… and with that, my wedding day! October 9th is indeed the second anniversary of the appearance of Out Of The Blue, first titled “Today I Blog, tomorrow I Sleep.” Back then, my posts reflected a sense of out-of-placement, being unemployed, widowed, and seeking serenity.
One of the vehicles that came to help me heal and realize how much I am contributing to my world was the singles conferences at the Word of Life Inn in Schroon Lake, New York (USA.) Here, in a resort-like atmosphere, was the Word of God presented through various speakers throughout a weekend that was also time for fellowship and play. I blogged about these conferences (see the Archives sidebar) and slowly came to realizing what a plan God had for my life. I met a lot of people through the weekends in January and October since 2002, but on a cold January 30th this year, one person I met changed my life.
She walked into the Conference Center, across the wide expanse under the chandelier and toward the back door when I noticed her. She caught my eye, but there was something else, something in the way she moved, a confidence or assurance. I abruptly left my friend Steve on the couch where we were talking, and rose to introduce myself.
“Hello,” I think I said, fumbling for a second before telling her my name. “My name is Marisa” she said, and smiled. I noticed her eyes for the first time, which seemed to light up when she smiled. There was a trace of an accent which, at first, I couldn’t recognize. But it made her sound so charming, I began thinking of her, to the exclusion of much else.
Later, she was sitting on a couch in the conference center, and I interrupted her reading to ask what she was reading. I heard her voice again, and now hoped I wasn’t intruding, but she said I wasn’t. We talked briefly, then I was off again to so whatever was supposed to be more important than sitting with Marisa.
That evening, the “gang” that has been mentioned in previous posts about the singles conferences commanded a large table and we all walked over to sit down. Marisa was in line, and I asked her if she would like to sit with us. When everybody sat down, there was one person between us. The conversations were light, and I tried to talk with Marisa and noticed the way she laughed. Near the end of the meal, some of us discussed going to a snow sculpting contest the next day. I asked Marisa if she would like to go, and she did. The rest of the evening was busy, but I didn’t see much of Marisa.
Saturday dawned bright and very cold. We had breakfast and got to the seminars that morning, then had a break in the cafe between sessions. I found Marisa and a friend of hers, and we talked about relationships. I told them that I found women that were younger than I somewhat different, as if they came from a completely different generation. And that I didn’t think a long distance relationship would work for me. Back to the sessions, then we bundled up for the display of sculpted snow. I drove, Marisa sat in the back with two others of my friends and another in the front. The contest was very interesting, objects d’art created out of ten-foot high snow cubes. When it was time for group pictures, Marisa came beside me, and when I put my arm around her waist in a group-type pose, I noticed that she pulled me a bit closer to her. Later, we gathered in a cafe, and the first picture of the two of us was taken.
Supper that night was at the big table again, but this time Marisa was beside me. The evening entertainment was several contests, including a limbo contest and talent contest. I manned the video tape recorder, and noticed that Marisa was at a table with several other men. I did feel a bit put out, but asked God to clarify how I was beginning to feel about her. I did the rest of the video, and when I looked for her, she was gone.
I didn’t sleep very much that night, and at 5:30 in the morning, I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep, thinking only of Marisa. I guess that was my first clue that how I felt was deepening. I wanted to call her and ask her to breakfast. I walked to-and-fro, until 8 am. I called, she answered, and accepted my invitation. We walked over a half hour later, and sat down at a table for two, seemingly oblivious to the large table of friends behind us.
We went to chapel, and sat together. It seemed so perfectly natural to have her next to me, and share my Bible and song book. I could not stop thinking of her and how she made me feel. We had dinner, and it was time to part. She took the train to the conference and already had a ride, and I had a partner to drive home with. We found each other at her room, and hugged and each privately wondering if we’d ever see each other again. We parted.
When I got home, I emailed her and told her of the ride home. She was very glad to hear from me, and we began a thrice-weekly correspondence. Soon, messages began to go every day, and them we began talking on the telephone. The similarity of the things we liked, the temperament of each other, the favorite things were so much alike. We found that we were so much alike, it was unbelievable. She was as kind, caring and compassionate as I. And she had an interest in counseling. Finally, on a Friday in February, we met at her house, and spent a shortened day together. Short because she lived two and three-quarter hours away, and I had Andy to come back to at a reasonable hour so he could get to bed on time. That first day was a confirmation of what I was feeling, and it was completely mutual. Our phone calls grew longer as we discovered more about ourselves. It wasn’t until April that we saw each other again, and again for a shortened day.
Marisa and I tried to see each other every two or three weeks, but the logistics were hard sometimes as I had commitments that prestaged a day away. But the knowledge within me was that I was falling in love with her and she with me. I knew that I wanted her to be my wife. So, on May 29, I proposed, and gave her a diamond ring at a beautiful and romantic restaurant in New York. We talked about a wedding this year, and in later weeks, in October. Fast forward…
Marisa moved up here in August, around the time Hurricane Charley was pushing up the East Coast. We found an apartment for her for two months, which was a gift from God, as the tenants that wanted the apartment also couldn’t move in until October, right after our wedding. She spent each day with me and Andy, and we both saw some of Andy’s transition moods, with the sale of the house and the move. And we also saw our love grow more and more each day, knowing that so many doors have opened for us to be married. In particular, the blessing of my in-law family, indeed embracing Marisa, has been wonderful. And in the planning of the wedding, we got a top-notch inn with a superb chef and venue just two months before the date; and the place had been booked solid through 2005. Our pastors were available, the church in Connecticut available, and now all the plans were set for a lifetime together.
Yesterday, we picked up the flowers from my friend Brian (who did a superb job on them!) and delivered them to the Inn, then went to the church to decorate. One more stop, the bakery where our wedding cake was baked, and the owner treated us to two cappuchinos. She told us that we looked so relaxed, that it seemed like we have been married for a while already. That was a great compliment to us, both from the standpoint of not being really nervous about tomorrow, and a tribute to all the time Marisa and I spent talking to and about each other without spending so much physical time together.
And today, at 11 am, we will say the vows that honor the covenant of marriage in God’s eyes. A lifetime of unconditional love, trust, honor, and caring. I am honored to have Marisa as my wife, and to begin that wonderful lifetime together.
Thank you all to my readers also for your support and comments! We’ll be back after the honeymoon!