Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

First Love

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss

When I was a senior in high school, all of 17 years old, I was very much in love for the first time in my life. His name was Dimitri and he had been born in France. It was the 70’s and our type of love was not widely accepted. Dimitri was black. That was not my attraction to him. He was handsome, but also older, an artist and the kindest young man I had ever met. We met through my best girlfriend who was dating his friend, so on a double blind date. Blind dates have always been good to me! (See post “Made for Each Other”) He went to the University in our town and I lived in a conservative suburb. The police, he told me, often followed him into my neighborhood when he got off the freeway. He endured humiliation to date me and I only had to endure love. I adored his parents. His mother loved the ink and watercolors I used to do back then and framed them and hung them in her house. I considered it high praise, considering her son was the artist.

I was going to a very non-traditional, non-denominational new church back then and I was pretty into it. I loved my God and felt the church was filled with true Jesus People as they were called in those days. As you will see these two worlds were destined to collide.

Dimitri and I had a lot of fun together. Our favorite places were an Italian restaurant near his house, and hanging out at each other’s parent’s houses. I didn’t see him a lot. He was busy with his studies and the National Guard, it was Vietnam War time. The country was troubled and there were protests at the U, some of which he took me to. He respected my belief in Jesus and soon we were thinking alike on that subject. I was so in love, he could do no wrong and really, rarely did, except to get quiet on me sometimes. But he was a guy!

My whole family loved him. Almost all. I had been raised to believe that God loved all the children of the world, as the song goes, regardless of color. The only one who was having a problem was my dear grandfather who was raised in Missouri. He couldn’t be estranged from me though, so one day when Dimitri and I were at my house he drove over and talked with us. It was honest, painful, heart-wrenching and difficult for all of us to face his feelings, but we had the conversation. My grandfather saw the man Dimitri was and we were fine from that day on. Grandpa drove home and Dimitri and I went to the Italian place to talk about our relationship. We discussed if it was worth taking resistance for, decided it was, ate spaghetti and recovered like young hearts can do.

We rode this wonderful wave of young love for my entire Senior year. I had never been in a relationship like this before. I never wanted it to end. Then came the springtime. I went off for a retreat with my church. It was uplifting, captivating and as it turns out, maybe a little brainwashing time. Towards the end of the retreat the pastor who I thought was the next thing to God (WARNING!!!) asked to meet with me. He prayed with me and told me that God wanted him to be my spiritual father because my parents were divorced and I needed guidance. I bought it. I almost cry now to think of the next part. Then he said that God didn’t want Dimitri and I together, because my ministry was very important to God and that the race issue would get in the way. (OUCH!) I feel so bad now that I believed this. Never a prejudiced bone in my body and I fell for this because I wanted to be used of God more than anything. He took my greatest heart’s cry and used it! I was manipulated out of my first love.

One disagreement Dimitri and I had always had was that he didn’t believe men and women could be friends. He thought love got in the way, feelings would always intrude. So it didn’t surprise me completely when I told him we couldn’t date anymore that he refused my offer of friendship. What really killed me was what he said, “I love you too much Libby to stand being just your friend.” And there went my first love.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss

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4 thoughts on “First Love

  1. Wow, Libby, I’m not even sure what to say. I’m so glad you gave a year of sweet love to this young man and I’m sorry that a man spoke into your life in such a way that your heart was broke. I’m so thankful that God used this to bless your life with your husband. What a blessing he is and the love of your life. You are truly blessed sweet Libby. “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord…”

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  2. Well, actually in the love department there was this guy in between, my ex, who I may not write about! LOL Seriously, I have often thought back on this with my 20/20 hindsight wisdom and thought if I hadn’t lost Dimitri, I would logically speaking then have stayed with him, miss out on having little Shirley and Davey and finding my wonderful Mike and having Abby. One cannot second guess their lives, only smile at their remembrances as he quote goes. And be thankful for all the love and laughter than came and still comes your way!

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  3. I had not heard of this “LOVE” yet !!! But even though there were things that tore you apart you will always have a peice of your heart that belongs to him!!! I believe our hearts are bigger then we know & even though people we love come & go in our lives they will stay in our hearts forever! As I am sure you a part of his!!! But God will always give us back so much more then ever has been taken from us as your story, Lovely Libby shows!!! I love you my dear friend!

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