I held Salewa’s hands tightly as we listened to the music. The music was surreal. It felt like I was being transported somewhere else. I don’t know where it was but it was peaceful, more peaceful than I’ve felt in decades.
A man came up to the microphone at the end of the choir’s number. He seemed to sense the peace I felt. He spoke directly to me and said: ‘If you want a peace that lasts, not like the world gives, the peace that passes all understanding, you need to come to Jesus.’ He beckoned me forward. He sounded so sure of it and I believed him. I had heard this countless times but for the first time I actually believed it.
I went forward. There were no bells, no whistles, nothing dramatic happened. I wasn’t sure if anything in my life was going to change overnight. But as I prayed at that altar, I received a peace and joy I could hardly describe. It was literally the best feeling.
After my encounter at the concert, Salewa and I kept spending a lot of time together. But I really didn’t have any romantic intentions or interest. The only thing I wanted was to learn everything I could about Jesus and the word of God. I felt really happy for the first time since I could remember.
I joined the church and after three months Salewa encouraged me to get in touch with my kids. It took a long time to persuade them but we eventually developed some sort of relationship. I was living so much differently than I had before with less assets but I had never felt more peaceful.
One day Salewa and I were attending Bible study and I looked over at her as she was speaking and it hit me like a jolt. I never wanted to do life without this woman. But I was now reaching my sixth decade and Salewa was in her fifth. Wasn’t it too late? What we had was puppy love and so many things had changed. We were definitely not the same people. Our priorities were different. Being friends was one thing, but being more than friends… I didn’t want to ruin things for us by adding love into the mix and that not working out and then we wouldn’t be able to remain friends. I had a feeling that Salewa might just laugh at me if I suggested a relationship. But, somehow I knew I just had to try.