This guest blog is from one of my all-time favorite people. You've seen me talk about her often—she's my inspiration, my mentor, my managing director at Vox Dei, but most importantly, my friend. I am so blessed to know her, and after you read her work, and especially her words about her own love story, you'll want to know her, too.
I Choose Love in the Minefield, by Heather Huffman
As a romance novelist, I love love. I never get tired of watching, reading, or writing that journey from stranger to being each other’s world. People read my books and assume they see my own love story in them. And to some extent, there are pieces of my great romance hidden in the pages, but the reality of choosing love forever is something vastly different than anything I could fit into 200 pages.
When I was 19, I was roommates with my best friend from high school. Once we were out on our own and working a billion hours a week at opposite schedules to pay for all that freedom, chances to see each other were coveted. We’d met for coffee at our favorite restaurant and had just settled in for good girl time when a guy from across the room called out “Hey, coffee wench, can I get a refill here?”
It took me a second to realize he was talking to my roommate. I looked at him with disdain, then back at Anne. “Who is that fool?”
I didn’t know it then, but the fool was the love of my life. As it turned out, he was a regular customer at the little diner where Anne worked. I eventually went to work there, too, and it didn’t take long for the fool to graduate to charming nuisance and on to best friend. We were inseparable as friends. So much so that the rest of the world saw it before we did. Nobody was surprised when we started dating, though it caused quite a stir when he dropped to one knee in the diner parking lot three weeks later. (That same diner showed up in my first novel, Throwaway.)
Our love had all the makings of a good romance novel. He swept me off my feet, bad guys and exes conspired to keep us apart, and we even had more than our fair share of humorous antics. (Like spending our wedding night in a no-tell motel because we’d locked our keys and the majority of our money in our new apartment.)
And like any love story, there was pain. Some of it was caused by life; most of it we caused each other. It was oh-so-hard holding that love together when it seemed like everything in the universe was working to pull it apart. The pain of losing babies, the reality of raising babies, the neverending lack of money, and perpetual bad luck all played their part. It all nearly tore us apart when our oldest son was two. We pulled it together only to come completely undone when I was pregnant with baby number two. By baby number three, I told him we were staying together whether he liked it or not because I wasn’t raising three boys alone.
It was a dark time for me, though. I felt trapped and so certain I’d made the wrong choice, that my great love story had passed me by and I couldn’t fathom ever feeling that way again. Somewhere along the way, I realized something that doesn’t often make it into books: being in love comes and goes. Loving someone, I mean really loving them, means sticking it out when you’d rather shove them into traffic. It means staying when the flutters have dissipated and rejoicing when they return. Real love means choosing love, even when it’s the last thing you want.
About Heather Huffman
Heather Huffman calls the beautiful Missouri Ozarks home. When not writing, she's busy raising three boys or tending the family's myriad of animals, which includes goats, chickens, dogs - and a few horses for good measure. Huffman's optimistic and somewhat quirky view of life often finds its way into her novels. Heather is the author of ten novels, including Throwaway and Jailbird. Find out more about her family's adventures, as well as her writing and charitable work, on www.heatherhuffman.net.
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