Tuesday, January 27, 2009

True love...a gift from God

God has always been at work in my life. I have always believed that and I have had many wonderful experiences that help me to know it is true. My favorite story of seeing God's hand at work, though, is the story of how I met my husband. It is, at least to me, an amazing story of God's love, His providence and maybe in some ways a story of His sense of humor. As Valentine's Day approaches I would love to share the story....

Though I did not meet Tim until I was 19, the story started, for me, in high school. I was always very shy and awkward as a child. Even in my teen years, I tended to be somewhat quiet and introverted- especially around the opposite sex, and most especially around members of the opposite sex to whom I was attracted. I could barely even talk to guys, let alone have a relationship with one. I really wanted to have a boyfriend, though admittedly, at that time, for all the wrong reasons. Having a boyfriend was like a status symbol. It meant that you were pretty, fun, popular- all things I really wished I was.

Although I really did not date in high school, I did have a few very good friends. It was through one of them that I owe a significant experience in my quest for true love. It came about when she invited me to join the youth group at her parish for a couple events. At the time, I was not active in a parish of my own. Thankfully, God has a way of finding me no matter where I am, and I accepted her invitation. I remember casually talking with the youth minister, a young mother with small children who worked at the church part time, about my lack of a love life and my desire to have a boyfriend. She told me that when she was younger she had actually made a list of all the things she wanted in a husband and then turned her list into a prayer asking God for exactly what she wanted. It almost sounded like she placed an order and God delivered! It sounded like a fabulous plan to me. I made my list and wrote my prayer. Some of my prerequisites, were probably a little silly but I was about 16 when I wrote the list and at the time it seemed important to be able to share poetry together.

Now, obviously God did not deliver my perfect husband to the front door the next day. A few years passed, and the prayer was all but forgotten when my same friend from high school who had invited me to youth group, introduced me to her boyfriend at a prayer meeting we were both attending. I said hello to them and spent a few minutes talking to my friend then went to join other friends across the room for the remainder of the meeting. I happened to be leaving the meeting at the same time as my friend and her boyfriend and so we walked to our cars together. The guy was obviously very quiet because I don’t remember him saying much, if anything, but somehow I learned that he was in the seminary studying to be a Catholic priest. I honestly did not think much about the guy at all, but if I had, I would not have had much respect for someone who was preparing for a life of celibacy and dating at the same time.

Over the next few months I saw my friend and her boyfriend at a party or two, we went to a concert together with a group of friends, and we went out to ice cream one time, again with a big group of people. Over the months, my opinion of the boyfriend did not much improve. He continued to be very quiet and he continued to study for the priesthood while carrying on a relationship on the side. Eventually my friend felt she should move on and confided in me that she would be breaking things off. After that, my opinion of her now former boyfriend went even farther down. It seemed to me he was not taking the break-up well. He continued to call her every once in a while and to be friendly towards her. Then, I heard just a few short weeks later that he was leaving the seminary, and I assumed it was his attempt to convince my friend to date him again. What was with this guy?

Now as all this was happening I was at a pretty good place in my life. I was going to community college, had a job as a nanny that I really enjoyed and was preparing to go away to school in a few months. Though I still did not have a boyfriend it seemed to matter much less and I was content with life. So when my friend told me that she had seen her ex-boyfriend at a party and that he had told her something interesting I listened to her story with very little interest myself. It seems he had had a dream about dating one of her friends and was wondering what it might mean. I purposely did not ask which of her friends the dream was about....

It was only a few weeks after the mysterious dream that we all ended up at the same Christmas dance, and somehow I ended up spending a lot of time with the now former boyfriend, former seminarian who happened to be named Tim. At the end of the evening he gave me his phone number and ask me to call him. Now, at the time, I had no intention of doing so and even though we had had fun at the dance I was still not sure I had any respect for him. Yet, I took the phone number. I suppose the rest is history. For some reason, I did end up calling him and maybe because I was not sure if I even liked the guy, I was not at all awkward around him. In fact, he was very easy to talk to and we had a ton of fun together just hanging out and doing nothing. As our friendship grew I still had no expectations and certainly did not expect to have a serious relationship with him but within a few weeks we were spending all our free time together. I remember telling him all about my plans to go away to school and he shared with me that he would be majoring in literature instead of philosophy or theology. One time he even shared with me a poem he had written for one of his college English classes! Was this a sign? Maybe so because somewhere along the way I realized I really did like him and we have been together ever since. He is truly exactly what I prayed for and he likes to tell people that I am really the woman of his dreams!

So somehow, even when we can’t begin to see it, God is always at work in our lives. If we are open to His plan He will work out all the details and bring us our greatest blessings, sometimes in the most unexpected ways. I thank God daily for bringing Tim into my life. He is my best friend and my soul mate. I’m also so grateful that though I have not always been so good at trusting in God I was wise enough to let Him fill my order for a husband. If I hadn’t I’m sure I would have missed out on one of the most wonderful gifts in my life.

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