The auditorium was dark, the only light shining on me and the concert piano. Beautiful strains of a Chopin waltz rolled off the tips of my fingers. I couldn't see the audience but I felt their presence. My family was out there in the vastness, somewhere, and so was Sky. Knowing that gave me comfort. All my focus and energy was on those piano keys and the music flowing from my head to my hands, pouring out on the beautiful instrument before me. With one final relish, the waltz came to a conclusion, and I stood, amidst thundering applause. As I bowed gracefully, cheeks flushed, I turned to walk off the stage. Suddenly, a shower of roses were around my feet, being tossed onto the stage by Sky and my brother, Jake. It brought down the house. And was the talk of all the music students for weeks.
College was an amazing new experience for me. I loved learning and being surrounded by people in all walks of life, whose one thread of common ground was their love for music. I flourished in the classroom setting, something that had been lacking in my home education. I met many good friends, most of whom were also homeschool graduates. We did everything together, Sky often coming down out of the mountains to join us for a movie, dinner, ice skating, concerts, and other activities. As a vocal and piano major, I performed in many concerts, and Sky never missed one of them.
The two children I cared for were a delight. Their dad was in Iraq and their mom was a surgeon so I was their primary care giver. After a few weeks, she let me take them home with me on weekends. You'd have thought they died and went to heaven. My parents doted on them and they loved all the animals at "the farm" (as they called our place). They also looked forward to the weeknights when Sky would come around for dinner. They'd drag him around the house and outside, showing him all their toys and treasures.
We never told my parents that we saw each other during the week. But I'm sure they guessed. I had come to the point where I had to make a decision: follow God, or obey my parents; listen to God telling me I was in His will or they telling me I was not. I hated that they required this of me. It wasn't supposed to be this way. No parent should ever make their child choose between them and God. It was heartbreaking and discouraging. I kept going home on weekends, hoping that they would change their minds. But I was only met with more manipulation and disappointment. Sure, they welcomed me...but they made their disappointment in me very obvious. Sometimes, they never even mentioned Sky at all...just pretended that he didn't exist. They asked me about guys I met at school and if I'd been asked out on a date yet. I told them, yes, but I was taken and not interested.
I bought a whole new wardrobe with my paychecks. I started dressing stylishly, though still modestly, and I loved it. For the first time in my life I felt attractive and cute instead of outdated and frumpy. I embraced my beauty with honor instead of fearing it. My parents started complaining that my younger sisters wanted to dress "immodestly" because of how I was dressing. I offered to wear skirts when I came home but they said "if you're dressing immodestly in your heart, you might as well do it on the outside." I was relieved since pretending to be something I'm not has never been enjoyable for me.
I begged Sky to elope. I thought my parents would never give us their blessing. Sky was stubborn and refused to get married without it. I think he proposed to me once a week that summer. I always said yes. He was persistent in not letting much time go by without once again asking Dad for his blessing. He was always refused. But Sky was hopeful because he was about to get a job that would make him secure and ready to support a family. He hoped it would be enough to convince my dad that he was capable of talking care of me.
When school got out for the summer, I stayed in town to care for the kids, taking a month off before school started again in the fall. It was wonderful being out of the city for a little while. I missed the silence of the mountains, the beauty of the simple life, communing with God in the woods. Sky bought an engagement ring that summer and wore it around his neck on a chain. I wasn't supposed to know about it, but no one in his family was very good at keeping secrets. He had a special smile, reserved just for me when he thought no one else was looking. We could be in a crowd and know what the other was thinking just by a look.
One night, Sky called me to ask if we could talk. I told him after I put the kids to bed would be perfect. So he came and brought Jesse with him (we tried to never be alone anywhere, for our sakes and to remain above reproach before my parents and his). I knew it was serious but I had no idea what was coming.
It was a warm autumn night as we sat on the porch, Sky despondent and me afraid.
"The job fell through" he stated flatly. Sighing he went on, "Maybe...maybe God is trying to tell us something. Maybe what we want isn't His will after all. Maybe, like your dad keeps telling me, we just want to be together so badly that we aren't really listening to Him."
My body started to go numb. I couldn't breathe. "Are you...are you breaking up with me? After everything we've been through??"
His face was tortured. "Darcy, this isn't what I want. I want nothing in the world more than to be your husband but I just don't know anymore! What if your dad's right..."
"He isn't," I interuppted.
"...and we're really not listening to God...we've somehow made a mistake and the fact that nothing is working out is Him trying to get through to us?"
I was too stunned for words.
"I just think that we need to back off and not see each other for a while. I need to let..." his voice faltered,"...to let you...go, without hope of ever marrying you and let God have His way. I need to be able to say 'if this isn't God's will, then I don't want it' and I can't say that right now." His voice broke, head bowed down to hands, and the tears gave way.
I should have been dismayed, terrified, as my world and future was crashing down around me. But for some inexplicable reason, all I felt was peace.
"Sky," I put my hand on his sholders, "I don't know how or why or how any of this is going to work out, but I know, without a doubt, that our love is from God. I know that no matter what you decide to do, God will make a way. I can let you go because I know the ending of this story. What scares me is the in-between pages. When you decide you can see the way clearly, I will still be here...waiting for you."
We decided to part, he would still talk to me, but as friend, not as my love. He had to let go completely and have no claim on my heart. We prayed for a long time, crying, and committing our way to God...even if that meant the distruction of our dreams.
I sat out under the stars for a long time after they left. As I looked up into the vastness, God seemed very near to me. My tears were spent, for now, and I just listened. I considered a future without Sky in it and I thought I couldn't bear it. But once again, the Creator of the stars I was gazing at heard the cry of my heart, and came down to hold me up. "Don't cry, Child. This is something he needs to do. I have your heart and his in the palm of My hands, and will keep them safe. I love you so much more than you can ever imagine. I will give you the desires of your heart, if you trust and delight yourself in Me." I felt like a beloved child, engulfed in the love of my Father.
For the next month, true to his word, Sky didn't say "I love you" once. We barely spoke to each other and when we did, I could tell from his voice he was suffering. Yet I was at peace. Heartbroken, scared, lost....but at peace.