walk together there seems to be no reason for words. The scenery around us is breathtaking as the vanishing light of day sends peaceful shadows across the new fallen snow. There is no wind to distract us and yet enough daylight to keep us joyfully aware of what lies before us. As we walk, I look at Kay wearing the long black coat that I have seen her in so many times this cold winter season. She pulls it close to keep out the chill of the winter day and adjusts the gray headscarf framing her face in the fading light. Once again, as so many times before in her presence, I find myself speechless but I keep telling myself, “I can not believe that you are beside me making this moment so beautiful.” “How can you love me the way you do?” “Your heart seems so full of care, tenderness and love.”
I look at her again and it is snowing much harder now as the flakes begin to build up on her headscarf and across her shoulders. She is the most beautiful person I have ever known. Just at that instant, she looks my way and smiles. It is as though she knows quite well, what I am thinking. Her eyes and smile tell me that I am in her heart and nothing else matters. We begin laughing and running through the falling snow and upon reaching the top of the hill, she is like a bird that has been set free from her cage. I have seen her like this before and every time it happens, my heart opens to her and I find myself captivated and breathless by her energy and spirit. It is obvious to me that she has released all the stress and difficulty of this hectic day.
We step aside between big cedar shrubs to shelter ourselves and look back at the campus. The old mansion, now framed in a beautiful halo of light and the snow-covered ground now gleaming with streaks of gray and gold, reminds us as this day ends and as the snow continues to fall, that we both know we are where we need to be in our lives. I take her in my arms and we seem to melt into the one spirit that we long to be in our life together. We kiss gently, feeling the warmth of our breath in the cold evening air. As she lays her head on my shoulder, we find that neither of us wants to move. This uncomfortable day with all of its problems seems to melt away for me also, and I am free.
Again, there seems to be no need for either of us to say anything as we start back down the hill together. The temperature is dropping quickly and a cold wind draws us even closer together. I can feel the cold on my face now but I just do not want to hurry our steps. We walk only a short distance when she suddenly stops, reaches up, and gently places her hand on my face. The warmth of her hand touches my heart and I never want her to take it away. I look into her deep green, gentle and loving eyes, wondering what this is all about and for a moment, there is a gentle silence. Finally, she whispers softly, “I love you”.
It has now been over 56 years since that moment and it seems like it happened this very day. The warmth of her hand, the look in her eyes and the beautiful quietness of the moment settle over my being and fill me completely.
There is a prayer in my heart this day as we walk back together. I am praying deep within that this day will never end. It never has. I can still feel the warmth of her touch and I knew then as I know now, I will be in her heart forever.
it is because—
she placed her hand on my face and touched my heart and—
I can still feel—
the touch of her hand.