|My man being handsome on our trip to Ireland in May|
Still, I thought, why not share with you the fractured thoughts I wrote after those experiences in our early days, in honour of his arriving in Sweden tonight (can't wait!!) :)
10 October 2010:
"...I saw a certain someone. We planned a day out together for the Sunday afternoon. We'd been looking forward to it for weeks. Goodness, I had missed him and couldn't wait to see him; hoping we might talk now, seriously, about what *this* is and see that we're on the same page. And just to spend time with him, face to face, figuring out who this man is who has slipped so quietly into my life but so solidly so that it's hard to imagine my days without him in them now...
But that day... I felt a bit disappointed. It was a beautiful day. We met up at London Bridge station and hugged hello and then... I felt awkward. So much had passed between us in communication since we last saw one another in June, we'd both shared many a time how we felt about one another, yet we were still there, standing before one another not sure what to say. Hehe. Oh, the awkwardness. It's kind of cute, really.
We made our way over to Greenwich University on the DLR to visit his old campus. Very impressive! They were filming the new Pirates of the Carribean movie there so much of it was blocked off but we wandered where we could and I loved seeing this bit of his history (well, let's face it, it was a beautiful old university and I love that sort of thing enough as it is :)). I hope I never lose my wonder at the beauty of these masterful old buildings Europe constantly presents to me.
|University of Greenwich from the Thames|
|The stunning University of Greenwich in London, my man's alma mater!|
Then we walked up to Greenwich Park and all along I wondered if we would hold hands or... anything. It confused me a little that we could talk as we do, so deeply, so daily, and with so much intention, and then get together and act like... none of that had happened, in a way. We spoke now rather shallowly, joking back and forth, talking as people who are involved in one anther's everyday lives do, but... we avoided anything "us"-ish. Which annoyed me because that's what I wanted us to talk about most! As if... if only we were to speak about it all, sort out what exactly we are, then I would know how I can behave with him, what I can consider us and my relationship to him, and so know how to treat him. Hmm. Instead, I walked along in a puzzle.
|Standing across from one another on the Prime Meridian|
I love the easy joking back and forth. But I distinctly missed the depth. And so then of course I started to worry that maybe we weren't as well-suited as we seemed to think... Hmm. Just go with the flow, Leah! Spend a bit of time just enjoying it ;)
We wandered back down the hill to Greenwich and found a lovely little Indian place for supper, sitting across from one another like a real date, but nervously not being romantic at all. Oh dear :) As he prayed over the meal all I could think was what a pleasant voice he has, with that gorgeous accent as well. hehe. A darling little child came over to my chair and said bye-bye in the cutest British accent when we left, and I hoped my own kids might someday speak with such an accent :) Oh my!
We meandered down to a walk along the Thames. We have a good track record with the Thames :) Tonight was no different. The sun was setting above it and set the sky afire with hues of pink and gold from a masterful Artist's hand. We sat on a bench and watched it fade into darkness as we talked. There were times of silence, as there had been all day. Usually I don't mind silence, but today it made me nervous. I think because I felt like we really had so much that needed discussing and neither of us were quick to bring it up...
|The sunset that evening as we sat along the Thames|
He started to get very cold as the night settled in around us and... I don't know how it happened in me, really, when I was so shy, nervous, unsure, but I asked, though it was obvious, "Are you really cold?" And when he said yes, I just went, "Right, then I'm going to sit closer to you" and, *gasp*, I moved close enough so we were touching! hehehe. Our own awkwardness makes me laugh :) But he's always saying lovely things to me when we're apart about how he just wishes he could hold me. So... I thought surely he wouldn't mind... He did go a bit silent at this point. Haha. But conversation picked back up. And then when he was still obviously very cold, I threw all caution to the wind (ha!) and snuggled into him properly, my arms thread through his one on my side and my head on his shoulder. He leaned his head on mine. And we sat there like that, chatting that way, so cozy in the night, for ages. I remember thinking to myself, "I should remember this moment" and memorizing the pattern of the light thrown from the victorian street lamp above us on the wet cobblestone before us, the white of my hands against the black of his sleeve, the way his voice sounded with my ear pressed to his shoulder... I recognize that regardless where we decide to take this from here, He is a significant man in my life now. These are significant moments.
He walked me back to my train and we hugged goodbye in a hurry. He called me precious. He always writes to me as precious.
Then off I went to finish up my trip to England, but I had to go back through London on my way to the airport 2 days later, so we made plans to meet on his lunch break.
So on Wednesday when I got into London, I made my way down to Canary Wharf on the Underground and found my way to the rather legendary building where he works-- the tallest in the UK and distinctive in the London skyline (update: This is no longer true! There was a new London skyscraper built since the time of writing this and it now holds the record :)). He came down straight away and we went to Starbucks, sat across from one another, and caught up on the last few days. Somehow this time around it was so much easier, less awkward. Every little bit of face-to-face time helps :) Apparently his new job is awesome and he's pretty free to do as he likes between projects (he's a web-developer), so at one point he went upstairs to check on things, and then he just came right back down to me (saying that he'd been missing me for 20 minutes. Haha :)) and we went to grab some lunch before I had to head back to Victoria. He got us French Crepes and we sat at a table by the water in the sunshine in the middle of the intimidating financial district of London, eating, talking, enjoying.
When we finished, he went to dispose of everything and then sat back down across from me at the table when, all of a sudden, as if on impulse, he stood, took his chair, and announced, like I had on Sunday night, "I'm going to sit closer to you with the few minutes we have left." He placed his chair next to mine and then wrapped his arms around me, so I was leaning back into him, like it was the most natural thing in the world :) We watched the boats go by and though I felt conflicted about the fact that we still hadn't discussed what we were to one another, I didn't want the cuddle to end... We had exactly 7 minutes. Hehe. Then we were hugging goodbye, and my courage went so far as to say, "When you come to Sweden in November, we need to talk..." hoping he'd just somehow know what I meant. He said, "Yes"... Somehow, I need this talk before I can let go and treat him like I'd want to treat the guy I'm with. I need to draw these lines saying, "Yes, we're together" before I can naturally behave like we're together, talk like we're together, treat him like he's mine and I'm his. At the moment it's such a weird tension of being sort of in and sort of out...
But there we have it. The unfolding drama of learning how to let go and let myself be loved. The Lord is so gracious with me. This man has the most tender heart. He seemingly views me through eyes which look and see only treasure. It doesn't add up to me and makes me feel insecure even while feeling precious. But again and again as I seek the Lord about it all, I feel Him speaking to my soul somehow, "But this is how I look at you. This is what my love looks like, Leah." And somehow Charles has become a part of His healing for me, regardless of how it all plays out.
But somehow, despite all the things I think we need to talk about and consider before we decide what we are, more and more the doubts get lost in reassurance. His heart is so good. So beyond anything I could ever deserve. And that is the most important factor...
So, we'll wait some more (we've been on this journey for 13 months now) and just see what He does as we continue to communicate, how He moves us as we have this significant talk when he visits in November. And in the meantime... I will be cherished, and though it rubs a little like a brand new shoe now, I think maybe it might feel more comfortable, this being cherished-business, as I walk in it a while...
"Dating is risky. Getting close to someone can be terrifying without the rituals of courtship or the fleeting comforts of casual sex. Healthy intimacy involves living in the tension of authenticity and uncertainty. Being honest and open with no guarantee of a positive outcome is intimidating and sometimes crazy-making. It's easy to get hurt. That’s the sort of risk healthy dating involves. Courtship rituals reduce ambivalence and uncertainty. Cheap sex does the same thing. Dating requires courage. It means trusting God not to drag you toward a mate, but to keep you anchored to your First Love during the journey... " -- Stephen W. Simpson, Ph.D.
And here we are, nearly 2 years later and God is still teaching us every day about loving well and being loved well. It is a harder journey than I think we expected, but a more beautiful one too.
... And I cannot wait for that handsome man to step off the airport bus tonight!
... And I cannot wait for that handsome man to step off the airport bus tonight!
|The last time Charles was in Sweden|