I chose my "story tellers" quite randomly.......Tabitha is a friend of mine from my days of working at Faith Mission Home. I really knew very little about her "how we met" story but knew that she's had some experience in editing and therefore might possibly be ok with writing a story for me :) I'm so glad I did! I've taken the liberty to share her story by chapters, so here you go with the first installment.........
Peter and Tabitha (Beachy) Schmidt
At the turn of the century, in 2000, I was living in the lovely mountains of Virginia, on my second year as Girls' Training Supervisor at Faith Mission Home and loving it. I had a fulfilling job, plenty of social life on and off duty, and enough seniority to be able skip some of the myriad evening activities when I wanted. I was part of an amazing chorus committee, worked with a superb team of "office girls," as we called ourselves, and had dozens of meaningful friendships both with staff and others scattered abroad.
Life was really, really good. I was a happy, content 29-year-old. I dreamed of being married, yes. Sometimes I faced private disappointments (at least, I hoped they were private!) when yet another man I hadn't been able to help noticing started dating someone else. As a single, one of the hardest things to face was the fear that I was still unmarried because I was deeply flawed in some way.
(As a married woman, one of my biggest fears is still of being so deeply flawed that I can never be the wife or mother or friend I should be. I have learned it is not a fear unique to singlehood.)
One September day I entered the mailroom, where most of us gathered before lunch break to check for mail. (This was way back in the day, before FMH had email.) This day I found an envelope in my mailbox, minus a return address, addressed in unfamiliar handwriting. "Well!" I declared to the mailroom in general, "this looks interesting!" and sat down right there to read my intriguing letter. As I opened the envelope, I noticed another envelope inside, addressed to the sender. And I knew, without a doubt, that this letter was not to be read in the mailroom, surrounded by staff with a keen interest in each other's love lives or potential romances. I glanced carefully around the room and realized with relief that no one was paying me any attention. I fled.
In the safety of my office, I closed the door and sat at my desk, missive in hand. Funny. My heart is pounding right now, just remembering.
The letter was from a gentleman in Canada, named Peter Schmidt. I knew him slightly. He had worked at FMH in 1994, right after my first term ended. I met him when I went back to visit my sister and friends, and we had seen each other several times since then. The last time I had seen him was in June, when he came for the "big" reunion held at the Home every three years. A group of us former and present staff from the same era got together one evening during the reunion, reminiscing and catching up . Peter and I had been the only unattached ones there, but beyond serving him a glass of water (with a smile, he says), we hadn't talked at all.
In his letter, Peter asked if I would be interested in starting a relationship with him. This wasn't a whim of his -- he'd given it much thought and prayer.
------------------------- And there you can hang in suspense until next time! :)