Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Very Own Love Story pt. 7

The "end of college" calendar had already been set for both of us. Each of our club socials were on the same night, so we didn't go together to either one. Both of our graduation ceremonies were on the same day at the same time, so neither of us attended the other's. We were busy tying up loose ends, packing, and moving out of our college towns. Honey was getting ready for his last summer at Blue Haven, I was sending job applications and waiting for interviews. I also had a few camps that I was helping with as a sort of last minute fill-in.

Before Honey left for camp, we planned for me to visit him twice on his days off. He invited me to fly in for his family reunion, so that was an added bonus. We both decided that if we were going to really find out what our relationship was made of, we needed to live in the same town. This distance thing had gone on long enough. Our plan was that I would find a job teaching wherever I felt God taking me. When camp was over, Honey would apply for jobs in my area that would use his business degree. It seemed like a solid plan, and by the end of June, I'd signed a contract to teach my dream job (first grade classroom in a low-income school) and secured an apartment 2 hours from my hometown, in Honey's college town.

I started cleaning and moving in to my new classroom. I met the other teachers in my grade level and immediately enjoyed the mentoring that they offered. I was excited to meet my class and begin my first year of teaching. All I needed to make my life complete was Honey, and in a matter of weeks, I'd have that reality, too.

About a week before Honey was finished with camp, he called my new apartment. I was surprised to hear from him since it was the middle of the week and phone time at camp was very limited, especially in the evenings. He wanted to share something important. Through some contacts at camp, he'd been asked to interview for a youth ministry position. About 2 1/2 hours away from where I'd just signed a 1 year contract. In a town, just outside of my college town.

In that moment, I learned that it's OK for man to make plans, but God almost always had other ideas. A week after camp was over, Honey was sitting in the living room of my apartment telling me that he felt called into this youth ministry position. It was a trial basis type thing. The church didn't know if they could afford to pay another full time minister, and since he had a business degree, Honey didn't know if he would enjoy youth ministry. They would try it for a semester and re-evaluate at the end of the year. He would be moving to this town as soon as he could get his stuff together.

I was great with all of that. Who was I to mess with God calling people to do things? I felt just as called to be in the town I was in, preparing for the job I was preparing for. OK, it was a little bit ironic. After 2 years of being long distance, we switched towns and continued to be long distance. But I was up for it. We'd done it before, right?

But there was more that Honey wanted to share. He wanted to officially define our relationship because we hadn't ever really done that after the whole dress shopping time. He wanted to break up, or call it off, or stop seeing me, or whatever it was called when you ended whatever we were doing. He needed to be free from the obligations of a serious long distance relationship so he could fully focus on this new calling. He didn't want me to spend an undetermined amount of time waiting on him, and he didn't want to feel pulled in a direction that wasn't focused on the ministry.

Surprisingly enough, I was OK with that, too. Well, I was sad, but I was at peace. I didn't doubt that some day we would be together, I just really didn't know when. I was so sure that we would end up together that I didn't even tell my co-workers we'd "broken up". I just waited. The kind of waiting that says, "Technically, I'm single, but emotionally, I'm not available."

A week passed and Honey stopped by my place on his way to his new job. His mom was with him and they took me out to eat. I'm not sure if they stopped because Honey wanted to or because his mom insisted, but, nevertheless, we had a lovely time, awkward, but lovely.

When they were loading up to finish their drive, Honey hugged me one last time, and for a moment the "break-up awkwardness" that seemed to follow us everywhere was gone. Neither of us were sure when we would see or speak to each other again. I reassured him that he had no obligations to me, and that I had no hard feelings for him. I wanted him to do what he needed to do to fulfill his calling. I let him know that I would love to keep in touch.

As I watched his truck drive away, I told myself that surely he would call sometime during the first week.

Late that night the phone by my bed rang. "Hey, were you asleep?" his warm voice greeted me.

I smiled sleepily, "I'm surprised to hear from you. How's it going?"

"I dropped Mom off and came to unload some stuff in my new office. I was getting ready to leave, but it didn't feel right until I called you. I wanted to share these first few moments with you."

"Mmm, tell me about it," I replied as I snuggled deeper under my covers. I was content to take whatever he could give.

We went on like that for a couple of months. E-mail had been invented by then, and so we sent those every day. We usually talked on the phone at night. I went to visit him a couple of times. I loved meeting the church family that was providing for him.

By Thanksgiving, he'd made some decisions, and things really started to move. He loved youth ministry and planned to pursue it, but he also loved me and wanted to pursue our relationship. He knew he'd be a much more effective youth minister with a partner. He left that church at Christmas and moved to my town. After the first of the year he took a job at a car dealership until he could figure out how to pursue youth ministry.

By February we were engaged. We set the date for July. My mom was a nervous wreck, trying to pull a wedding together in 4 months, but she pulled it off. As you've seen, it really was a beautiful wedding. My mom has impeccable taste when it comes to stuff like that.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

After we were married, we placed membership at a local church and volunteered in their growing youth ministry. We worked in that ministry for about a year until Honey had the opportunity to go to a small town and work with a program that had about 40 kids. It was the perfect size for a couple with only a few summers of working at a youth camp for experience.

And 10 years later, here we are. After many mountains and valleys, our married life has proven to be just as exciting as our courtship. Through it all we've learned to depend on God and cling to one another. And to be thankful that at least we live in the same town.


Cheri said...

Ahh...I love happy endings!!! Thanks for sharing your story. It was great!

Misty said...

YAY!!! I love the story... I love how it shows you both really relying to trust in God... BEAUTIFUL!

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

I'm grinning like I didn't know how it ended and was hopeful! :)


So well-written, friend. Loved the last line.

So tell us... will we ever hear from Honey?

javamamma said...

Yay! What a beautiful story you have. And you share it so well. I hope you had a wonderful 10th anniversary!

Jen said...

Loved the story!!! It was great! Hey, how'd he propose? You didn't mention that :) Unless it's too personal, I'd love to hear :)

SJ said...

Awwwww. Very nice! Thanks for sharing!