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The call of a loon broke the silence of the cool July night. A gentle breeze added harmony by wafting its way through the trees that surrounded the rocky shoreline where two shadows sat closely together. Further up the shore and through the woods, the light of a bonfire was slowly fading, having already provided much warmth and enjoyment to the young campers that were now sleeping soundly in their tents.

Francis and Ava were staring beyond the lake’s horizon where a path to the edge was illuminated by the moon. They were wrapped in a large wool blanket that his mother provided for such occasions: the kind where memories were to be made. “What kind of memories?” Francis had asked at the time. No response ever came and Francis never gave it a second thought.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here right now,” Francis whispered as his eyes followed a firefly that was making its way along the shore and towards the trees. When it disappeared, he turned his eyes back to Ava. Her face was as lovely as a watercolor dream, with eyes that were as intense as they were beautiful, and a smile that was as radiant as it was uplifting. Her auburn hair fell to her shoulders and Francis longed to run his fingers through its fine texture. She wore a black v-neck wool sweater and a pair of Levis and had left her sandals right behind her as she rested her feet on the rocks.

“All of this beauty is a gift of God,” Ava said in her quiet tone, “but it doesn’t compare to what heaven will bring.”

Francis began to roll his eyes up with indifference. Ava caught him in the act but didn’t react to it. Instead, she continued talking.

“Let me tell you about something wonderful that I saw last week. I was sitting by the window in my bedroom watching the rain pour down outside and was feeling depressed. I’ve been learning a lot about the miracle of life and how it is the ultimate gift from God. But I was feeling quite sad at seeing some friends, family, and even strangers on the street going through their lives without truly understanding what their purpose in life was to be. And then it hit me - I didn’t even know what my own purpose in life was! Here I was feeling blue over other people’s situations when I myself didn’t even know where I was going.”

Ava paused as she pulled her cold feet under the blanket. It became decidedly colder as she spoke and a faint cloud of breath could be seen as she continued.

“Anyway, I kept looking outside at the rain coming down on the driveway and beating against my window. That’s when I began to realize what was happening. Oh, Francis, it was a miracle! At first, I wasn’t paying much attention to a puddle that formed on the plant hedge outside my window. After a while, I began to notice what was happening every time a rain drop hit the little pool of water - the ripple effect created a heart which faded only to reform again with another drop falling! That’s when I knew what we’re all here for - we’re here to love. Love one another and ultimately to love Him as He loves us. You see, love gives life, and life is to love.”

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