Portrait of Love

Would I always be alone on New Year’s Eve?

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Mysterious Ways: Portrait of Love

Don and Jan were the perfect couple. Too perfect. I was supposed to paint their portrait, but something held me back. Seated in my living room the day before New Year’s, they held hands and still smiled at each other all gooey-eyed like newlyweds, though they’d been together for decades. I dangled my paintbrush over the blank canvas and tried to put my feelings aside. My own marriage had ended in divorce, 17 years ago. I hadn’t had much luck with love ever since.

New Year’s was the toughest time of the year. Three… two… one… you’re supposed to kiss the one you love. I yearned for a companion, someone to share my life with, but after being alone for so long, I’d given up on romance. My sister tried everything—encouraged me to visit a singles group, offered to set me up with a guy she knew. But I wasn’t interested.

I focused on another kind of passion—my love of painting. A few weeks earlier, my sister mentioned an auction at her church to raise funds for their women’s ministry, and I’d offered an original portrait to the highest bidder. By reaching out to others, maybe I’d feel less lonely.

The winning bidders were Don and Jan. The only day they could meet for the sitting? The day before New Year’s. Now an already lonesome day felt even more lonesome in their presence.

“So how did you two meet?” I asked, trying to be polite.

“We were high school sweethearts,” Don answered. But that wasn’t the end of the story.

“We had a terrible fight, and broke up a few years after graduation,” Jan said. She went on to marry someone else, move to Kansas, and start a family. Her marriage, though, ended in divorce.

“I was ready to give up on love,” Jan said.

“After so many years alone, I thought I’d never find someone,” Don added.

“But I came here on a business trip and ran into Don,” Jan said. “It’s never too late to find true love.”

Don and Jan thanked me for the portrait and went on their way to their New Year’s celebration. I waved goodbye, ready to find out what the future had waiting for me. Maybe I’d visit that singles group in the new year after all.

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