“How do you know you’re meant to be with someone?”
I’m not sure if she remembers this, but I asked my sister, Mandy, this very question in those first couple of weeks having gas station date nights with Brian.
(I should note that he came back to WalMart e.v.e.r.y s.i.n.g.l.e n.i.g.h.t for the rest of the month that I worked there to meet me for coffee at 2:00 A.M.)
Mandy’s reply? “You really like their company.”
Sixteen days after meeting Brian, I remember driving to his house for some reason or another. I had been doing my best to be as stand-off-ish as possible, not giving him my number and whatnot, but somehow he had roped me into something outside of WalMart.
This was such a sensitive time for me. I was new to Virginia, was switching careers from missionary to hairstylist, had been broken up with twice in the last two years and was dealing with my anger toward the Lord for how He had managed the whole “hands” fiasco.
While driving to Brian’s house, I began laying this out to the Lord.
So now what? Now what am I supposed to do? Who am I supposed to love? You plan on doing the “hands” thing again? ‘Cause that was brilliant. *sarcasm* That worked out great last time, didn’t it?
While I don’t recommend treating the Lord with sarcasm, I do recommend remaining honest and continuing in prayer. He took no more delight in my suffering than I did. Little did I know (and little do I EVER know) that He had a bigger picture in mind and was just molding me into the woman I needed to be by the end of this prayer journey.
That day, after driving and praying, I hadn’t been at Brian’s house long before he scared me half to death.
Brian, out of the blue, “Let me see your hand.”
My heart dropped.
Not again, Lord.
Brian, “Let me see your hand.”
Where is this going?!
I hesitantly held it out. Brian shifted so that our palms could face each other’s and pressed the palm of his hand into the palm of my hand.
They’re a perfect match. Like puzzle pieces. I couldn’t deny it.
In that very moment as our hands were pressed against each other, the last two years flashed through my mind: Andy. Pain. Rejection. Prayer. Signs. Hands. Joel. Fear. Faith. Trust. Hope. Learning to love unconditionally. Rejection. Confusion. Brian. Love. Jesus. Character. Devotion. Company. A perfect match.
Impulsively I blurted, “We should get married.”
Brian shrugged, “All right.”
Me, “But you still have to propose to me… ‘Cause every girl deserves an official proposal.”
And that, my friends, is how Brian and I truly began.
While walking through it at the time, I wondered what could possibly have been the point of feeling pain and rejection time and again. I wondered what could possibly have been the point of learning about unconditional love through a very strange prayer being answered with a very strange sign. But in meeting Brian, it all began to make sense. If I hadn’t experienced this faith journey with the Lord, I never would have recognized the qualities in Brian that are truly worth holding onto. I would have only seen his T-shirt and not his character. I would have only heard his cussing and not his heart. I would have only smelled the cigarettes, but never smelled a whiff of the sort of character that makes a man more valuable than his bank account, his education and his job. I would have never recognized that special love in his eyes, a love that would never let me go. It would have been foreign to me and perhaps, like Joel, I would have dismissed it.
The restlessness that began in me during the 9/11 attacks? Brian and I met exactly two years later on September 11th. In that span of time, the Lord shaped and molded my heart and my desires until I was fit to meet Brian. I would have never been ready otherwise.
Now ya know.