The Moment by Shirley Tatro

How long can a girl and a boy simply say, “I love you”?

Without really meaning to, I had fallen into a beautiful and innocent young love. For the first time in my life I began to give of myself unselfishly. And the boy I had come to love returned twofold any happiness that I may have given him. I guess that is the wonderful thing about true affection.

Through our moments together, our relationship continued to grow into one of deep understanding and mutual respect and trust. Each day that I wore his ring on my finger only added to the love I felt in my heart.

But a feeling of such complete devotion has a funny way of playing tricks on a person. And when you are only 17, a year becomes a long time to have been telling a guy, “I love you.” So as we shared these deep feelings for each other we explored the thrills of kisses and caresses together.

I think we always knew that a moment of final decision was inevitable. Yet we pushed such serious thoughts to the back of our minds, telling ourselves, “It won’t happen this time.”

But tomorrow always arrives, and our time also came. After months of nights filled with dark roads and searching kisses, we encountered a brick wall that had only one door. We now had a choice to make. It would be easy to go through that door, with the excuse, “We’re doing it out of love.” Yet we knew we would pay a very dear price – our innocence.

Maybe the complete unselfishness that I had thought we felt was not so complete after all, for on that night there was something in each of us that made us stop. Or perhaps we both knew we would be losing something that could never be replaced, and we just could not bring ourselves to make that sacrifice. Whatever the reason, we didn’t open the door that night. But we had at last realized that we could be terribly tempted – and we knew that many nights and temptations lay before us.

We had to find some way either to change or justify the thing we were doing. We became aware of one fact – our awful misconception that love and sex are synonymous was on the verge of destroying us. We had begun to forget how to laugh and be happy just that we were together. Tears no longer eased the shame. Words became hollow and meaningless sounds. We needed a solution, but where could we turn?

It is a little ironic that the answer to our question was so simple and was there with us all the time. It came, along with one of the greatest moments in my relationships with the boy I love, when he held me and said, “Let’s pray.” Only two small words, but they lifted the burden from our shoulders and put it in the hands of Someone far, far stronger. The God that has given us these bodies, these emotions and these desires would now guide us in their use.

We found that the road back is not an easy one. Sometimes we stumble and fall, but there is always a firm and gentle hand to pick us up and urge us on our way.

We know now that a small part of us died that night, but at the same time a new seed of faith was planted and began to grow.

Perhaps someday, if it is His will, the God Who gave us the courage to turn back and keep that beautiful love we held will give us His blessings to return to that door, open it and really begin our lives together.

Until that day, my guy and I have an obligation to keep. We have promised to care for and nourish our young love until one day when it blooms in full glory.

– Taken from Guideposts, November 1969 edition

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