Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Love Story

This is the story of me and Jim as I told it almost 10 years ago. It was written to the families and staff at the Spiritus Sanctus Academies in Ann Arbor Michigan where I worked when we met. The website SCOL is now called Ave Maria Singles.  

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As many of you know, I am leaving at the end of this week for California where I will be married to Jim Kennedy on May 26 at St. Dominic’s parish in Benicia. Jim and I met this past summer on a wonderful website called Single Catholics On Line (SCOL). Though an unconventional way of meeting, our relationship has been the old fashioned sort, and, as many have apparently seen in my face, a source of great joy to me. I believe Jim is God’s gift to me and I look forward to our life together in California, where I will be near my family once again. Even so, I leave Spiritus Sanctus with great sorrow in my heart. I will miss the staff and families of SSA very much. It is impossible to replace such a wonderful community as this one! Before I leave, I wanted to share with you our story as it will be published in the Single Catholics magazine coming out this Spring.

At Last

I used to tell people that I have wanted to be married since I was three years old. In fact, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a wife and mother. Though I didn’t date much until college, I have had several semi-serious relationships. But, there was always something that just didn’t seem right. Often I didn’t see it until later, but it was there. I know God was preserving me from making a mistake by letting the man see it first in some cases.

I had the blessing of sharing this struggle with my brother. He and I are close in age and had been longing for marriage for a long time. We would encourage each other and lament together. Mike has a theory about dating. He figures that if you are really serious about marriage you ought to “cross-train”—in other words, explore as many options for meeting good Catholics as are available to you. Single Catholics was to be one of those options for me. Though I had been living with strong Catholic community around me for several years, so far I hadn’t met “the one”, if such a one in fact existed. So, in January of 1999, I joined SCOL.

In August of 2000 I had been on SCOL for a year and a half and I was beginning to lose interest (and hope). I seldom wrote to people, I just felt like the man should pursue. And the few times I wrote to someone, it didn’t develop into anything. I would occasionally search the new faces, but nothing would really come of it. Then, one day I searched with some different categories, and I found Jim. At first glance, his profile wasn’t exactly what I thought I was looking for (I had become a “profile snob”, if you didn’t have the right movie or music down, I wrote you off). But, something about him attracted me. He seemed like a regular guy, but also an intellectual. I asked a friend to look at the profile and see what she thought. She said “Write to him! He says he sees nothing wrong with having a beer in one hand and an encyclical in the other. That sounds like great balance and just what you want!”

But, I still had my objection to writing to someone. I thought “Maybe he would write to me. It never works when I write to them.” Then, the obvious hit me like a brick. It never works when THEY write to me either, at least it hasn’t yet. I figured “Why not write?”

So, I wrote, thinking nothing would happen with this one, after all, it never has. But, lo and behold, he wrote back. Our original e-mails were a bit intellectual, we just talked about the Faith (a good topic of discussion! But I wanted more). Then, he asked me about baseball, and we began to have fun.

Pretty soon, he was suggesting that we talk on the phone. From the first moment I heard his voice I liked him. We talked comfortably and easily for three hours that day. Many long conversations followed until he suggested we meet. We were planning to go to a baseball game and discuss the evils of contraception, but the season ended too soon for our schedules. So, we settled for a weekend hanging around my town.

The first meeting was a very unique experience. By that time we had become friends over the phone, sharing a level of intimacy that allowed him to just say “Hi” when I answered the phone, rather than telling me who he was. However, I had only seen that one picture of him. Though I recognized him easily when he got off the plane, he was a virtual stranger. The face, the mannerisms, the expressions were all new. Though the voice was the same, the guy on the phone and the guy in front of me were not quite one in my head yet. As one friend put it, I felt as if I were cheating on the “phone guy”. Slowly but surely the two men, the phone guy and the one in front of me, merged into one person-Jim.

That first weekend was great! We spent time alone and time with friends. We walked and talked, drove and talked, sat and talked and ate and talked. By the time we went to the airport on Sunday, I was thinking “this just might be IT this time”. We were very open about the fact that this whole meeting was about determining if we were meant to be husband and wife. The e-mails and phone calls had told us that we had a good friendship foundation and communicated well with each other. That first meeting told us we were attracted to each other and that the friendship was just as good in person as it was over the phone. Now, we only needed to get in some good time together and see if we could make a marriage out of this.

It sounds so calculated, but it was really a lot of fun. We were excited to see each other again and planned three visits in the month of November, one of which was six days long! We figured if we were still excited to be with each other after that month, it would tell us a lot. Well needless to say, the month of November was wonderful. The only bad part was saying good-bye at the airport. We both began to long for the days when we wouldn’t have to leave each other at airports.

I don’t know when exactly it happened, whether it was the weekend in California, or the trip to Chicago, but somewhere along the line “if we get married” became “when we get married”. It was then that we knew he needed to meet and get to know my family. He knew I couldn’t say “yes” without my father’s blessing. I know and trust my parents’ judgment. I wanted the security of knowing that they saw the same wonderful things in Jim that I did. And I wanted them to be comfortable with me marrying this man that I met on the Internet and have only known for a few months.

Jim spent Christmas with my family in California and had a good old-fashioned “what are your intentions” talk with my father. He was also able to ask my father’s permission to marry me. It was happily granted as my father and mother saw Jim as I hoped they would.

At last…one hundred and thirty one days after that first e-mail, on the Feast of the Holy Family, at the Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Santa Clara, Jim asked me to be his wife. I accepted with joy. Though the distance remains a cross for both of us, it is certainly one worth bearing. I can’t imagine the rest of my life without Jim, and he feels exactly the same way. We only wish we could have met 15 years ago…by now we could have ten children!
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 I can't believe that we will be married 10 years in May! Time has just flown by. We are blessed beyond belief. God has give us six souls in heaven and three here on earth. He has provided us health, and home, and friends and family. And, most of all, He has given us each other. 
Happy Valentine's Day to the Love of my Life and my best friend!

1 comment:

  1. This is such a beautiful love story. Wow. Absolutely amazing and beautiful; adventurous and courageous. Happy Valentine's Day!

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