So... About 2 months ago, I posted an entry entitled "The 800 lb Gorilla and the Pretty Barista". If you haven't read it-- or if you don't remember it-- click on the title, there, and catch yourself up. It's a wonderful segway into the thoughts I have to share in this particular post...
I realize that it's been a week and a half since I've contributed to this blog. It's been crazy busy at work and at home. (Work is going great-- very busy. TJ is doing very well-- happy and challenging as ever. No updates on the "book deal" yet. Basement will be renovated and restored at the end of this week, and the hardwoods on the main floor will be finished mid-February, in case you were wondering.) But the truth of the matter is that I haven't posted because I've been wrestling with how (or when, rather) to pour out my thoughts into words for all to see on this blog, concerning this most significant event of my life, which is basically the only thing worth updating you all on...
I'm "seeing somebody".
Rather, more significantly, I find myself "in a relationship". With a woman, that is. A "significant other". An intentional "romantic relationship", complete with all of the emotions, statements of intent, talks about future, and so-on... ...and the 800 lb gorilla stands on its hind-quarters, beats its chest, and ROARS. (Or grunts... or... what noise does a giant gorilla make, anyway?)
No, it's not the pretty barista. Now stop asking me about her! :) She was a metaphor. A case study. Not somebody I had truly considered dating. No, the woman in focus is an acquaintance from the past. A "family friend", I guess you could say. She is somebody with whom there was a certain foundation of familiarity... Her sister was one of Leslie's best friends. Through that connection, she'd been following "Leslie's Journey", and had logged some seriously intense hours in prayer for us throughout the past year. She joined her family at one of Leslie's memorial services. I had met her before-- in the context of her being Leslie's friend's sister, and had actually shared some close emotional ties with her family-- although I did not really know her until the events of the past few months.
Goodness, it's a great story! Complete with prophetic movements of the Spirit, unlikely events, and very obvious compatiablity. The stuff a great "romantic comedy" is made of. (Or is it a coming-of-age drama?) I'll share more of it in future posts, should God continue in the "good work" that He's started here. But I just needed to "break the ice", so to speak... I bring it up here and now because this new relationship is in GREAT need of some serious prayer. There is so much to consider and discuss-- so much at stake-- and she and I are WELL aware of all of the "issues". There are hurdles in our path which we are jumping or stumbling through as we come to them. It is a relationship with its foundation in Christ, built with the bricks-and-mortar of brutal honesty and compassionate trust. So far, the hurdles-- though challenging-- have only proven to strengthen us, in retrospect.
Yes, it is soon... 6 months since the completion of Leslie's and my marriage, this coming Monday. And Kate (that is her name) and I have been talking for almost 3 months already. (Don't worry-- there was no "intent" in the early stages, although I confess it didn't take long for the "potential" to reveal itself, at least on my end.) But it wasn't until we spent some time together over New Years that the relationship truly entered this realm of... whatever it is you call this realm. (She was the friend from a former post who gave TJ and me a ride back from the airport, when we splashed back home from vacation. She ended up staying around for a couple of days, entertaining TJ while I dealt with the insurance company, contractors, etc...)
I did not go out looking for her. But I found her. It's ironic, really. In the early stages, I'd expected my "flesh" (my earthly desires and human understanding) to push me into a relationship-- you know... kind of the "rebound" effect. And I expected my faith and "wisdom" to kind of tug on the reigns... "Whoah, boy! Slow it down! You're not ready!" But the irony is that from the beginning of this relationship, my "flesh" tells me that it's "too early", but the Spirit, in all honesty, has another thing to say about it. Our first phone conversation (she lives 3 hours from us, in Indianapolis, so the relationship started via email and telephone), was spent in prayer. From the beginning, we have sought God, and been completely open-handed in our intentions and feelings for one another, just taking a day-by-day approach to encouraging one another in Christ. I just cannot deny my thoughts, feelings, nor the evidence that has me on the path on which Kate and I find ourselves sharing. Our families (including Leslie's) are all aware, and completely supportive. TJ is even on board. He ADORES this woman, at virtually no prompting or provocation on my part. Several of our close friends know. The feedback thus far has been unanimously positive and encouraging. It just seems to be right.
I just need to unveil the truth of this relationship... because it opens up an entirely new door which begs exploration... which I will want to dive into, in the venue of this blog. Complex concepts have been brought to startlingly simple clarity-- ideas such as "healing"... "redemption"... "grace"... "hope"... "rebirth"... "the meaning of earthly love as compared to that of the etranal"... and so-on. And all of these things are being uncovered or discovered with the complete recollection, understanding, and ownership of everything we have been through, over these past 16 months. It's been truly amazing. And remarkably intense. There is SO MUCH to catch up on, my friends. It has been building over the weeks and months to the point where it is basically just plain dishonesty for me to continue to keep it from being known in this venue. So... here it is. Pretty crazy, huh?
Again, I ask for your prayers. (And your grace as you consider the concept of me "moving on".) There is so much at stake here. New romance has been known to cloud better judgment-- the potential results of which are a proposition I dread. But there is so much to gain. Could it be that God would... Well... I'll save those thoughts for another blog entry. Just know that day-to-day, Kate has truly been a blessing, whom God has used to lift my spirits and draw me further into His loving arms. My joy again knows happiness. My peace is no longer weighed down by the burden of solitude or the prospect of loneliness. Kate has simply been a sweet blessing-- a miracle really. God has-- whatever His purpose or reasoning (as if God needs to declare His intent or make an argument on His own behalf)-- led our paths to cross, and indeed share the same course, at least for today. Who knows where He will take us tomorrow. I could venture a guess, based on what He's revealed to us... but for now, we'll just call it "hope".
Time to sign off for tonight. I've got a phone call to make.