Thursday, September 27, 2012

Letters, Lightsabers, and Love: Chapter 4

Levi and I married each other in June of 2012 after only six months of head-over-heels, foolish-about-each-other love. Our story, like every love story, has its own unique and sweet moments and timings. We continue to marvel at the way God orchestrated our lives to bring us together, and though it included pain and trials for both of us, we wouldn't change anything about it.

Everything that happened and every way that we grew led us to this moment.

The waiting is finally over, and the juicy stuff begins now in Chapter 4...


Chapter 4: E-mail Numero Uno

As I clicked on the link to eHarmony to see what Levi had written me, my heart began racing. A real message. From a guy who was actually willing to write me long paragraphs. A little later than I thought I might get it, but who was I to judge? Maybe he'd had important things to do....

When I got to the site, there was that little icon in the middle of my screen saying that Levi had looked at my profile. And there he was looking sweet and just a tiny bit smirky.

I opened up his message.

An e-mail! A real e-mail! Not a quick paragraph saying hi. Not a message telling me he thought I was hot and wanted to text me (I'd gotten quite a few of those, and can you say ew?). A real message with a sweet mix of pleasantries and deeper thoughts. He even told me why he'd waited so long to write to me (Christmas with his family) and apologized for not being able to write back sooner.

We found out later when comparing stories that my first e-mail just barely missed him. He was really excited about this girl he'd been communicating with from Kansas because he thought she was pretty and sensible. His plans for Christmas were to go out to a National Park and camp with his family, so checking his e-mail just wasn't going to be feasible, but he had to wait for me to e-mail him. He had his e-mail open the whole afternoon before he had to go to the airport, and kept hitting refresh every few minutes, but no e-mail arrived. He even let himself be 20 minutes late to leave to double-check one more time, but nothing arrived. Turns out that about half an hour after he left his apartment for Christmas I hit the send button on my first e-mail. And because I took my time on that first message, I ended up with the much needed week of solitude.

His e-mail began, "Hi, Mary Beth! I hope you hadn't given up on me writing back." I smiled. I hadn't given up on him writing me back, but that's because I'd forgotten about him! He told me a little bit about himself, including what brought him to Minnesota, where he was originally from, and what he did for fun.

I found out he hates rock climbing (to which I thought, "Yay!") but he loves hiking around and backpacking (to which I thought, "Yay!"). I found out that he's goofy and sweet enough to use smiley faces a lot in his writing which told me he wasn't caught up in being "macho." I found out that he had spent extensive time in another culture (lived with his missionary parents in Papua New Guinea for 7 years) and that he enjoyed the bass. I found out (by his own admission) that his Texas drawl is very thick, which made me curious to hear it. He also told me a personal and difficult thing that could have been a potential dealbreaker for many women, but his forthright attitude, his desire to be transparent early on, and some recent difficulties in my own life made me willing to listen.

As I finished the e-mail I scanned it one more time, bouncing slightly on my bed and clapping my hands. I mean, it was only one e-mail, but he just seemed so genuine, sweet, and honest. And he had perfect grammar! Yay!

Then it was time to think. Do I write him back now, or do I wait? Do I let on that I'm eager to get to know him, or do I play it cool.

And then it was time to smack myself on the forehead. I mean, really, Mary Beth? Wasn't I too old for those games? I'd made it pretty clear that I was taking this eHarmony thing seriously, so if that was going to scare Levi away we wouldn't have been e-mailing.

I decided to write him back right away.

I grabbed my laptop and plopped myself down on my parents' couch, fished through their DVR for an episode of Doctor Who, and began thinking out my response to him.

As I was writing my mom walked past and said, "Sounds like someone's got a lot to write."

I muttered an, "Mmm hmm," under my breath as I tried to figure out how to start revealing to this man that he was about to start talking to a massive nerd (in case you didn't already pick that up by the fact that I'd popped on an episode of Doctor Who).

Realizing she wasn't getting much of a response, my mom continued, "So, what are you writing, then?"

"Oh," I said offhandedly, "just an e-mail to a friend." I wasn't quite ready to tell them about my new pen-pal. They didn't even know I was on eHarmony. Though the ball of excitement in my stomach was pulsing with what felt like radioactive strength, I wasn't about to get overly carried away and blurt it out yet when I didn't even know what "it" was yet.

"Well, you better finish up soon. We're headed out in ten minutes."

In those ten minutes I jammed in as much information as I could while trying to sound like myself. Not cool or aloof or businesslike, but just me. I ended my e-mail by telling Levi that while things in life are hard and there are things I don't believe in, what he'd told me was not a dealbreaker.

I pressed "Send" with a fresh bit of hope in my heart, and headed out with my parents into the crisp, winter evening.


Oh, man, is it getting good or what?! If you've ever written back and forth to someone, you'll know the feeling I'm describing. In the next chapter I'll do my best to convey the excitement of opening up my e-mail each day to see a new letter from someone I really liked. And the incredible snowball effect our correspondence began to have....

Next Chapter (Chapter 5: Groundwork)     Previous Chapter (Chapter 4: The Week that Made the Difference)

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