Thursday, February 16th, 2006
Alone in my upstairs “apartment” that mom and dad so graciously gave up for the girls and me. I made it through my first Valentine’s Day as a single woman (first in 14 years of marriage) without too much drama. But, I worked, I had to go downtown to appear in court for a speeding ticket, I hung out with the girls, I kept busy. Here it was two days later, off work for the day, alone in my parents’ house, girls at school…bored. The reality of my first Valentine’s Day alone – hit.
My divorce had been final for a month and twelve days. Single. I wanted to talk to someone. I wanted a fresh, interested ear.
My little laptop had been my new best friend. Way before Facebook was on my radar. It had been the portal to the world that helped me escape, helped me find a good job, helped me cope. This day, that little laptop became an instrument of divine intervention for me. I wanted to talk to someone, but I wasn’t gonna be caught dead in one of those icky chat rooms! I Googled “Christian chat.”
What I got: www.christianmingle.com
A Christian dating site. Well, alrighty then. I wasn’t about to go online and meet a man that way. I mean, that had been the catalyst for the destruction of my marriage. Heck if that was going to be how I met someone! But, as I read through the info, it presented itself as a social media outlet, as well as a dating site. On the home page, a special. Free seven-day trial membership for women. What did I have to lose?
I filled out the forms, uploaded a pic, took the personality quiz. What else did I have to do? Where else did I have to be? I was online for only a few minutes, drilling down through menus, looking through the cast of “Christian” characters who were available in the Memphis Area. Frankly, a very narrow search. Most of them looked like serial killers, or just really lonely divorcees. And, somewhere around 10 minutes in…an email.
Subject: If it weren’t 800+ miles….
An email from Charlie. My first and last contact with a man on Christian Mingle. I read through his email, chuckling at his comments about my profile (I mentioned something about “soaking it up in a hot-tub with my soul-mate” – a Napoleon Dynamite reference), and also heartened that what I found important, was what led him to email me. I put it very plainly in my profile…that I had two daughters, and that “if you were lucky, and if we happen to be dating for more than six months, you MIGHT get to meet them.” I had watched too many times, children in this situation, having been introduced to a parade of “dates” go in and out of their lives. I was not about to do that to my sweet little Moey and Brady-Lady.
This impressed him. He began his email with, “Just an innocent hello from a guy too far away.” I couldn’t click on his profile button fast enough. So afraid of what I would find, so afraid he would be 60 years old with an overgrown mustache. But, whoa. That is SO not what I found. My heart went into immediate tachycardia. Thought it would beat out of my chest. Why is this dude emailing ME? Something MUST be wrong with him.
Three days later, after HOURS of instant messaging, I finally gave in and gave him my cell phone number. I thought I had lost my mind. Boy, I thought, I sure hope this guy isn’t a serial killer. We were snowed in that weekend, my girls were with their dad, my grandmother was staying with my parents, and Charlie and I talked on the phone the WHOLE day that Saturday….like, seriously, TEN HOURS.
Afraid of what my parents and grandmother might think, I lied. I lied and told them I met him at the bank. That he was out of town and was a customer. I had to tell them something. They could tell something was up. I prepared myself for the “be careful, Kim” or the “isn’t it kinda soon?” or the “Virginia?!?!?!” Instead? Instead, I slowly opened my laptop up, said a prayer under my breath, and shared with my mom and grandmother his picture and profile.
Silence. Then, my mother, “Virginia is a beautiful state.”
It sounds absolutely crazy. And, looking back, it was. But, I actually had the nerve to tell my mom THAT day (three days after meeting him!), “I know you’re going to think I’m nuts, but, I have a feeling way down in my gut…I’m going to marry this guy. And, I don’t know a THING about him!” Instead of smacking me back into reality, she just replied, “Wow, Kim. That’s huge.”
I cannot tell you what it was. I really can’t. I was incredibly attracted to his picture, but who knew what he looked like in person? When would I ever meet him in person? How would this work? What the heck? God’s divine grace, His divine wisdom, His divine guidance. That’s how. There is no other way to explain how Charlie and I came to know each other – except for the fact that God is in control. If you ever doubted it, call me. How would I have ever met him otherwise? Six months before we met, neither of us would have even looked at the other. God’s timing, God’s wisdom, God’s love….became our love.
Happy Two-Days-After-Valentine’s Day, Charlie. You are my world. You are my love. You are my best friend. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving my girls. Thank you for Peanut. Thank you for sharing your seriously strong dance moves with us. Thank you for listening to God, and sweeping me off my feet. Riding into the sunset with you for the past four years has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.