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How We Met
I don't remember how old I was when I first met Craig. Our parents have been family friends for as long as I can remember, as our mothers had worked and roomed together while in service. I do remember taking a trip "out west" over my 16th birthday, and an evening meal at Craig's family's home. That, I suppose, was when we officially "met".
Years passed. After four years in Kenya with my family, I was ready for something new! At age 21 I left home and traveled to a far away state called Kansas, to teach school. I had a few friends there, but it was a new community and church for me. After a few months, and many good times of hanging out with the local youth, I noticed Craig. He was cool. I liked him! But there is something about being four years older than this guy, when you are 21, and he is 17, that just doesn't make sense. So I talked myself out of it, and instead we became very good friends!
I lived there for a year, went back to Kenya for two years, then came back to Kansas to teach school again. Through these years, Craig was a fantastic friend. We hung out in the same groups. We liked the same activities. We shared a wry, crazy sense of humor. What's more--we liked each other! But not in any romantic way. More in a fun, completely wholesome, sort of way. Craig loved to tease me unmercifully. I spit back and tried to retaliate the best I could. We enjoyed long discussions in small groups on many varied subjects. We met in the same prayer group every Sunday morning. Through these years, one thing stands out to me. Craig treated me, always, with utmost respect. The result was a solid, clean friendship built on mutual trust and completely free from any regrets. It was good :)
I believe it was while Craig was on a four month stint in Liberia, that things, for me, began to change. I can't tell you why, but I began simply feeling a romantic attraction. I missed him terribly. Thing escalated in my heart until I finally wrote my dad and told him how I felt. He gave me understanding, calming advice to sit still and see what happens.
Craig came back. I was so excited to hang out with him again! But things were different. Very different. What had happened?! I watched our easy, comfortable, calm friendship melt away in the distance. In it's place? I had no idea what was going on. He seemed to be avoiding me! I missed hanging out with him. But was scared to death of him at the same time. This friendship was far to valuable to lose or ruin in any way. Yet, things were simply not the same any more.
I could write for hours. :) But I will spare you the myriad of strange, shocking, wild, delightful, and ultimately beyond amazing, pieces of the puzzle. In short, as I found out later,Craig finally quit trying to hide his attraction to me, and chased me hard. And terrified, I ran. I know, that doesn't make much sense. But then, are women supposed to make sense? Especially where the heart is concerned?
In the end, God turned my heart, and I allowed this finest of friendships to turn into a romance that is still the most living and incredible part of my life.
You could say we met slowly.
And that, my friends, was how it began.
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Thank you, Rachel! God bless you as you go about your days as wife and mother!!