It is impossible to calculate the number of hours spent waiting, longing, hoping, and dreaming of the day when love would walk up to me and take your hand. I have imagined many scenarios in which I find that person before whom I melt and to whom I am a hero. I have written poems of tribute to a nameless, faceless, person whom I hoped would not tarry this long. I have even, at times, put down as lost the hope that seemed so haggard.
It seems like only yesterday I wrote of that “longing like starvation” and reminded myself—and those who would listen—that “time is not my enemy and waiting is not punishment.” I said this because within me beats a heart like all other hearts, trained in a world that associates doing good with reward. It seemed to me, as well as to many others, that I was doing good, and quite honestly—I wanted my reward.
The delay felt like punishment and each day felt like extended animosity.
It seems like only yesterday that I made my confession of longing and admitted that come what may my life was given to the Lord who called me to Himself. It is only proper that, despite our longing and hope we keep a proper perspective on all that we do have and what is promised after all this passes away. I cannot help but share the pain and sorrow felt by each single who cannot seem to answer the questions asked by well meaning friends and family, “Why are you still single?” And it makes me wonder if they can answer with any confidence, to my liking, why they are married.
It was in the midst of processing and writing about singleness that I encountered the one for whom my heart has longed. It seemed I had always known her—but not by name. I had always loved her—but from afar.
I was not a lost ship near the rocks rescued by a blazing lighthouse.
This is fantasy and dream but not real.
I was neither drowning in despair nor rescue from a pit.
This is fantasy and dream not real.
Our eyes did not meet across a crowded room and the earth did not move beneath me.
This is fantasy and dream not real.
But in tending to the heart of a dear friend whom I had adored loved was birthed.
This is real. It is neither fantasy nor dream.
The expected has arrived and she has a face with eyes that see me for me.
My expected has arrived—but I did not expect her.
In many ways I feel a vindication of all I have written. I have waited—thought not perfect in my patience. I have trusted, though often plagued by doubts. I have acted, though sometimes foolishly. In all this what I did best was love and love a friend well. Not necessarily a perfect formula for finding a mate—not a formula at all.
I believe, without getting mystical, that much of the why is a mystery. I do not accept “credit” for our coming together and yet, had I been less of a man, less Godly, less confident in the Lord—things would have been different. I cannot possibly understand all the reasons we are together but there were some clues I do think are worth sharing.
With all that I have written I still believe that whether or not love’s flower had bloomed from this soil it would have been well worth tending. I mean that my care for her heart was with the full acceptance that nothing would come beyond friendship. In this though, was a deep respect for the woman. I did then and do now hold no woman in greater esteem.
What drew me to her was her bold conviction to follow the Lord to the ends of the earth for the sake of the Gospel. What drew her to me was my own bold commitment to follow the Lord wherever He called me without reserve. Both of us put our mutual feelings on hold because we felt called to different posts.
We have come together by the grace of God to lift up His name throughout the world. We hope that our lives as well as our words will be a testimony to both believers and non-believers to wait patiently on the Lord. We hope that, in marriage, we can exemplify the lessons learned during the years of long denial—the years of prolonged singleness.
I will be honest; there is some sorrow in me, some guilt perhaps. I am sad that so many people who have prayed and desired for me to be married and at my blessing—they are still single. So many of you have written with kind words and convictions that I would be blessed—and soon. I often smiled longing to share my new secret. You were right. I was blessed and sooner than I thought. Thank you.
I have sorrow because I have the sense that I am leaving someone behind.
I have a deep desire to help each of you find your expected. And yet, I could not have manufactured my own story. I cannot imagine what I would do to help you other than the continued encouragement to trust and obey, to wait and to live a life that is, even now, honoring to Him and full of praise.
I tell you all this because I feel as though I have let you into my heart of longing and it is only fitting that I share with you that my expected has arrived. I have opened my heart and told you of the pain this longing has brought so I feel obligated to share my joy.