Thursday, June 14, 2012

Our Love Story: Part Two

     I know you all have been on the edge of your seats wondering what happens.  I'm here to tell the rest of the story, so you can go on with your lives.  You're welcome.

      I left off yesterday where my father had just passed away and I had graduated college all in the same week.  John was there.  More importantly, so was God.  As I look back, I can see God's merciful hand in so many ways during this time.  Amazingly, John and I had the ability to see that we needed a little down time to process things before we started a relationship.  We took the following three weeks to think and pray about what the next steps should be and also to get a little distance from the emotional whirlpool that we had been cooking in for months.  I was at home with my family during this time, and he was working a job in Chicago with his best friend.
      We were both slated to go to Northern Ireland (Me with our school's mission trip, John with our school's studies trip), so the plan was to meet up and talk there.  We are silly to plan sometimes.  We allowed ourselves to talk once a week on the phone.  During this time, I kept a journal of sorts to give to him with things I thought about him and letters to him.   I was cute like that.


      In one of our final conversations, John said he wanted, nay, needed to meet up with me before our trip, and Tulsa was the best option.  I drove the three hours, very hopeful that we would start dating at last.  Why else would he want to meet up?  We had dinner at Olive Garden in Utica Square and then walked by the river, holding hands.  It was wonderful to see one another once again, but as the evening wore on, I was starting to wonder what the urgency for meeting up was.  I started asking questions toward this end and wasn't able to get very far.  Turns out - John got really gun-shy about everything that night.  I gave him the journal and drove away, very confused and a tiny bit crushed.  (Now we look back and laugh at all of this, but at the time, it did not seem funny.)
      Thankfully God and our great friend and mentor Becci (who deserves a post all her own for what all she went through with us) were there to intervene.  When John told Becci how it all went down that night, she had some great questions for him and helped him to see past some of the enormity that he was placing on the situation.  He ended up going through the journal I made him and writing back - even collaging!  It must have been love.


And, to be fair, it was not to be taken lightly.  We knew that because of all we had been through together, starting to date meant heading down the road of marriage.  We were already serious, before we had really begun, which is a hard place to start out.  So, the next time we saw each other, in Northern Ireland, (after another enormous bout of drama that included me losing my passport, having to get a new one in 48 hours and flying two days behind the rest of the team) John was ready to ask me to officially date him.  And the heavens opened up with singing.
      After having had a crush on him for almost 1.5 years by this point, I said "yes."  We had some other hardships on that trip, so much so that that is where we coined the phrase "The John and Carol Show." It felt that we were continually adding to the drama.  However, things settled, and midway through the trip, when our teams were traveling together, we had our first kiss.  It was while we were sitting in a tree, over a waterfall, on a mountain in Northern Ireland.  Someone took this picture, and then everyone else moved on.  He leaned in, and it was perfect.  It is nice to have that dreamy moment to look back on in the midst of so many harder ones.


I think that is the day we started to fall in love with traveling together.  We got to see so many amazing places.  (how young do we look?  I guess that is what nine years will do.)

Scan 1

The rest of our dating relationship had its ups and downs, just as anyone else's.  However, at the beginning, we made a deal that we would not ever break up and get back together.  And, though there were a few times where breaking up would have been an easy out, I am so glad that we never did.  We stuck through it.  John proposed in October 2004, and we were married in April of 2005.  I never would have written a story like this for myself, but our gracious God knows what we need.  He knew that we needed to start out in a hard way, and honestly, it paved the way for an easy first few years of marriage.  There were no real surprises, because we had seen each other through some true difficulties.

So thankful.


The Bishop's Wife said...

Fun to read. I also think you still look very young and lovely nine years later.