I bought a box of Chinese fortune cookies a few days ago. I like how they taste. They make a nice snack. I had one this afternoon and my fortune read, "Sometimes even love shows a re-run." As usual, I laughed it off, then threw it away. I don't believe in things like fortunes, luck (good or bad), tea leaves, reading palms, horoscopes, UFOs, Bigfeet (other than my 6'6" little brother), and the Loch Ness Monster (unless you're talking about the roller coaster, in which case I definitely DO believe in the Loch Ness Monster -- it's an awesome ride!).
I found myself thinking about my past loves, though, and the fact that I've really ever only had three serious relationships in my 43 years. "Ellen" was my first significant relationship. She was a strange one, though. We dated for about 8 months back in 1993. I'm not sure I really knew what love was, and it was one of those long-distance deals that I have come to hate so much. She was a student at WVU in Morgantown, WV. I met her just before my grandfather, Pap, passed away. She was a Catholic, as well, and I'm not, and her family had a difficult time accepting me. She had no intention of leaving the Catholic Church, either, and I wasn't planning to join. It became clear that there were just too many strikes against us to make it work. Ironically, even though she broke it off with me (over the phone, no less), she contacted me several years later and wanted to give it another try. The relationship was much more serious this time, and we started to consider marriage. She was living in Winchester, VA, by this time, still well outside the DC Metropolitan area that I required, with no intention of coming here. She was still a Catholic, too, and though I went to Mass with her, I knew it was not where God wanted me to be. After spending a day with her and her family (and getting the cold shoulder from her mother once again) just before Easter, I could see the handwriting on the wall, and so could she. We mutually ended it after another seven months of a rather roller coaster-like affair.
A short while after breaking it off with "Ellen", I met Teresa, who, after less than a year of dating, agreed to be my wife, and we married on July 24, 1999. Teresa was everything Ellen wasn't. She was my friend, my best friend, and was awesome in every way. She made me a better person. It was very clear that God blessed our marriage. What we didn't know was that her life would end far sooner than anyone anticipated. She had a heart condition that had worsened following the birth of Melody, and as the strain on her heart increased, she assumed that her body was just having issues recovering from the pregnancy. Despite my urges, she declined to see her doctor, and her heart finally gave out on a beautiful early Spring evening while we were walking around Reservoir High School, where she worked as a teacher. She went to be with the Lord on April 19, 2004, nine years ago this week, leaving me with our 5-month old little girl and so much heartbreak.
It took a while for me to get back on the horse, so to speak, but it happened in the Summer of 2009. I had become friends with a colleague from work. The problem was she worked in Oklahoma City, while I worked here in Maryland. But she knew my story, and we shared the same faith. Ginger was very beautiful, very smart, and, since we had already met several times in person, shared a mutual attraction. Our friendship had intensified through our emails during that Summer, and after I finally got her to admit that she liked me at least as much as I liked her, we began to see each other. I was fortunate that I was in a position at work that called for regular trips to OK City, so we were able to see each other much more frequently than we may have, otherwise. I was very clear with her when we started dating that the relationship would only work if we could get past the long-distance issue, since I knew from past experience it wouldn't work out unless one of us was willing to move. That wasn't an easy thing for me to do, and I told her as much. OK City held little appeal to me, and I knew it didn't make a lot of sense to take Melody away from our family. Though I could easily transfer my job, it was even easier for her to make the move to Maryland. She was a lawyer (DC is made for lawyers!), had no roots in Oklahoma (she was originally from Nebraska, and still had family there), and said she had no problem moving here. The relationship moved very fast, and soon I found myself in "pre-marriage" counseling with a counselor she was friends with in OK City. We soon stopped having fun, because every time I came to see her, we spent time in counseling, which led to much serious conversation and debate about our differences in philosophy regarding faith, child-rearing, money, etc. The red flags started to pop up. It really seemed like she was trying too hard to look for the issues instead of trying to make it work. Finally, after one tumultuous conversation in March, I had had enough and basically told her I was done talking about it. She hung up on me, then followed that up with an email message stating that the relationship was over. I replied that I didn't think it was appropriate to end it that was without a chance to talk over things and at least try to end it amicably. She agreed. We talked again a few days later, and I was hit with a flood of strongly worded arguing and emotion that apparently had been bottled up for a while. She said she never wanted to move to Maryland, and was disappointed I never gave Oklahoma a chance (totally disregarding my statement to her before we started dating that I had no desire to move to OK, and that she said she would move to MD). Among other insults, she also questioned my parenting skills, and said that I would likely have issues with Melody as she got older. I had never had a breakup like this one. It was very hurtful to have someone who I truly did love say such things, and that she had felt this way for some time, too! Anyway, the conversation soon ended, and the relationship ended, as well. Interestingly, I found out that she got married a year later, and quit her job, as well. I hope she is happy. I still pray for her regularly.
So, yeah.... I really don't see myself getting into a "relationship re-run". All three relationships I experienced are very unlikely to be revisited. And, in fact, I would very much like to find a new relationship, and I pray about it regularly. I know I just need to have patience, that God will pick the right time for it to happen.
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