by Christine Baker

Once upon a time are four fairy-tale words every little girl is certain to have heard dozens of times by adulthood. I know because I grew up reading them in books. As a child of hard-working white-collar parents, education and reading were greatly valued in our home. By the time I was twelve, I had personally read more than my share of once upon a time stories.

As I grew older and turned from such childish books, the once upon a time selections faded away, but their impact on my heart and life remained. I longed for a once upon a time love to come along and sweep me off my feet. It did finally happen, but not at all like the books said it would.

My once upon a time love and I just celebrated 32 years of marriage this month. One hot August Louisiana day thirty-two years ago, two crazy USL students who fell in love under the oaks decided to do what people do when they fall in love, get married.

Our once upon a time has not always been candy canes and rainbows. Mixed in with the good, has been the not-so-good, struggles on top of struggles, disagreements, a few impasses and a handful of unexpected near tragedies. But one thing has remained between the two of us through it all, something I didn’t understand in my younger days enmeshed in childhood romanticism, once upon a time needs love-true love and not just the romantic kind that makes your heart flutter, armpits sweat and your head spin. When the years march on and life struggles arise and romance is few and far between, only one thing holds two people together, love.

In the words of the Apostle Paul to the church at Corinthians, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”*

My spouse and I had these words read to us as children. Growing up, we watched these words emulated time and time again. These same words were read over us at our wedding ceremony. Little did we know what they really meant. But thirty-two years later, we’ve learned and are still learning. Love is tolerant. Love supports. Love bends. Love forgives. Love is kind. Love stands up for each other. Love shows mercy one to another. Love remains. Love
brought us together. Love binds us to each other. Love will see us through to the end.

Once upon a time there was love . . . and love never fails.

*I Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV


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