Friday, August 12, 2011

Lovelife FAQ

In continuing the theme of my previous post, transparency: A couple of friends with a soft spot for love stories have asked for more info on this relationship I'm in. Who is this guy I'm dating, and what's our story? I'm a little shy about showing my inmost thoughts, but maybe this is a good venue to share the facts.

Who is this guy? His name is Chris.

What's he like? He's kind, friendly, stable, positive, helpful, and in other ways wonderful. And he's made it a high priority to love and encourage me. I'm amazed by that.

Where does he live? Eugene, Oregon.

Where did you meet? About 20 years ago when we were both in college. We've stayed in touch in an exchange-Christmas-cards-and-newsletters kind of way. We were fans and supporters of each other's ministries and used to encourage one another and talk shop. But of course, he was married, so neither of us saw the other as anything but a platonic friend.

Oh, he was married? Yes. Divorced painfully (but finally) several years ago.

Any kids? Two teenagers: a 17-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son. Yes, I've met them and I really like them, though we haven't had much time together at this point. They split time between their dad's and their mom's nearby. Chris is a real family guy. "Cool - package deal!" I'm thinking - though I know that building a life together may hold significant adjustments for someone like me who's lived such a different story thus far.

How did you get together? Went on a date last August, another in December, and started communicating more, and then...

How long have you been an item? Since the beginning of February. Mostly long distance, obviously. Got to change that. Though I'm grateful for technological developments. Long-distance phone calls no longer cost an arm and a leg and we can even video-conference pretty easily, every day, even when I'm traveling. That's been a great help in staying connected, getting to know one another, and keeping things fairly "real."

Is he into missions, too? Yes and no. He's more of a hands-on "ministering to human need" kind of guy. He enjoys serving people and loving God. Serves as a volunteer EMT and chaplain for his local fire department. He's got a medical-ish day job as well, enough to pay the bills while he works on an MDiv degree to qualify him as a full-time chaplain down the road.

The global missions world I swim in is part of his background, though: Chris was a mission major in college. In fact, he was on his way to serve in Africa in the mid-90s when his mission agency discovered he was a techie and asked him to come to HQ as their first webmaster and internet-based mission mobilizer. He did that for a decade. And as I said, we were big fans of each other's ministries and helped each other regularly during that time. No, he doesn't want to be a webmaster anymore; not enough interaction with people.

Chris can see being a missionary... but also loves living out his faith in a more secular world, too.

At first I thought this relationship wouldn't work because we seem to be on different paths in ministry. Yet as long as we value and support each other's service - and we do - the differences don't seem to be a deal-breaker. We both have diverse skills and interests. How God might lead us to serve together down the road is an open question.

What's next? For the sake of the kids, of course, Chris needs to stay in Eugene. I'm in a position to be more flexible. I'm preparing to move so we can be together. It's rather handy that after going to college there I know I like the city, climate, and culture. It's closer to my family and old stomping grounds in Washington, too. My supervisor is supportive of the move. I believe I can continue my work from there - including raising support to cover salary, benefits, and expenses. (My budget may change a little but it's more likely to go up than down.)

How can we pray for you? Ask God for an affordable and appropriate living situation for me. I've got some commitments in Denver in early October but would like to move after that. It's a little awkward at this point: I'm not sure I can move until I've got a place to live, but may not be able to find a place to live until I'm ready to move. But that's just logistics, and it's not the main thing. Pray for our relationship to continue to grow in fruitful ways. Ask God to guide us. And please lift up the kids. Thanks!


Dean Smith said...

If you lived in Eugene, we'd probably visit more often. We're planning a trip to Bend Sept 10-15. When will you be in the Northwest? Colin's wedding is Sept 17.

Debbie W said...

Hey, I'm liking this story, friend and am looking for the next chapter. You should know that we are living near PDX, so if you want to fly Portland instead of Eugene because of costs and need a place to overnight before an early flight, we can probably oblige. We are short block walk to the Max train to get to or from the airport. We're just getting settled and unpacking oursleves, so right now it would mean sleeping on a couch or camping on the floor, but are planning on having at least a single futon soon. Let us know if we can help. It would be great to see you!

Marti said...

Debbie, thanks so much for writing! And with half a dozen reasons to fly out of Portland in the next six months - the first one November 12 - I was wondering if there might be someone who lived near PDX and could help me in the way you suggest!