|Francy age 10|
|Gene age 7|
There was a boy, a pale-skinned, freckled face, strawberry blond boy, born in Manhattan. A little seed in the Big Apple.
This boy spoke English, yet went to a French elementary school. His parents said it was the best school near their apartment. He didn’t learn much French, maybe: “Est-ce-que je peux aller aux toilettes?” and other essential phrases. Most of the time he’d fall asleep at the kitchen table staring at letters that didn’t make sense. In class, he’d focus on the skyscraper view out the window and imagine the people inside who didn’t have to be stuck in school, but he was funny and could twist humor out of any situation.
This boy liked to play stick ball with his friends who lived in the same apartment building. He liked riding his Huffy bike to Central Park…but one day a group of teenagers surrounded him and pushed him off his bike. The tallest thief hopped on the bike and rode off with his friends, laughing. Their voices faded in the distance as the boy walked home with blood dripping from his scraped knees. He blinked his tears away because this was the city.
That year he and his parents, two brothers and three cats moved to the south shore of Long Island, a beach town, just a short train ride from the city. He had fresh air and a new bike but no friends…so he drew pictures and cartoons for hours, every day. He drew the cats he didn’t know he was allergic to and took asthma medicine to help him breathe.
The boy played baseball in high school as a starting pitcher. He didn’t care for the beach since his skin would turn red as raspberries, so he stayed indoors and drew more cats and caricatures. After graduating high school, he went to the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan to draw some more. While sorting through oil paint tubes, yellow ochre and cadmium red, at the art store where he worked, his friend asked him if he knew how much God loved him. This girl had a joy in her unlike anyone he knew and a roommate he wanted to date.
There was a girl, born on the north shore of Long Island. Her mom loved helping people and her smile could lift anyone’s mood; if that didn’t work, her Bostonian accent with its missing r’s could cause a chuckle. She had green eyes with long, curled eyelashes. The girl wished she would grow up as beautiful as her mom and someday be a model or at least a dancer.
Her dad had a job helping kids with bad parents. Whenever he was home, he would draw. The girl watched him sketch landscapes, fruit, and portraits, the loose way he held his pastels, the slow and quick strokes, the energy created as he covered the page with color. His drawings looked so real. She listened when he explained what made the Mona Lisa special and why Picasso’s Guernica was famous.
She knew she could draw so she did, mostly models from fashion magazines. She drew more than she talked at school and hated being called shy, but she always had a best friend. After the girl lost one friend to cancer, she didn’t let anyone get too close, always afraid it could happen again. She reserved a secret part of her that wouldn’t open up to her parents, sister, or friends. No one knew how or why she wanted to be so thin. She didn’t know either, but lost control, but somehow survived high school living on cereal and cucumbers.
After graduating, she moved into the dorm at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan to study design and illustration. Her second roommate was a gift, a girl who told her God loved her and invited her to church. The roommate asked the girl if she would date her friend who worked with her at the art store. The friend with the strawberry blond hair and big laugh. One day the girl said yes…to the date, to church, and to God.
There is a God who knew this young man and this young lady before they were conceived; He knew the day they’d meet. He knew the intricate yet fragile threads of their years and how perfectly they would weave into a chord. He knew what they would be together. This man would take her hand in his as they strolled the city streets, and they would share their past, their love for art, and their new faith in Christ. She made him feel whole. He made her feel beautiful.
God knew they would stand before Him under a cloudless sky and vow to love one another with the Lord as their foundation. He knew the struggles, the storms, the fears, but He would be their helper, their friend, and rock to lean on. He would bless them with joy and a full house of four boys and a girl. He knew what they would be together…husband and wife. And it is good.