As women we tend to put a lot of weight in romantic movies, at least I did until recently, my favorites being When Harry Met Sally, and The Notebook. Even though one is meant to be a comedy and the other a drama, they both are at the top of my list for the same reason. They depict a real relationship from birth to that amazing moment in time when each person knows they do not want to live life without the other person. They get there in very different ways. One through a slow and long friendship and the other from a highly passionate, summertime, first love experience. But each shows the twists and turns that can happen between a man and a woman over time. Sometimes love grows and sometimes it happens over night or even in an instant.
There is also Sleepless in Seattle, where the woman makes written contact with a bachelor and then just has to meet him. So she ends up taking a trip across the country. Crazy. We all eat this stuff up. But really how realistic is it?
Or You’ve Got Mail, where the man and woman write, not sharing any identifiable information about themselves, while at the same time baring their souls to one another. Ending in love. YES!
Or Notting Hill, where the famous American woman strikes up a relationship with a lowly English bookstore worker. Because? Well, he is normal and nice and she is lonely. The guy gets the girl and we cheer them on.
But those are movies right? This stuff doesn’t happen in real life, or does it? And if it does, there is always a moment when the movie is over and then what?
I recently took a rather spur of the moment trip to Europe. It was a long flight and for those of you who read my blog, you know that I have had a rough time of it. My husband left me 9 months ago after two years of really hoping he would stay. With my heartbroken and then turning 40, I decided along with one of my best friends in life, to take this trip to bring my spirits up and see some culture and beautiful countryside.
It was an easy flight but it took some doing to get to our hotel room. Even with the GPS, we kept being told to turn against traffic and after two long hours finally lugged our bags into our room. Despite being tired, we decided it would be the first fun night of our 6 night trip and changed to get ready for a long walk along a river in the rain to a well-known bar district for a bite to eat and hopefully some laughs. To be honest with you I was really pushing myself because I don’t normally walk blocks and blocks…anywhere, especially in the rain.
But we finally arrived, a little wet, and a little tired and not knowing where to eat. There were women with little cards trying to entice the tourists into their restaurants. But I figured if you had to ask them to come in – it was not worth the visit. We were at a loss and decided to ask a security guard for his unbiased opinion.
The guard suggested two places. One sounded very American and was very crowded. And the other was right next door and was a little old-world looking and quaint. It also had less of an American menu so we picked it. As soon as we walked in we heard U2 playing in the background and my friend threw up her hands and said…”Yes, this is the place!” It was so hot because they had stove fireplaces burning. We had just walked all that way so we began to peel the layers and also began introducing ourselves to the others waiting for a table and fanning ourselves.
There was an older couple and a single man waiting with us. After chatting a bit we introduced ourselves to the man. He was alone on business from England, and shared he had visited the restaurant the previous night and was back again because he liked it. We thought that was a good sign that we had picked the right place too. He shared that he was in sales and I said, “Oh, you are a rep?” and I think I said something wrong because he said, “Well…yes I suppose that is all I am.” or something like that. But he laughed it off and I thought, “oops.” That is me, always sticking my foot in my mouth.
This is where the movie part begins in case you were wondering.
My friend and I were seated at a table and the waitress asked us if it would be okay to seat the gentleman at our table since he was alone and there were no other tables. We said sure, why not! And so it began. WHEN in real life are you in a restaurant and the waitress actually asks you if she can seat a single man at your table? Maybe it happens often but not to this girl. Ever in all my life I don’t think.
He was charming. He had this lovely English accent of course and I could tell he was quite spontaneous as he shared stories of his travels to Turkey and other places. Recently divorced and dad of two teens who he loved openly and with all his heart. Most of the conversation he monopolized with his traveling stories and then he brought up that he has really been searching for faith in his life. And that is when we shared that we were Christian and both very committed to our faith and began sharing just a little bit. He was so happy to have met us and couldn’t believe we had faith. Apparently he does not know many people who do. We exchanged business cards at that point so that maybe we could be a good influence on the direction of his search and dinner winded down. He took the bill. And seriously, when does that ever happen in real life too? You have someone say, “I can’t believe that I have met you, this is amazing because we share a desire to be close to God.” You probably don’t see that happening in the movies either. But often times, there is a connection of some sort that seems “God inspired”. And that is what I mean. It was almost like fate. Perhaps it was.
After dinner we went over to a pub and upon entering that doorway I heard, “Dexy’s Midnight Runners” sing “Come on Eileen”. I seriously loved that song growing up. And right away, I knew I was going to have a fun, fun night singing great songs and yes, having my very first ever pint of beer. Guinness of course.
The more we talked, the more we realized that we had many of the same interests in movies, and music in particular. We laughed, we shared about our lives, we drank a little and we sang songs. And it was almost as if time stopped. Not that I stared into his eyes and decided that he was the most fantastic looking man I had ever met. No. It was more like…for the first time in years, I was having a good time.
I was laughing without thought of my misery. I was truly in the moment. Not looking backward and not looking ahead. And I was living that moment of my life completely.
As the evening progressed we got a little closer, we laughed a little louder, he gave me more compliments that I pondered incredulously. I was having a genuinely good time with another man without guilt, without sadness for the first time in a very long time.
He was a perfect gentleman and I was genuinely confused. He was nice, it was nice to be close to him. But I was not really thinking about him as someone I would ever see again until we kissed cheek to cheek and said good night at three in the morning. As we walked back to our hotel laughing about the night, the more I thought about him, the more I wanted to talk to him again. I was saying to myself, “this just doesn’t happen every day.” And maybe I should not just let it go.
So a few days later I emailed him and friended him on Facebook. He has a very good story as why he didn’t friend me first. But since the day I did which was November 15, we have been communicating daily via email and chat. Hours upon hours. And there is quite a time difference. And he goes to bed early so he can get up to chat with me before work.
We have shared our lives, our hopes, our dreams and laughed and kidded around and both of us are under the impression that there is something perhaps special about this happening. And just like in the movies, he has decided that we really can’t know what it is unless he comes for a visit. So he has booked a flight today to come and visit with me for a few days. To give us a chance to get to know one another face to face to see if we can be only good friends or something more. I’m sure he is spending a great deal of money. And I often feel a little bit of fear at what I have gotten myself into. But at the same time…I don’t want to let fear keep me from something that can at the very least be a unique and special friendship.
I’ve had such a rough go of it that I’m afraid I have closed myself off emotionally. Perhaps in another life, before I became so cynical I would have fallen madly in love with him? Who knows? And maybe I will. Just like in the movies.
But my problem is that movies only last as long as that first trip overseas…what happens after that? Of course I want it all planned out. Of course I don’t want to have to risk my heart.
But that is where God comes in. I know He has a plan with this. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it is for me to find love. Maybe it is for him to truly find God. Maybe it is both. Only time will tell. Only God knows for now and I will trust him with that knowledge and keep moving forward.