Salvation's First Kiss

Photo courtesy of my sister, Abby.


On tip-toes in the dark, feet one step above his on the rickety boards leading down from the hall door, came my first kiss. Away from the stars of the stagelights, my world became entangled in the galaxy of another universe and my stomach lurched in the fall. Blind with delight, spangled with belonging, suddenly gravity did not exist and I spun loose from the lie of unlovable.

The play was my first dabble with drama, but not his. My part was as a shuffling grandmother, hair powdered and in a bun, a striped vintage dress and bundle of knitting under my arm. I felt completely comfortable, resonating with the character and able to blend into the untrendy and awkward. My every day teenage trench-coat of livid acne, mousy hair, braces and glasses made a seamless transition into the next ugly outfit and embraced the comfort of the part.

But then came the kiss.
This tall boy was popular. He was smart and sporty, at home in the cricket nets, golf course and behind the quiz team desks. He played the leading part year after year in the school productions. Flawless olive skin and a smile that made his eyes crinkle and my throat catch. It couldn't be real. This felt too good to be love, and my reflection would laugh and say it would end and my fear would bob up to agree with the joke.

But then came the kiss.
We would sit side by side, backs pressed to the warmth of the plastered classroom wall in the afternoon sun, open history book across my khaki school skirt. He would paint me stories with words and in my mind's eye came alive the deserts of Northern Africa speckled with Mussolini, Montgomery and Rommel's men. Composers, the slave trade, inventors and the intricacies of vectors and the quadratic formula marched after each other in the hours we spent together, him trading knowledge in exchange for friendship. My patchy homeschooled, transitory lifestyle gifted me with clumps of information but he helped me weave it into some of sort of quilted comprehension. His lonely, only child days were sewn into companionship. We fit.

But then came the kiss.
While walking along the blistering lines of the railway tracks from a morning of school farm labour, our outstretched arms wobbled and our fingers touched. My skin was hotter than the sun-baked metal under my feet. I threw a cup of juice in his face one day before stalking away in my jodphurs to catch the smelly blue truck to riding lessons. I read his notes to me aloud caustically to my friends. I ran from the concept of him choosing me out of pity. I said in my words, actions and attitudes don't love me.

And he did.
In the pocket of that dusty campus, he did.
In concrete floored classrooms and on lab stools, he did.
In the quiet and page-flip of the library, he did.
On the bus, in assembly lines, eyes seeking mine as we passed each other, he did.

And I fell.
Cross-legged on bleached grass sports fields, I fell.
Scoring cricket in the shade of jacarandah branches, I fell.
On the grit of tennis courts, I fell.
In the art room, the dining room and dormitory, I fell.

And then came the kiss.
And the turn and tumble matched the misplaced bits of my heart up and suddenly it was like coming home. And the ugly had to sit, for invisible beauty was now called to the stage.

My faith walk is unfathomably richer, deeper and more heart gripping than this memory of first love. My dirty, unworthy heart was undone by the explosion of salvation. My flimsy excuse for a life only became real once I was embraced by the concept of the cross; that love was born and died just for me and there was nothing I could do to stop the amount of love shed for me. The withered, resentful, broken me was mute in the presence of Beauty being chosen. Being kissed by the Son of God; wooed, soothed, restored, healed, made new and re-born is the blueprint of His intention.

Yet how much do we wrap ourselves in the trench-coat of grime and hold back, fear taut in our hearts. Yes I feel it, but is it real? I cannot truly be the one He chose. There are others better, more pretty in their holiness. I have done nothing deserving of this favour. He is too good for me. I will make a mockery of this commitment. I don't know how to love like this. It's a fairytale. I don't even know how to pray.

Being kissed in the sludge of my youth by the most impossible boy was a glorious exit from the mental strong box for me. That I grew through those phases and still find myself looking into those same eyes of friendship and now married companionship is by no means short of miraculous.

Stumbling onto the realisation that I am surrounded by the Stageplay in a way that I am the actor for, is jolting. I look back and around me at the journey and it starts to fit. The symmetry lines up with eternal truth. God uses the arms of others to embrace us. He uses the first kiss to crack open a sealed heart. He uses the down trodden and ill-fitting uniforms to render us perfectly formed for the kind of beauty that only He can see in us. He allows us hurts, loneliness, failure, birth, loss and blessing to woo us to astonishing need for and recognition of who He is, and to drive us to the act of responding to Him.

To bring us to the understanding of the eternal power of the miracle, actioned and uttered in the greatest story of all time. So we might walk as a bride to His side when He calls, using the globe as a footstool in our star-laced leaps from world to world.

And all for love.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth--for your love is more delightful than wine.
Song of Solomon 1:2

Deborah Ann  – (August 28, 2009 at 1:37 AM)  

Girl! You are extremely talented! Keep it up, before you know it you'll be publishing a book.

Just wanted to invite you to join my blog - I'm hosting a contest in a few weeks for all my followers - it will be fun!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend  – (August 28, 2009 at 4:52 PM)  

That was beautiful...and your blog header is breath taking...I will be back often....adding you to my sidebar...Hope you will stop by and visit my new Christmas blog that I launched today. The button on my regular blog will take you right to it....
http://teresa-grammygirlfriend.blogspot.com/

L.L. Barkat  – (September 2, 2009 at 2:05 PM)  

Oh, I love this. To try to express how and why wouldn't do it justice. Only know how powerful are your words...

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