the second time I fell in love with him

I let his calls go to voicemail twice. I answered the third time. I wasn't angry or even nervous. I was certainly curious. What could Josh have to say to me now, a year and a half since we'd broken up? In spite of all the empirical evidence against Josh, I agreed to see him. Frankly, I had nothing to lose.

{Christmas break 2009, three months after he called}

(For a while I wondered why I'd had that other serious relationship during my Josh hiatus. Why go through something so intense if it was never meant to be? Now I'm positive that that disappointing and frustrating relationship set me up perfectly to let Josh back into my life. Josh's phone call on that exact day wasn't luck or coincidence--it was Providence.)

After some pep talks from my mom, sister, and good friend Laura, I was ready to spend real time with Josh--no commitment, no promises, just time. We talked, and we talked about real things and real emotions. If you read Josh's post about the baby, you'll know that while Josh certainly has feelings, he has an incredibly hard time talking about them. But he voiced his feelings about me and invited me into his life in a way he never had before.

Over the next days and weeks I noticed changes in how I felt about myself. When I was with Josh I felt wanted and loved, a stark contrast to what remained from my previous relationship. The more I saw him the more I wanted to see him. After a month and a half of me holding back and him ardently persisting, I said yes. Let's try this one more time.

It wasn't long before I fell in love with him again, but don't mistake this love for the first love. I needed to fall out of love with Josh before I could fall again. My first love was something that I let happen to me; I surrendered parts of myself that needed to be there. This time, my love was a choice. This was a love matured and refined, felt and chosen. My love the second time had no ties to the love from before. Our first love hadn't been sustainable; our second one was--is--deep, enduring, beautiful.

{At my grandmother's funeral, 2010, three weeks before he proposed}

I choose you, my heart said to his. I choose to love you and to have you love me. I choose you every moment. You're my choice forever.

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