A Smile for Eternity
Jared is a man in his fifties. He was married for a few years, a long time ago; back when he was young and impulsive. It is a chapter in his life that he chooses not to revisit. He has a successful real estate business, and has done quite well in property investment. Financially, his life is set, but he has no one to share his life with.
One day as he was driving home from meeting with a client, his car broke down. Fortunately he wasn’t too far from a service station and he and a few good Samaritans pushed his car to the station so that he could have it worked on. Knowing that it would take a while for his car to get fixed, the Service Manager gave Jared a certificate for a sandwich or burger at the restaurant next door, and told him that they would call when his car is finished.
Jared walked across a full parking lot of cars and wondered if he would be able to get a seat; it seems to be very busy. What he didn’t realize is that the restaurant sits at the end of a bowling center, and it is league day.
He went in and there were plenty of seats in the restaurant. He walked up to the counter to order and noticed that there was a bowling alley connected with the restaurant. He told the waitress who was taking his order that he hadn’t been in a bowling alley for thirty-five years or more. The waitress told him that she could bring his food to him out in the center if he would like to sit and watch the bowlers, so he sat down at one of the tables in the bowling center and had his lunch.
He couldn’t believe how many people were bowling in the middle of the afternoon. The waitress explained that it was a league, and they bowl the same day every week. While he was thoroughly enjoying sitting and watching the bowlers, a woman caught his eye, he assumed that the man she was bowling with was her husband. She captured his attention because she had such a happy smile; looking at her made Jared feel happier. He waited there for over an hour, but didn’t mind the wait because the sight of this woman made him feel a sense of joy.
The service station called on Jared’s cell to let him know that his car was ready. He hated to leave the woman with the smile he would never forget, and the funny thing was that she was completely unaware that he had even been there.
Jared picked up his car and went home for the rest of the day. He settled in on his favorite lounge chair and began to think about the woman with the captivating smile, and then he began to pray; he said, “Father, we both know that I’m not getting any younger, and I’ve been alone for a long time now. Why can’t I have a second chance at love? I can’t imagine having to live my life out all alone like this. I’m lonely every fourteen hundred and forty minutes of the day. I promise I would try my best this time, if You would just give me a second chance. I know that I messed up my first marriage, and I deserved for her to leave me the way that she did, but that was thirty years ago, I’ve made a lot of changes in my life, and would like to believe that I am a different man now from who I was back then. Please Father, I wholeheartedly ask; bring me someone that I can share my life and my love with.” At this point the tears began to run down Jared's cheeks, but he continue to pray, until he dropped off to sleep.
A week passed by and Jared contemplated going back to the restaurant at the bowling alley for lunch, but he talked himself out of it. He knew that the woman with the smile; that he can’t get out of his mind, was just going to have to be a memory, a very nice memory.
Almost two years of time have passed now, and Jared is just as lonely, if not more so, than he was two years prior. He was still waiting, for his prayer of having love, to be answered. He received a phone call from a man who wanted to sell his house as quickly as possible, as he needed to move out of state. Jared met the man at his house and they talked briefly and then the man’s wife arrived. The man introduced his wife, Connie, to Jared and told him that she would take him on the walk-thru of the house, as she would be the better one to answer all of his questions. Connie smiled and told Jared that she would be happy to show him the house.
As soon as she smiled, Jared recognized her as being the woman from the bowling alley two years prior. They began to walk through each room and Jared finally mustered up the nerve to make conversation about Connie and her husband, He said, “Your husband told me that you’re moving out of state, where are you moving to?” Connie replied, “My husband got a job in Florida, but I’m not going to be moving there with him.” Jared prayed in his mind, “Please God don’t let me overstep my boundaries here, help me not to get overly nosey.”
Connie went on to say, “My husband and I are in the process of getting a divorce.” Jared prayed again in his mind, “Father, help me not to show my happiness.” Jared said, “So you’re remaining here?” Connie replied that she bought a condo near her daughter and family. Jared told Connie that he had been married before, but he’s been divorced ten times longer than the amount of years that he was married. That pretty much ended the conversation and they continued with the walk-thru.
They finished going through the house and Jared told Connie that he would get in touch with her and her husband in the next day or so. Jared left the house in disbelief that he had just spent the last two hours with the woman from the bowling alley. He prayed on the car ride home, “Father, thank you! Please help me to use self control and not be overzealous about Connie and scare her away.”
Jared felt as if he had flown home he was so happy. He no sooner walked through his door and his cell phone rang, it was Connie. She said, “Hi Jared, I’m sorry to bother you but I was thinking about something and I wanted your advice. I thought after the divorce is final that I would start investing in rental properties, would that be a good investment at this time?” Jared replied, “Absolutely, because you would be generating an income from each property. Property value being down is good for you because you can buy property cheaper, and you’re not interested in selling anyway, so it would be win-win for you.” Connie replied, “That sounds great. I don’t want to do anything right now, I want to wait until my divorce is final and I can start my new life. Thank you Jared!”
Jared went on to tell Connie, “Please don’t think I’m trying to solicit business for my self, but it would be better if you work with a real estate agent, they would be of great help through the process.” Connie replied, “Actually Jared I was hoping to work with you, we seem to be very comfortable with each other.” Jared happily replied, “Thank you Connie, I feel the same way, I’ll call you tomorrow.” Jared got off the phone and he got on his knees and thanked God for answering his prayer. Jared knew that he and Connie had made a special connection, but he also knew that Connie would need some time and space to make the transition back to being single. Jared was going to need to be a patient and supportive friend.
Connie and her husband Frank were able to get through the process of selling their home and the divorce without any problems. They have a good relationship, and didn’t want to make things any harder than they had to be. Connie was now free to start her new life. She called Jared and told him that she was ready to start thinking about buying her first rental property, as her new life had officially begun. Jared asked, “Are you going to celebrate the beginning of your new life?” Connie replied, “In deed I am! I’m going to talk my friend in to taking me to a Basque restaurant for dinner and get a little tipsy on wine and then go to a boring movie and sit in the back and neck like young lovers. I’m kidding of course, I have absolutely no plans.” Jared said, “I actually like that dinner and movie idea, and would love to be that friend, how soon can you be ready for me to pick you up?” Connie replied that she was ready..Jared asked, "Really?" and Connie replied, "Yes, really!"
Jared picked Connie up and told her to bring a sweater. He drove to the beach where they had a beautiful dinner on the patio of a quaint Basque restaurant that served the most delicious fish. They watched the sunset and got a little tipsy on wine, but instead of going to a boring movie, they talked and walked on the beach the whole night until sunrise. It was the most romantic date Connie had ever had in her life, and Jared felt like he’d died and gone to heaven.
They got a room at a charming little Inn and took a nap before trying to drive back home. They slept in their clothes on top of the covers. They were so tired from walking all night on the beach that their heads barely hit the pillows and they were both asleep.
They woke up with a bit of a wine headache, but after eating lunch the headache was gone. They had thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. While at lunch Connie made a little confession to Jared. She told him that when she first met him at the house, she recognized him from two years prior. She had seen him eating lunch at the bowling alley while she was bowling league. She thought maybe he would come back again, but he never did. Connie told Jared that when she saw him, there was a feeling of peace that came upon her, as though his presence was a sign that everything was going to be better soon. So when she saw him again two years later, she felt that God had His hand in the situation. Connie knows that God doesn’t like divorce, but He is fully aware of her unhappy circumstance.
Jared replied, “I have a confession for you as well. I saw you that day at the bowling alley and was captivated by your smile. You made me feel happier than I’ve felt in a long time. Believe me, I wanted to come back but I made myself stay away.” Jared had made an observation. He told Connie that the thing that captivated him years before was the fact that she looked so happy, but now, sitting there in front of him, was not the happy face that she wore when he first saw her. Connie explained, “That smile you saw was not rooted in happiness, it was there to camouflage my sadness. I learned at a very early age to smile in public so that other people won’t see that something is wrong. When you saw me I was merely masking my unhappiness with a smile. Now, I don’t have to hide behind an insincere smile, I’m smiling in my heart because I’m so truly happy. And if you catch me crying, it’s because I’m so thankful that God has answered my prayer. Though I’ve been married, I’ve been severely lonely for years.”
Jared couldn’t stand it any longer. He pulled a beautiful antique ring out of his pocket and asked Connie if she would spend the rest of her life with him. She began to cry and told Jared that she would absolutely love to spend the rest of her life with him; she knew that day at the house that he was the one. The Owner of the restaurant noticed what was happening and he came to the table to congratulate the newly engaged couple. He told them that lunch was on him and he took a picture of them in their time of joy.
He noticed what a beautiful engagement ring Jared gave to Connie, and Jared explained that it was originally his grandmother’s and she passed it down to his mother and his mother in turn passed it down to him. They shared their story of how they met, going back to the first day at the bowling alley when Jared was captivated by the woman with the unforgettable smile.
The Owner of the restaurant told them that they shouldn't waste any time, that they should go ahead and get married; and there's a courthouse right downtown. Jared asked Connie what she thought about the idea, and she loved it. She had spent too many years in loneliness, and now she was ready for love. They still had to go back and check out of the room, so technically they already had the room for their honeymoon until the next day. Everything was perfect.
The couple went to the court house and became husband and wife. While they were inside saying their wedding vows, the restaurant Owner, Tomas, and his two daughters went and dolled up the couple’s car so that everyone would know that they had just gotten married. On the way back to the hotel Jared drove by the restaurant and honked the horn profusely and he and Connie waved out the window. Tomas was overjoyed to see this couple that was so happy together. He had just recently lost his wife to cancer, so it was heartwarming to see the same kind of love between Jared and Connie, as what he and his wife shared for many years.
They went back to the hotel and loved one another like they’ve never loved before. It was the most beautiful time of their lives and they didn’t want it to end. As far as they were concerned they could have stayed their and never gone back home, but they had to.
The next morning they went and had breakfast at the restaurant before they headed back home, and thanked Tomas, the Owner, for everything. He was very instrumental in making this a time in their life that they would never forget. They hated to leave, but knew that they would come back very soon.
They chatted constantly with each other from the time they got in the car and hit the road. Connie and Jared both loved the fact that everyone around them on the freeway would know that they were just married because of what Tomas and his daughters had done. A number of the cars honked in recognition, it was fun. Connie leaned as close to Jared as her seatbelt would allow her to. It was a wonderful new beginning of life for this newlywed couple.
Two cars ahead had a tire blowout and they overcorrected and caused a multi-car accident. Jared and Connie were killed on impact; they were among five people who lost their lives. The Owner of the restaurant saw the story on the news and immediately recognized the car because of the “Just Married” decorations. He was devastated. He called the local news station and they came out and he told them about the couple. He gave them a copy of the photo he took just after they had gotten engaged.
Tomas was the only person who knew the story about this couple, from their beginning to their end. He felt that it was important that their story be told so that friends and family members would know that their loved one left this world with someone that they dearly loved; that this couple who had just vowed to spend the rest of their lives together, truly did, and then they walked into their eternity hand in hand.
It was a tragic ending of life, but a beautiful beginning of forever together. Tomas framed the photo that he took of the couple and hung it on the wall above the table where Jared and Connie became engaged. Tomas added the caption to the photo, “Love for Eternity.” He added a special combo meal for two, on to the menu and called it the “Lover’s Special” with the catch phrase, “This meal is like life, it’s meant to be shared.”
Though Jared and Connie’s life together was cut short, their future together will never end. They were two lonely people who found each other, and spent their last few days of life sharing the kind of love that most people can only dream of.
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- The Tea Party Dream
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