Saturday, February 17, 2007
6 Years Ago Today
We met the Sunday after I was widowed. When he approached me, I had no idea who he was.
He said, "If you ever need to talk to someone that kind of gets it, you can call me."
"And, you are?", I replied.
With a surprised look on his face, he said, slightly embarrassed, "Oh, I'm Will McC. I'm sorry. I guess I thought everyone knew me by now."
As soon as I heard his last name, I knew exactly who he was. It was only a few weeks before that I read about his wife passing in the church bulletin. I politely thanked him, and quickly headed out of the church before the next round of tears started.
A few weeks later, we ended up at a church function together. Since we live in Southern California, we rarely see snow. The previous week, a TON of snow had fallen on the nearby mountains. A member of our congregation, that lived in the mountains, was gracious enough to invite all that wished to come, to play in the snow at her house. We both knew our kids would love it, and all of us needed a joyful moment in the middle of all the grief. So, in between snowball fights and sled runs down the nearby hills, Will and I ended up in our friend's kitchen. We chatted about this and that; nothing too deep or important. When he discovered my age, he teased me about being little more than toddler when he was already playing high school ball. It was a fun day, but not remarkable..
As the months went by, we greeted each other as we picked up our children from their classroom on Sunday mornings. It turned out, we had children in the same class; a fact previously unknown to both of us. We even attended "Brown Bag Lunch" together a couple times. This was a time that church members could just come to the church to share lunch with the Pastor and staff. It was completely informal, and a great way to get to know other members, and become more of a church "family".
Finally, as the Summer was drawing to a close, it was time for "Family Camp". I was a bit unnerved about trying to camp with two young children without my husband to help me out, but I knew my church family (who had been SOOOO supportive) would be there, so I moved ahead with my plans to attend. We drove to the site with a good friend, and were overwhelmed with love, help, support and understanding when we arrived. In no time at all, my tent was set up, my children were playing happily with the other kids, and I was enjoying a much needed social time with other adults. I felt as blessed as I had ever been!
As darkness fell over our group campsite, I saw what seemed like a million stars in the sky, and could hear the waves pounding on the beach. As beautiful as our campsite was, I longed to walk in the sand and to watch the beautiful waves roll in. Since my kids were asleep, and many dear friends had offered to keep an eye on them for me, I started asking around to see if someone would be willing to walk over to the beach with me. You see, as lovely as it was to look at, this was definitely not a calm stretch of sand, and a highway had to be crossed to get there. Therefore, one of the camp "rules" was that we could NEVER go to the beach alone. By this time, most people were tired, busy playing a game, watching over their own children, etc.I was feeling very disappointed, and was about to give up, when Will approached. He asked me if anyone had agreed to go to the beach with me, and when I told him they hadn't, he offered to go. I was thrilled!!
We chatted casually (if a bit uncomfortably) as we walked through the campground toward the beach. We waited for a couple cars to go by, then darted across the highway. No sooner had we set foot on the sand, but a falling star was right in front of us. We both halted, and stared at it's loveliness. After a moment, we walked silently down the beach. A few minutes later, we started to talk. We talked for hours. During our conversation, we saw multiple falling stars, and what seemed to be neon in the foam of the cresting waves. It was as if God was putting on a show just for us. It was chilly in the ocean breeze in the wee hours of the morning. I hinted that my hands were cold, but both of us were far too timid to make the move to hold the other's hand. We finally decided to head back to camp.
The second night of camp, after the kids were asleep, we chatted around the campfire with friends. The final night of camp, we repeated our walk on the beach. It felt magical, but kind of scary. What were we doing? What did this mean? We were both too afraid to make a move.
On the way home from camp, I stopped for lunch with my kids. Out of nowhere, a man came up and offered me four tickets to a local sporting event. Since he was there with his wife, and handed me the tickets right there on the spot, I decided it was OK to accept them. All the way home, I wracked my brain about who to invite to go to the event with me. A few people came to mind, but I kept coming back to Will. You see, he is the ULTIMATE sports fan!! Through a mutual friend (and her husband), I set up a double date.
I had butterflies in my stomach as the big night approached. Part of me was terrified to take a chance like this, knowing what I could lose, but the other part of me knew the treasure that was this wonderful man. Our date could not have gone any better. When Will took me home, and kissed me on the front porch as we said good night, I knew he was the one for me. We ended up on the phone for hours that night, and have hardly spent a day apart since. I had truly found my soul mate!
After a few short months, Will asked both sets of my parents (Mom & Step-Dad, Dad & Step-Mom), and my In-laws (late husband's parent's), for my hand in marriage. With all of their blessings, he asked me to marry him, and I happily accepted! We were married in front of our children, a few close friends, and A WHOLE LOT of family; six years ago today. The losses that led to our marriage were incredibly sad and difficult to bear, but it truth, I wouldn't change a thing. Our broken hearts rejoiced in the new found joy, love, comfort and healing, in a way that would have been impossible without the pain and grief of the previous months. While I often struggled to understand, I am so grateful that God knew my heart, and had a far greater plan for me than I could have ever imagined. I am especially grateful that it included Will!!