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There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I was devastated.  I’d just moved into my very first apartment, filled with love and hope and dreams of the future.  A future with her, my first real girlfriend.  And then she told me she didn’t want a serious relationship right now, that she had a lot on her mind, a lot of things she wanted to work through, alone.

Unfortunately, “alone” actually meant she wanted to spend more time with this new guy she’d met…

Crushed, wounded, and heart-broken I wasn’t sure I could ever hope for love again.  Then along came Ellen.

I was instantly drawn to her.  Beautiful blue eyes, a great smile and adorable laugh, she was smart, creative, with an urban style that this country-boy found intoxicating.  We shared a sometimes dark and twisted sense of humor and she was delightfully irreverent.

She was instrumental in my musical awakening, and I’ve talked about her in that way a few times before (…She’d Envy My iPod Pt 3, Following the Pixies).  While music was such a big part of who I grew to be, that was just portion of the wonderful things she brought into my life.

Wish I had pictures of her like this!

She had a bold and brash exterior and was fearless and exciting.  Back when I was into moshing to early live Fishbone and Red Hot Chili Peppers, she’d be right there beside me, or else she’d be serfing the crowd.  She’d match me tequila shot for shot, and one night at the bottom of the bottle of Mescal I held the worm between my teeth and she bit it in half with a searing kiss before tumbling into my arms.  She’d offer to read some of my fiction writing and give me honest critiques.  I just loved being around her.

we all win!

Sometimes she’d reveal hints of shyness and vulnerability underneath that sexy and fun side.  As I often do, I’d get romantic and mushy, and going in for a kiss she’d give me a nervous giggle (even though she gave such great kisses) but she’d not pull away.  In fact, she made me feel wanted and special at a time in my life when I was feeling neither of those things.

Despite her efforts, I was still healing from my wounds, and eventually she moved on to someone else.  I certainly couldn’t blame her for that.  Thankfully though, we still had a connection, and we both seemed to find excuses to get together from time to time.  I cherished all those extra moments she gave me over the next few years, when time would stand still… but I always felt some regret that I hadn’t been more emotionally available back when I had the chance, better able to give her the things she needed and deserved.  She was certainly worthy of more than I gave her.

There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole… when I think of Martin Luther King, Jr. that is one of the quotes that pops into mind.  Sometimes I get discouraged, he said.  But take heart—there is a balm to make the wounded whole.  Ellen, she was my balm, and for that I will always be grateful.  Today, on MLK Day, many of his quotes and deeds are being remembered for the large thoughts and movements they inspired… For me today, his words have me thinking of something more personal, yet so very important to me…

Much needed hugs

She came into my life when I really needed her, and for that I’m eternally thankful.  Knowing that life’s path gave me someone I needed when I truly needed her gives me faith today that life will bring someone to me again.

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