Posts Tagged ‘Our story’

Walking side by side

February 18th, 2013

This is the next installment in a rather long series about how Daniel and I met–and have become engaged. Click on the “Our Story” tag for context.

When we left the Garcia’s, we traveled downtown, where a Nebraska football game had just ended. We parked a fair distance from where our reservations were and walked to the Haymarket.

Daniel stopped abruptly in the midst of our walking to ask me, “Am I walking too fast? My family always tells me that I walk too quickly.”

I laughed a bit and explained that my family always complains that I walk too quickly. They say they struggle to keep up with my pace.

As it was, Daniel and I were perfectly comfortable with each other’s pace.

We sat for a few minutes on a bench by the old train station, talking and just enjoying one another’s presence. Then we walked yet again to The Oven, where we enjoyed dinner on the patio, taking in the sights and sounds of post-gameday Lincoln.

I started to get chilly towards the end of dinner–so we took a detour back to the car, where Daniel got out his jacket for me.

I gladly wore it as we walked further, this time to a coffee shop where we sat and talked until the night grew late.

Daniel drove me home, gave me a hug at the door, and I returned his jacket.

As I drove back to Columbus, I received a text message: “Unexpected surprise: My jacket smells like you.”

Aww. Totally not fair.

Meeting the Folks

February 11th, 2013

This is the next installment in a rather long series about how Daniel and I met–and have become engaged. Click on the “Our Story” tag for context.

“The only bummer about this weekend,” I told my sister as we did some quick shopping the morning after I met Daniel in person, “is that I don’t get to see the Little Miss while I’m in town.”

Anna agreed that this was a bummer, and we continued on.

A few minutes later, she told me that I’d get to see the Little Miss after all. “I told Daniel that if he brought her by Mom and Dad’s house around 1:30, he’d get a chance to meet Daniel.”

Ah.

Yes.

Because introducing Daniel to the whole of my family was definitely my intent. (Not!)

Nevertheless, when Daniel knocked on the front door, a decent contingency were present. Mom and Dad, of course–but also Anna, Daniel, and the Little Miss (I feel like either Joshua or Grace were also there–but I could be wrong).

He knocked, I introduced him to Mom and Dad and the others. We sat down and had brief awkward conversation. Then we left.

For our first date, Daniel took me first to Lincoln’s quilt museum. We enjoyed perusing the quilts hand in hand, commenting on composition and construction. I spent way too much time explaining how quilts are made, what different designs are, and why certain quilts were more difficult to construct than others. Daniel listened patiently.

The last exhibit was a collection of signature quilts–and we had fun looking over the names penned or embroidered across the tops. We talked about family names, about women signing their names Mrs. Husband’s-first-name Last-name, about names we liked or didn’t like. We found someone with the first name “Happy” and Daniel decided that was a great name. I reminded myself throughout our conversation that I did not have permission to think about meshing our families names, about calling myself “Mrs. Daniel Garcia”, about the horror of having a child “Happy Garcia.”

As we left the museum, I apologized for my enthusiastic talkativeness. Daniel assured me that he enjoyed it–that he was interested in hearing about what I find interesting. I didn’t exactly believe him, but we were on to the next thing.

We got back in the car and Daniel drove me out to his parents’ house.

You see, a couple of weeks back, Daniel had mentioned that his parents would be traveling to see him in a little over a month’s time. He’d asked if maybe I wanted to drive down with them to Wichita.

I’d agreed and our second meeting was planned.

As the time drew nearer, Daniel’s mother thought it best that I meet them before the long car trip to Wichita–so Daniel and I took time during our date to meet his dad (Paula was out of town that weekend, so I could only meet Rick.)

Daniel and I sat on opposite ends of the couch, talking books with Rick and with Daniel’s younger sister. We had chanced upon a congenial topic and conversation generally moved smoothly–except that I kept wishing I were sitting just a little closer to Daniel, that he were holding my hand across the couch instead of holding his own in his lap.

The Pre-Date

January 23rd, 2013

This is the next installment in a rather long series about how Daniel and I met–and have become engaged. Click on the “Our Story” tag for context.

We’d arranged for our first date on Saturday, September 22.

I would go down to Lincoln and stay with my parents. Daniel would come up to Lincoln and stay with his parents.

Daniel would pick me up from my parents’ house and we’d go on our date.

A great plan, all told.

But as the time drew near, we ended up tweaking our plan a bit.

It was maybe the Wednesday or Thursday before our date when Daniel told me that he’d been thinking and had decided that it would be silly for us to SKYPE on Friday night when we’d already be in the same town. Maybe we should just meet for coffee that evening?

I happily agreed, since, by that time, I was starting to wonder how awkward it would be to meet Daniel in person for the first time in my parents’ presence–and to turn around and immediately introduce him to them.

The pre-date was set.

We met at The Mill in Lincoln’s Haymarket. I was just about to the door, and wondering whether he’d already be sitting down or if he’d be somewhere in the “front” of the store or… when I heard my name.

I turned to see Daniel, already my beloved, stand from where he’d been waiting outside.

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

We stood and stared at each other a while (I think) before one of us said “This is so strange.”

It was. It was so different. So strange.

To be here, at last, face to face with the man I loved, the man I knew, the man who knew me so intimately.

We’d connected as minds first, as fellow believers, then emotionally. We’d come to be friends, confidantes, boyfriend and girlfriend-all without every having shaken one another’s hand or seen one another in person.

How does one interact in person with one they have never before met but have nonetheless known intimately?

It was all so strange.

And, yes, awkward.

Even though we knew no one was watching us, it felt like everyone had to be aware of the unusual nature of our relationship. Surely everyone had to know.

We chatted inconsequentially as Daniel sipped coffee and I a steamer (maybe?)

We tentatively tried to hold hands across the table. We concluded that this, too, was awkward.

“We’ll learn how to do this” we told each other. “I’m glad I get to learn it with you.”

We continued talking, conversation the same as normal except not at all the same as normal.

We paused frequently to marvel at how different everything was in person–and how the same.

Once our drinks were cold and our eyes drooping, we dropped off our cups in the bus tub and walked back to our cars.

We said goodnight, said goodbye. I got in my car and drove home.

My parents and sisters were still up, in the family room watching a movie.

“How was it?” they asked.

“Good,” I responded. “Awkward, but good.”

My Hiding Place

December 14th, 2012

This is the next installment in a rather long series about how Daniel and I met–and have become engaged. Click on the “Our Story” tag for context.

It wasn’t until after we’d hung up that the doubts swarmed through my head.

Desperate for reassurance, I sent Daniel a text, saying nothing of my current turmoil, but thanking him for listening.

I carried my cell phone from Bunco table to Bunco table as I filled in for a missing player, waiting with increasing anxiety for the text that would ease my doubts, remind me of his love.

The text didn’t come. Daniel had his own activities that night, so I was left with my anxious thoughts.

I spent the evening putting a brave face over my inner struggle, smiling and nodding as my sister exulted in telling her coworkers and friends about my new beau.

Insecure. I felt insecure.

Not because I doubted Daniel’s love. Not even because I doubted that I loved him.

I felt insecure in my own ability to love.

That afternoon, I’d told Daniel about a couple of my past relationships, how I’d been heavily invested in each, how my mind had run on ahead of where the relationship actually was.

In the midst of the conversation, I was fine. I wanted Daniel to know me–my past and my present (and I wanted him to be my future.) I loved that we didn’t conceal anything from one another.

I wanted to share. It was right to share.

It’s just that now, recounting the conversation in my mind, I felt exposed.

How could I even think I could tell Daniel how I felt about him when my feelings had obviously led me astray before?

How did I know that I was not just a flighty thing, in love with being in love?

Now, when this wasn’t like the other times, when the love was mutual, how could I be sure that I wouldn’t let him down? How could I be sure that I actually could love him like I wanted to love him?

I wanted Daniel there beside me, wanted to share my current struggle with him, wanted his reassurance.

I wrote in my journal: “But he isn’t here and my heart is sick and I feel so insecure. Lord, I need You.”

In God’s mercy, Daniel was busy that night. He didn’t see my text until almost midnight.

Daniel not responding forced me into the arms of God–and I am so thankful.

God is my hiding place.

It’s a reality God has reiterated over and over again in the course of my relationship with Daniel.

So many times, I have wanted to run first to Daniel with my struggles, with my sorrows, with my sin. with my excitement. But in God’s great mercy, He has caused many of those things to happen when I couldn’t run directly to Daniel. I was forced to go first to God–and what a wonderful thing that is.

The truth is that Daniel can not bear my burdens. He cannot be my all in all. He cannot be my peace and my security.

I can take joy in Daniel’s love, but it is not his love that saves me. It is God’s love that rescues.

I am learning that once I have hidden myself in God, my sharing with Daniel is so much sweeter, so much greater.

I still share my heart with Daniel-my sorrows, my struggles, my sin–but it is no longer to dump them on him, expecting him to solve things he cannot solve, expecting him to bear burdens he cannot bear. Instead, I share them so that we, together, can cast our shared burdens on the Lord. I share them so that we, together, can go to the throne of grace.

I share them so that we can hide together in Christ.

(By the way, in another testament to the goodness of God–when I have circumvented this and run to Daniel first? Daniel has led me to the perfect place–right back to the throne of grace, right back to the Lover of my Soul. I am so blessed to have a man who loves for me to be hidden in Christ.)

Talking Timelines

December 12th, 2012

This is the next installment in a rather long series about how Daniel and I met–and have become engaged. Click on the “Our Story” tag for context.

It seems I had managed to render my dad speechless twice in the same night. First, when he had wondered if Daniel had already proposed-and now when I told him that, while Daniel had not yet proposed, he had told me he wanted to  marry me.

When Dad recovered his power of speech, he advised me to get to know Daniel’s parents. After all, he said, it is from his parents that Daniel likely gets his idea of what a marriage looks like. It would behoove me to spend time with his family.

I recounted this story to Daniel later that week (yes, I told him everything-no coyness for this girl.)

After hearing my lively tale, Daniel said he might as well tell me what he was thinking of for a timeline.

“I’ve thought maybe we could spend time with each others’ families over the holidays…and then I’d propose in January or February and we’d get married sometime next summer.”

He paused a bit at this point. “You want a big church wedding, I’m guessing?”

“I’ve heard that those take at least six months to plan, so…”

He explained that a summer wedding makes the most sense to him, since his MBA work means he can’t just take off for a honeymoon in the middle of the school year.

He confessed that this timeline was already making him stressed. He felt maybe he was rushing things to be thinking of next summer–but he’d rather not have to wait all the way until summer of 2014.

I tried to reassure him, encouraged him not to stress about the timeline, not to feel rushed. People have gotten married during school for years. I told him we’d find a way to make it work if that’s the way it turned out.

I confessed to God in my journal:

“I love it. I love him. I love the way You’ve made him. And if things go according to his plan, I will rejoice. And if things work differently and we end up having to take just a weekend honeymoon or whatever, I will rejoice, because there will be a lifetime for knowing and loving him. And if we do not marry, I shall be grieved, but I will rejoice in God’s severe mercy in leading us elsewhere.”

I loved him-and very much wanted to marry him-but I did not want to make him an idol. I wanted God’s will even more than I wanted him, so even as I delighted in our continuing closeness, I was conscious to open my hand and offer him back to the Lord.

Whether we’d be married summer of 2013 or sometime in 2014 or not at all, I wanted God’s will to be done.

As quickly as you’d like

December 7th, 2012

This is the next installment in a rather long series about how Daniel and I met–and have become engaged. Click on the “Our Story” tag for context.

We were sitting around my mom’s patio table sometime in the spring (possibly over Memorial Day?). It was Dad, myself, and at least one of my siblings.

We must have been talking about some couple we knew who’d been dating for a long while, wondering, perhaps, when they might become engaged. I might have commented that it’s better for them to deliberate, make sure they knew for sure before getting married, because Dad’s response was:

“Now, Rebekah, you can get married as quickly as you’d like.”

I was a little shocked, a little uncertain what to think.

Was this another “I want grandbabies” comment? But Dad didn’t usually make those comments to me. He made those comments to the people who could do something about it–my married brothers.

Dad must have seen the confusion on my face, because he clarified, “I think that when you’re a little older, more mature, you know yourself and what you want better. So you can make up your mind more quickly. You don’t have to wait around once you know.”

Dad’s earlier comment, made when I had no romantic interests whatsoever on the horizon, came back to me now and became rather an obsession.

What did he mean by that? Did he mean that? Now that things were no longer abstract… Now that I was dating a man who I rather already knew I wanted to marry… Now that I was dating a man who’d already told me that he wanted to marry me…

Did Dad’s earlier comment about timing still stand?

I texted Dad to set up a time to talk. We agreed to Skype on Thursday night, after Mom was done with worship practice so that she could be in on the conversation as well.

We opened our Skype conversation with a brief bit of small talk before I plunged into the question at hand:

“Remember when you said I could get married as quickly as I wanted to? Did you mean that?”

Mom and Dad looked at each other and looked back at me. They opened their mouths and closed them again. They looked at one another again. Finally, Dad spoke. “Do you have an offer on the table?”

I hadn’t realized what my question might mean to them. “No, I don’t. Sorry to have scared you there.”

Dad’s response was measured. “I don’t know. I think there’s definitely value in being deliberative, in making sure you’re sure. But then again, I’m a deliberative sort of guy.”

I laughed, teased a bit. “So you’re saying that if Daniel’s like you, he’ll finally decide to ask me to marry him three years from now?” (Mom and Dad dated for rather a long time before they became engaged.)

Dad’s response was more sober: “How do you know Daniel’s not like me?”

I’d jumped the gun on relationships before, had been thinking marriage when that wasn’t where the guy was at. I wondered if Dad was thinking of that.

But I had a response for Dad. “I know because he’s already told me that he’d like to marry me someday.”

I already knew where Daniel was taking us, knew that I wanted to go where he was taking us. I just needed to know if Dad meant what he’d said about it being okay to travel that route quickly.

50 hours is forever

December 5th, 2012

This is the next installment in a rather long series about how Daniel and I met–and have become engaged. Click on the “Our Story” tag for context.

We’d decided to talk sooner than Wednesday and had scheduled a call the next Monday–less than 50 hours from when we’d ended our six-hour Skype conversation–but it still seemed like much too long a wait.

I texted Daniel that very evening:

“So I thought maybe you should know…that I’m dating this man who’s rather amazing. I’m pretty much crazy about him.”

Daniel played right along:

“Really? Maybe he and I should meet some time.”

Sunday morning, Daniel’s text came 15 minutes before I started teaching Sunday school and managed to completely fluster me. How was I supposed to teach, to be normal, when “Good morning, beautiful one” was running through my head?

Monday morning, I posted “In Which Words Fall Short”–and posted a link to Daniel’s Facebook wall, with the comment: “Alternately titled ‘In which I make my claim’.”

A little later that morning, Daniel announced to Facebook that he had a girlfriend (me!). Between my blog post and his Facebook wall post, the comments came pouring in.

I confess that I was distracted that day, checking up on blog comments and Facebook comments, enjoying everyone’s reaction, but mostly enjoying the fact that he was mine and I his.

When we talked that evening, Daniel mentioned that he’d received my birthday card.

I groaned at the thought.

I’d sent the card when things were undefined, when I was in love with him but didn’t feel the freedom to tell him how I felt.

It was a silly card, my personal greeting was lighthearted and bland.

I told Daniel that I was sorry, that I had wanted to wish him happy birthday with something more meaningful than e-mail or a Facebook wall post. But my card ended up insufficient in my eyes, so trite compared to what I now wanted to say (and finally had the freedom to express.)

I tried to make it up the next day (Daniel’s actual birthday) by sending him birthday wishes via every channel available – I emailed him a happy birthday, wrote it on his Facebook wall, texted him, and at last told him when we talked that evening.

Yes, the 50 hour gap between when we hung up on Saturday and when we spoke on Monday was too much. We were now set for a new schedule of conversation–talking every day.

With your BOYFRIEND

December 4th, 2012

At long last, I am picking up Daniel’s and my story again. Click on the “Our Story” tag for context.

We had a barbecue that evening with a bunch of folk from church.

As we were standing around the kitchen, shooting the breeze, Anna led off with a query: “You wanna tell everyone what you were talking about with your BOYFRIEND for SIX HOURS this afternoon with the DOOR CLOSED?”

Cathy, ever conscious of my heart, cautioned Anna against using “boyfriend”-until I interjected that, actually, Daniel WAS now my boyfriend.

This, of course, rather shocked everyone–and brought on questions in abundance.

Was it a little abrupt, a little uncaring, to tell Anna this way, at the same time as I told everyone?

I’m not sure. Perhaps. But she was the one who had brought it up.

And yes, we had spent six hours talking that afternoon.

We’d gotten to two, maybe three, hours in when Daniel asked me what my plans were for the rest of the day.

I didn’t have any fixed plans except for the barbecue that evening at seven–and neither of us really wanted to hang up. So we kept talking, with the occasional potty break, right up to six.

At six, when I hung up, I went into Anna’s room and asked her if she was ready to go. She got ready and we went to the barbecue–where she asked the needle-ing question that “outed” us to my dozen or so closest friends.

Of course, everyone had questions–and I got to spend a fair bit of the evening talking about Daniel (which, as he’s one of my very favorite topics, was quite welcome.)

I was in the throes of young love, already counting down the time until I could talk to my BOYFRIEND again (except, ugh, we’d discussed those terms and decided we didn’t like them at all. BOYfriend? GIRLfriend? He is not a boy, but a man who I love. He considers me not a girl, but a woman.)

It made me antsy, sitting there among my dearest friends, enjoying their company but wishing that Daniel (who I’d of yet not met in person) were there with us–or that I were in Wichita with him.

I think I love you

November 14th, 2012

This is a continuation of Daniel’s and my story. Click on the “Our Story” tag for context.

Thankfully, when Daniel said that he loved me, he didn’t expect an immediate response from me.

He wouldn’t have gotten it even if he did expect it. I was flabbergasted.

Elisabeth Elliot’s words from Passion and Purity were running through my mind:

“My father counseled his four sons never to say, ‘I love you’ to a woman until they were ready to follow immediately with ‘Will you marry me?'”

Daniel had said “I love you.” He had not asked me to marry him. He had said he wanted to marry me someday.

He loved me?

Wasn’t it a little sudden for that? How could he love me? Did he really know me well enough to love me? Surely he just hadn’t seen enough to know that he didn’t really love me.

But I trusted Daniel, I loved Daniel. I couldn’t pooh-pooh what he’d just said, couldn’t presume that he was just throwing out meaningless words for emotions’ sake.

He said he loved me.

The thoughts kept whirling and twirling as Daniel continued speaking.

When he stopped, my lips spoke a patent untruth:

“I think I love you too.”

This, from the girl who’d been telling God and her journal all week that she loved Daniel. This, from the girl who’d been entreating God to tell her whether she would marry Daniel.

Now, faced with his confession of love for her, she replies “I think I love you too”?

I did.

In my defense, I’d been questioning my own capability to love all week as well. How did I know this was not mere infatuation? I asked myself. Did I even know him well enough to love him?

And saying “I love you” has never been something that comes particularly easy to me. I’m not one of those types who tacks an “I love you” at the end of every phone conversation.

This was something new, something new entirely for me.

So you can’t blame me for being shy (can you?)

Then again, a third possible explanation for my half-truth response could be that I’d been humming an old Partridge family tune all week long:

“I think I love you
So what am I so afraid of?”

I Think I Love You by The Partridge Family on Grooveshark

Whatever the exact reason, I told him I thought I loved him.

Whether he caught it or not, he didn’t say anything about my noncommittal response.

What exactly came next, I’m not sure, but eventually I asked Daniel: “So, does this mean that I’m your… girlfriend?”

Define the Relationship

November 13th, 2012

This is a continuation of Daniel’s and my story. Click on the “Our Story” tag for context.

Daniel and I Skyped that Saturday, our second Saturday Skype date. We had the normal sort of conversation, talk about everyday things, about ideas, whatever.

I mentioned Cathy’s question, about whether I’d told my family about the two of us. I briefly described my conversation with John, how I’d had to badger him, but eventually I managed to get ahold of him so I could tell him about Daniel.

It was odd, this–talking to Daniel about talking to other people about him. It felt even more weird because there wasn’t really any formal understanding between Daniel and I. So what exactly was I telling my family?

And how did I describe to Daniel what I was telling my family?

I suppose if I’d thought about it in advance, I might not have chosen to tell Daniel about telling my family. I might have shirked from the awkwardness, feared I’d be trying to force Daniel’s hand.

But I wasn’t thinking in advance, was simply sharing my life with Daniel. That’s what we did, after all. We were amazingly candid with one another, had always been. It was (is) one of the things I love most about our relationship.

And, in this case, it turned out rather well.

After hearing my story and commenting appropriately in all the right spots (acknowledging, for example, that brothers have the right and responsibility of talking tough at their sisters’ dates), Daniel asked me if he needed to define the relationship.

I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that. Did he need to define the relationship?

Was I interested in having him define the relationship? Certainly. But I didn’t want to tell him that yes, I wanted him to define the relationship, lest I somehow force him to say something he didn’t mean.

Daniel saw my tentativeness and clarified what he’d meant. “It’s just that I’m noticing how you’ve had a hard time figuring out what words to use to describe you and me to your family, and how to describe what you’ve told your family to me. Would it be helpful…”

He didn’t wait for me to answer.

“Rebekah, I love you. I don’t know entirely if it’s God’s will or not, but I’d be very hurt if I didn’t end up marrying you.”

Did he just say what I thought he just said?

Did he just tell me he loved me?

I was listening dazed as he told me that he’d wrestled before today’s conversation with whether he would tell me what he was thinking. He’d been undecided at the start of our conversation, but now, well, he’d decided and had said it.

He loved me. He hoped to marry me someday.

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