*This is a continuation of a prior post. If you would like to read this meaty story from the begining, please click on the following link below*
Wonderwall I (A Catholic Love Story Told In A Not So Catholic Way)
3. A Leap Of Faith:
After our third date, we wouldn’t see each other in person again for an entire month. Her schedule would get crazy, and she would travel out to Oregon for a week to snowboard. During that week she was gone, I missed her like crazy. I had only seen her a few times in the last two months, and yet I missed her as if I had known her forever. I would go to Dave and Busters later in the week to play DDR, and would be reminded of our second date. I was a nervous wreck because she wore a really nice skirt, and she looked super pretty. She mopped the floor with me in every game we played. Seeing the sites, and sounds made me miss her that much more. I hadn’t had this yearning in my heart for anyone in years. It was a scary, yet exciting feeling.
While praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I had this feeling that a relationship was on the horizon. I became scared; if marriage was a thing, I didn’t know jack shit about being a good husband, and God willing a good father. My dad never really built me up as a man, and treated me like some naive fool. Here I am, on the precipice of something that looked like it could turn into a marriage, and I still didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. I would talk to a priest to told me to look to The Holy Family for guidance. For those who live under a rock, or are just not Christian, The Holy Family is Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. St Joseph was a saint who I would realize later had been with me since my birth. During one of my conversations with my now wife to be, she mentioned that she prayed to him every now and then. I decided to pray to him to bring us together. They say to be careful for what you ask for. I wanted what I was asking for, I just didn’t expect to get it the way I was about to.
A week later, we would go out on our fourth date. During the day leading up to that meeting, I was super anxious. I knew that this date would be a big one. My first client visit of the day consisted of a furniture delivery While delivering equipment, I passed by a small statue in the hallway of an apartment complex, but I didn’t pay any mind to it. While in the apartment setting up the desk and a brand new computer, I could feel my heart racing in anxiety for later in that day. While scrolling through my phone, I stumbled upon a simple prayer in times of great need.
“Mary, please be a mother to me now”.
My anxiety slowly went away as the meeting progressed. When I left the apartment, I headed back towards the elevators when I got a good look at the statue I passed earlier.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. A priest talked with me about looking to The Holy Family in times of need on this journey. The fact that I called to Mary while in that apartment followed by running into a statue of The Holy Family was no coincidence. You can try to explain this away with logic all you want, but for an overly logical guy like me, the next few weeks would be beyond logic
Just before our date, I stopped by the same church where I meet with my weekly bible study group to be with the blessed sacrament. How fitting that I’d be praying back at the place this began. I’m not talking about the first date, I’m talking about this entire journey. I came to this church on New Years Eve to look for women. I found this bible study group, made great friends, and now I was back here getting the grace I needed tonight. I would need all the grace I could get. Afterwards, I made my way to downtown where we would meet. I took her to a quiet bar I had went to prior with friends, and on another date. I generally hate bars because I have to talk over loud people, and my auditory processing sucks. Despite being apart for a month, we were able to pick up from where we left off. After we ate we would walk around the city, talking for hours.
In a city park known as the Greenway, we would eventually hint at some interest beyond a friendship. We decided we would keep things going, and see what happens. That night, I left Boston with the biggest smile on my face. There wasn’t anything that could take that smile off my face. The next morning, I woke up super anxious because it finally hit me what was about to happen. The next few days would be an eclectic mix of excitement, and sheer nerves. Thankfully, I had a new video game to take some edge off while waiting to meet on the fourth of July. My nerves seemed to be moderately okay, that is until I got the text that would spike my blood pressure higher than sky. She invited me over her house on the fourth to meet her family for a big ol’ barbecue.
OH SHIT! OH SHIT! OH FUCKING SHIT! You know it’s getting real when it’s time to meet the family. I would be a wreck for the next two days as I started processing what was happening. I was ecstatic, but damn were things starting to move. April to May felt like that first climb up a roller coaster. The month of June until now was that agonizing moment at the top where you’re waiting to drop. The next few days were going to be the drop of the century. On the day of the fourth, I wanted to sit with the Blessed Sacrament at my usual church, but I knew that Boston would be a shit show with the road closings for the concert, and fireworks. I decided to do something a bit unorthodox, and drove out to Natick (a town 20 miles west of where I live). There was a church out there I had visited in my travels that has perpetual adoration like the church I visit. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed 24/7 for those to adore when needed. Natick was far enough outside the city where I wouldn’t have to worry about traffic, and parking.
While in the chapel, I began to have a mild panic attack about a few things. One of them was what I thought was an unanswered question. I wondered what my vocation was, and if God was leading me on the path to marriage, or if this was just me following my own selfish desires. Once again, my literal thinking Autistic brain would freak the fuck out. I started thinking myself in circles for what felt like an eternity. I eventually arose, and realized that the only way to get the answer I desired was to keep going. When I walked out of the chapel, I was greeted by a familiar trio that brought me much peace in times of distress.
At this point, these encounters were no longer a coincidence. It was only my second encounter at the time, but the timing of these were no accident. It was an outward sign from God telling me that I was on the right track. This trio would eventually be my beacons as I would enter a war against my own doubts, anxieties, and fears. After praying, I started the 1 hour trek to Haverhill. As I got closer to Haverhill, my heart started doing that thing where it thinks it’s an Olympic gymnast. A few months prior I had watched Jordan Peele’s “Get Out”; I should also mention that the last woman whom I was in a relationship with had a dad who didn’t like the fact his daughter brought home a black guy, so you can imagine the anxiety I felt going to a massive family barbecue that included BOTH sides of the family. I didn’t know what the fuck to expect. I generally give people the benefit of the doubt, the real question is would that be returned.
When I pulled up to the house I just remember seeing so many cars, you’d think we were in a mall parking lot. Okay, there weren’t THAT many cars; but it sure as hell feels like a lot when your anxiety has been pent up like a shaken up soda can. My now Fiancee would walk out, greet me, and walk me into the house. The next few hours would feel like a bit a of a blur because of how overwhelming it was. When I entered, I was greeted by her mother followed by several relatives. In the living room, I was introduced to a group of aunts. In what looked like a pretty dope recliner was her nana (God rest her soul, we’ll get to that later). She was a really lovely lady who was super welcoming, and was pretty sharp for an at the time 87 year old woman. I remember freaking out for a bit wondering what an 87 year old white woman thought of me given the events of my prior relationship. I wondered what everyone in that house thought of me. I was the lone chocolate sprinkle that found his way into a big ass bowl of vanilla ice cream.
We would make our way to the pool area where I would get introduced to more cousins, uncles, aunts, her dad on the grill, some more cousins, aunts, uncles. We would make our way to the pool area where I was introduced to her siblings, her sister’s Fiancee at the time, and more cousins. We would chill near the pool area for a bit, and make our way to the tables where we would chill for just a bit longer. At this point, I was a mix of anxious, and mentally exhausted. My now Fiancee was starting to show more of her humor, and snark which made her all the more attractive. I chatted with more family members, and eventually her dad. My nerves were starting to calm until she came up to me spiked my anxiety once again.
“My nana would like to chat with you”.
You know those loud ass alarms that go off in a store when you mess around with the security device on display products? I’d say that was a perfectly accurate description of what was going on in my head. I didn’t know what to expect from her. I considered her to be the matriarch of the family, so I had to be on my A game. When I walked into her living room, she greeted me in that pleasant voice that brightened any any room. As I sat there chatting it up with her, I could feel my anxieties melt away. The was an extremely easy going woman who was fun to talk to. There was this picture of Jesus in the room. I’ve seen plenty of pictures of Jesus, but this one felt different. Looking at this picture brought a great deal of peace. I would learn later that the picture had been in the family for more than 40 years.
When we finished, we decided to get some ice cream before heading off to Portsmouth to see the fireworks. We went to an ice cream place in Salisbury called Hodgies. Now, you know you’re a city person who gets ripped off for his ice cream when you ask for a small/kiddie, and get what amounts to a large. I didn’t finish that ice cream due to being full, and being nervous knowing what I needed to do later. Initiating first kisses isn’t something I’m very good at, but when a woman says “lets go see the fireworks on a beach, or something” you know damn well she’s past the platonic shit. When we got in the car, the next 30 minutes up to Portsmouth would be one for the ages. She started throwing more hints at me than the tutorials you get at the beginning of video games. She started spilling her feelings, and I spilled mine. There was one moment however where I would start to realize that this was no longer a coincidence.
She told me that she constantly prays for me to be the man that God wants me to be. The sentiment itself seems simple on the surface, but what’s even more mind blowing was that they were lines that came right out of my prayer journal. I had mentioned in the prior post that I wrote letters to my future wife. In one of those letters, I asked for my future wife to pray for me to be the man I need to be in order to be her husband. It was pretty mind blowing to be sitting next to the woman whom I spent time in front of the Blessed Sacrament writing letters to. The woman whom I had been praying for was right next to me. After spilling more of our feelings, we parked, got out of the car, and held hands as we walked towards the Portsmouth Memorial Bridge.
When we got to the bridge, we started looking towards the water. At this point, it was pretty fucking obvious what I had to do. I was the top of the roller coaster only, I was the one holding the button that drops us. It was now or never; she dropped all those hints, and it was time for me to make the move. I put my arm around her shoulder to ease myself into the moment. It was now, or never. I went in for the kiss, shaking like someone who just fell to the water while ice fishing. If you thought the rest of the day was a wild ride for my blood pressure, then I’ve got some bad news for you. I finally went in for the kiss, and we began kissing some more. While holding each other, she asked me to DTR (define the relationship), or as she phrased it, let’s DTR this bitch. People often use these weird labels like “dating exclusively”. It was a lot easier to just say we were in a relationship.
After talking for an hour and a half, we drove back down to to drop her home. We kissed, and parted ways. On my way home, I dealt with a whirlwind of emotions ranging from nervous to excited. Knowing that there was someone that was not my mother waiting for me to get home safe, it was probably the first time in a while I drove the speed limit the whole way home. After texting her good night, I went to bed with the same mix of emotions. When I woke up the next morning I remember feeling super anxious, and not understanding why. I started wondering what the hell was wrong with me. I ended up in my first relationship for the first time in two years with an amazing woman; I’m supposed to be on cloud 9.
The next few days would be a whirlwind of extremely complex emotions I knew nothing of. When I saw her, I was perfectly fine; but when we were apart, I was always anxious. I would constantly second guess myself, and wonder if I was moving in the right direction. I would mentally go back to that point in front of the Blessed Sacrament, paralyzed with fear of whether or not this relationship was of God, or my own selfish desires. I had gotten very outward signs that I was on the right path, and yet I was super anxious. I couldn’t understand it at the time. I started to second guess myself quite a bit as the same pattern would manifest. I get anxious, I wonder why I’m anxious, I then think that I’m anxious because I’m making the wrong decision, I psyche myself out, get even more nervous about seeing her because I’m so psyched out, I see her, I’m perfectly fine, I enjoy every moment with her, I leave with high hopes, I go to bed at peace, I wake up anxious again, rinse and repeat.
It was a mental battle that felt as if it had no end. This cycle would really run me down to the point of being extremely exhausted. It was a really busy summer, and I still wonder to this day how I made it through, because it feels like such a blur. There were definitely only one pair of footprints in the sand for those next few months, and God was cooking up a little something to keep me on track with the help of a few old friends.
To Be Continued…