Full Circle – A Kiss Forgotten

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - The Kiss Forgotten
A memory forgotten is not always a memory lost.

People and places, names and faces, all will fade to time and circumstance.

The small choices we make moment by moment can find their way back to us, like a kiss forgotten.

A Kiss Forgotten.

The Back Story

God, church, and religion was a natural part of my life growing up in the Midwest in the 1970s. I lived in the “Bible Belt“, as some call it, so church was as normal a thing to me as going to school or doing my chores. My parents brought me up that way, probably because they also experienced it as part of their own Midwestern upbringing.

Christian Strong
Wear your faith. Anytime. Anywhere. Learn More

I have clear memories as a little boy attending the Assembly of God Church in Oak Grove, Missouri, and the First Baptist Church in Odessa, Missouri, singing hymns, going to Sunday school class, and participating in special programs like Kids Crusade and Royal Rangers. I can still recall images in my mind of my dad standing at the pulpit delivering a Sunday sermon with all the fervor and conviction that a Southern Baptist could muster.

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - The Kiss Forgotten

Gathering together for praise, worship, and fellowship was an integral part of my youth. So much so that when my parents divorced in 1981, I felt an awful gap inside when church life came to an end.

I began to act out. As an angry and rebellious 13-year-old I found myself getting into all sorts of trouble around Odessa as I searched for an emotional outlet.

Enter Marsha. I don’t remember how I met this woman. Perhaps my mom arranged the meeting? It’s possible some people from the church knew what was going on and influenced the outcome. Maybe it was simply divine appointment? Whatever it was, Marsha came into my life at just the right time to help steer me in the right direction.

Free shipping on orders over $49! Learn More

Marsha operated a drug store in the neighboring town of Wellington, about 10 miles away. She was an avid supporter of youth ministries, and her tool of choice for reaching me was a program called KCYFC (Kansas City Youth for Christ).

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - The Kiss Forgotten
Bringing youth into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Called YouthFront today, YFC has roots to the 1940s.

For nearly 80 years this movement has reached thousands of young people with the gospel message. People like me, when I was 13 and troubled.

Marsha picked me up once a month, along with a few other kids my age, and drove us about an hour away to Kansas City where the Youth for Christ held a huge rally. Kids from all over the region were there, busloads of them, for one purpose. To gather together for praise, worship, and fellowship. Given our ages, you can probably guess this was also a social opportunity. Besides begin drawn to God, I went hoping to meet some new friends … girls, to be more accurate!

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - The Kiss Forgotten
Not the actual place. A stock photo from Unsplash, by Luis Quintero

Our meeting place was a 1600-seat auditorium on Rainbow Boulevard, on the Kansas side of the border. The energy of the place was unreal. Never before had I been part of something so alive with the Holy Spirit!

For almost two hours we engaged in song, interactive game play, audience participation, video presentations, personal testimonies, and Biblical teaching.

This was church like I had never seen before. How special do you think these rallies were that they held the attention of over 1000 teenagers for 2 hours? Clearly, this was God’s blessings at work and it became one of the most anticipated highlights of my youth from 1981 – 1983.

I distinctly remember one particular evening when Marsha arrived on schedule to pick me up for a YFC gathering. I climbed into the back of her Ford Bronco where several other kids waited and we headed out. One of the kids caught my attention immediately. Her soft brunette curls, caramel skin tone, and penetrating brown eyes drew me in, and when she flashed me that mesmerizing smile, I was struck! This girl was a dream, but then she introduced the boy seated next to her as her boyfriend … Oh.

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - The Kiss Forgotten
Stock photo from Pexels, by Max Fischer

For the next hour we traveled west on Interstate-70 through the heart of downtown Kansas City towards Rainbow Boulevard. We laughed and joked around like young people do as I tried my best to ignore the strong attraction I had for this girl.

Her boyfriend was right there. Surely, he could tell I was gazing awkwardly at his girl. To make matters worse, I convinced myself that she had some level of interest as I noticed her also casting her gaze my way and focusing her conversation and play in my direction.

We arrived at the auditorium. As Marsha got the Bronco parked and the doors opened, I made an impulsive move to lean in close and kiss the girl. There was no resistance and I was met with bright eyes and a sweet smile for my overt action. I hopped out of the Bronco, but without hesitation her boyfriend leaped out beside me, grabbed a handful of my shirt collar and began his clenched-fist threats. I had a well-deserved punch in the nose coming, but Marsha intervened immediately and diffused the situation.

There was murmuring and angry eyes from the boyfriend all night after that. The girl apparently decided that the drama wasn’t worth any of it because she ignored me for the rest of the evening. I never saw her or the boyfriend again after that night. Soon after my interests drifted to high school sports and other pursuits (other girls that is) and I stopped going to the YFC rallies. The memory of that kiss slowly faded away until forgotten. See related story, Full Circle – Like Father Like Son

Inspire Uplift
Products you can’t live without Learn More

The Full Circle Moment

Over 30 years later, in April of 2014, I moved away from the Kansas City area with my new wife Cheri. We had just married a few months before, in September of 2013, and Nashville became our new home. Over the next few years, we enjoyed many wonderful visits with family and friends. Not only did they come to see us, but they came to see Music City and the natural beauty of the Tennessee outdoors.

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - The Kiss Forgotten
Chattanooga from atop Lookout Mountain, a famous battle site.

Places like the Smokey Mountains National Park, Dollywood, the Grand Old Opry, Music Row, Broad Street, and the Country Music Hall of Fame attract tourists from around the world (TNVacation.com).

Tennessee has hundreds of historical points of interest throughout the state with strong ties to the Revolutionary & Civil War eras. The region also has a rich history of the Native American Cherokee.

And there’s Lynchburg, home to one of the most recognizable brand names in the world … Jack Daniel’s.

Eye of the Beholder - My Partners - Trip.com
Plan your next vacation with Trip.com! Learn More

As most people do nowadays, Cheri and I use the power of social media to stay in touch with friends and family. Sometimes, it allows us to reconnect with childhood friends we haven’t seen for decades. Cheri did just that, finding someone from her hometown of Wellington, Missouri. Her old grade school classmate, Marta.

If you’ve been following my stories on Eye of the Beholder, then you probably know that Cheri and I grew up in the same area. Odessa and Wellington are just a few miles apart and our paths crossed many times as children long before we met as adults in 2010. We knew many of the same names and faces and share some common memories, such as Marsha and the old drug store, the Ice Cream Factory, Puddle Jumper Days, and many more (see related story, An Unknown Future Realized).

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - The Kiss Forgotten
Downtown Nashville, near 6th & Broadway.

Whenever someone we were connected with online would post a message about traveling to Tennessee, we would often attempt to arrange a meeting with them.

Marta and her husband Luiz were coming to town, so we set-up a lunch date in downtown Nashville.

We sat there in our cozy booth for a couple of hours enjoying a great conversation about our travels, cool places to see in Tennessee, and sharing memories from the old home town. Each time Marta would smile, laugh, and make eye contact something seemed familiar. Everything about her struck a chord; the hair, the smile, the laugh, and those penetrating eyes. I knew her from somewhere, but where?

The memory finally triggered. It was her! The girl from Marsha’s Bronco! My mind swirled. How could this be? No way! Is this for real? Should I even mention this? She hasn’t said anything. Does she even remember me? What an awkward moment. My new wife next to me, Marta’s husband who I just met seated across the table from me, and two old classmates catching up on old times. I reasoned in my mind that this was neither the time nor the place to dig up old bones from an irrelevant faded memory. So, I kept it to myself and it eventually faded again into the fog of history.

Eye of the Beholder - My Partners - Rakuten kobo
Instantly access over 6 million titles! Learn More

A couple years later Cheri and I began our RV Life adventures, and our very first RV winter took us to Arizona. This required us to pass through the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which is close to where Marta and Luiz live. They have some acreage there, big enough to park an RV on, so Cheri and Marta made plans for us to set-up camp there for a week as their guests before continuing on to our winter spot.

With these plans in place, the full circle moment I had experienced with Marta at the Nashville lunch meeting came to mind. I told Cheri all about it and we shared a fun laugh about the strange encounter. I expressed my doubts that it was actually her, because so many years had gone by and neither one of us look like we did 30-some years ago. But those eyes …

Eye of the Beholder - Full Circle - The Kiss Forgotten
Stock photo from Pexels.

One evening as we sat around the dinner table at Marta and Luiz’s house Cheri brought up the subject. So, I asked Marta if she remembered the kiss and the almost-fight with her boyfriend from so long ago. She did not recall it, so we both doubted if my memory of the girl actually was Marta. But as we discussed it further and filled-in more details about who the boy was, about Marsha and the Youth for Christ, everything fit. Even Cheri remembered the boyfriend and actually found an old photo of him on social media. When she showed it to me … yes! That was definitely the guy who wanted to punch me!

The Meaning

So, it was true. Marta was The Kiss Forgotten. I can’t say that this full circle moment offered any significant meaning for me. There were no epiphanies or Aha! moments, but it was certainly memorable and entertaining!

If I could extract some value from the encounter, I think it be a reminder of how even the smallest and seemingly insignificant choices we make in life can find a way back to us. So, tread lightly, act thoughtfully, because consequences delayed are still consequences. Imagine the outcome if an all-out fight between me and the boyfriend had broken out and one of us got hurt. The lunch meeting in Nashville could have had a very different outcome for all of us.

Thank you, Marsha, for preventing the fight, and most importantly, thank you for including me in the YFC rallies for those couple of years. I also want to thank the Founders of the Kansas City Youth for Christ, Dr. Al & Vidy, and thank you to YouthFront for continuing Al & Vidy’s ministry. Those are some special memories for me, and the experience had a positive and impactful influence on the kind of man I grew up to be.

Proverbs 22:6

My Virtual Mentor - David Robertson
Grow your Christian faith with My Virtual Mentor.

Back to top


author avatar
Steve Coryell