Dear Reader (Alone and Together Prologue)

Dear reader,

This is the story of how I met my husband. It is also the story of before I met him, though, and it is also the story of now. Now is as important as anything, after all.

Now is really the end.

But even though my husband and I have found our ending together, and it is as wonderful as I’d always hoped and more, for me, it isn’t enough. You see, I want our story to be about more than the one little happily ever after that is us.

I want it to end with you.

Which is why this story you’re about to read is not a story at all. Instead, it is a letter.

A letter to you.

I wrote it that way not because I didn’t know how to write it as a story (even though that is much harder, I admit)—I wrote it that way because I wanted you, dear reader, to be a part of it, somehow. I wanted you to know what I know. I wanted you to understand how good things can be. I wanted you to be happier than you’ve ever been before.

I wanted, in other words, to give you advice.

Not just advice, though—good advice. Really good. The kind that you’re always, always glad you heard. The kind that you tell other people about later, and for a long time. The kind that you believe in, and listen to.

The kind that you take.

Of course, you might think this seems a bit presumptuous. Why, you may ask, should I listen to this person that I don’t know about something I already understand and have experienced, namely, love? And my answer to that is: don’t.

Don’t listen to me. Just read my story and the lessons that go along with it, and then, if you want, you can take the advice and if you don’t, don’t. But let me be clear about one thing: never, not ever, would I mislead you on purpose. After all, I care about you, dear reader. I think of you as, not just as a reader, but as a friend. As a very good friend, in fact, one that I have known for a long time and would like to help, a little.

Of course, I don’t actually know you. But that has never stopped me before.

You see, even though I might not really know you yet (though I hope that I will someday soon), I love you, dear reader. I love that you are such a passionate person, that you are trying every day to find meaning in the world. I love that you care about other people, and, more important, that you care about yourself.

And I know all this about you already, just because you’re reading this now.

More important than all that, though, I love you because God is in you, and even if you somehow don’t see that right now, please understand that there is someone out there who does, and that is me. And there are probably a lot of others who see it, too, and I bet if you asked them, they would tell you themselves.

So, because I know these things about you, and because I love you, for the duration of this book, I’m going to think of you as a friend.

I don’t have enough friends. Neither, probably, do you. So, instead of reading this as just a story, indulge me, please, just a little: read it as a letter from a friend. (A very long letter, that is.) And if you can’t do that, read it as if it were a stack of letters that you just discovered that were all written to you but that you didn’t know about until just now. (A really well-organized stack, that is.) (Organization is important.)

One small apology, though, before I begin: even though it is written for you and to you and with you in mind all the time, this book is, essentially, about me. And for that, I am sorry. My dad was a writer and he told me a long time ago to never write about myself. “The personal pronouns are the most offensive words in the English language,” he said.

I can’t follow his advice, though. I am the only subject I’ve ever studied and the only thing I really understand.

Hopefully, though, if we are anything alike, that won’t matter so much in the end.

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