My old church looks a bit like a mall. Big buildings and lots of people everywhere. Good lighting, great sound system, big stage. We both took deep breaths when I turned the ignition key off in the giant parking lot. We sat there for a minute just looking at each other as if to say, “Well, here we go.” This was a big deal. It was kind of scary for both of us.
I was introducing him to me as photographer, my old job and church, and my current boss. This was big. What if the exposure sent him running? I had to risk it. He has to know who I am and who I will continue to be. This is my world. If he can’t stand it, I’d rather him know now and leave me now than later.
A tear ran down his cheek right before we walked onto the campus from the car. It’s emotional for him too. He said that it was important for him to know and understand and be a part of things that are important to me. He had said that at the very beginning of our relationship and now is another example of his actions matching what he said. I’m not really used to this. And in a way, it was freaking me out a little bit last night. I kept looking over at him thinking…how long can this last? Is this going to be my life? How did I get so lucky?
We saw my boss getting bins of product out of the car, I said hello to people I knew who I hadn’t seen in a while. And I wondered what was running through Harry’s head. I knew he had been up for about 20 hours. I was worried about the subject being a bit dry and him fighting sleep…he really did look so tired. His eyes were three times more blue because they were also so red. He said he was surviving on adrenaline. I think he was a little nervous too, but he has nerves of steel, so he wasn’t showing it.
The event began and I started taking photos. I was hypersensitive to everything. The people sitting around us (I didn’t want there to be any weirdos). The music ( I didn’t want it to seem lame or like they were trying too hard to be cool). Every word out of my boss’s mouth ( I wanted it to be the truth but put in a loving way.) And every time I looked over at him he was completely engaged. I didn’t see him nod off once! And believe me it was not super entertaining.
Meeting my boss was completely uneventful I’m happy to say – except that Harry was asked to carry stuff (big muscle man that he is, and he was happy to). That’s the other thing that impressed me a lot. Harry was so very helpful. He arranged the books on the product table for me, helped pass out literature, collected cards and pointed out to people that my boss was available to sign books they bought. He even participated in the Q&A discussion during the event.
So he paid attention, he was congenial, and helpful...he keeps surprising me. Perhaps my world wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be to him.
Sitting on the couch that evening we had a very spirited discussion that began with him telling me he agreed with 90% of what was spoken and he was impressed with the delivery. Really? As we discussed the finer points, we ran into a few road blocks intellectually, but I was practically sitting on his lap we were so affectionate. I think actually I was sitting on his lap! So it wasn’t like a fight, although it was incredibly emotional for me. That is the other thing that is so great about Harry. He can talk about difficult things without getting his feathers ruffled.
We literally talked on my couch for about three hours. It’s so easy with him. He left at midnight and he had been awake for over 24 hours. I seriously didn’t want him to go.
I realized when he walked out the door…that HE is my world. For all intents and purposes, the Lord, Harry and my kids are my priority in life. My Christian culture is not “my world.” Whether he likes the music or the lighting, or even my friends, or my boss doesn’t really matter. I will always attend church, I will always pray. But I’ve historically changed jobs within a decade cause I get bored and I’m feeling a little restless now at work. I have been a member of 5 different churches in my life. It’s not like that particular church family is MY LIFE. There are many good churches out there (you have to be careful choosing but they are out there.) No…none of that is essential. HE IS. And if we are talking about getting married, that is the biblical model. God first, then husband, then children.
But Harry doesn’t want me to give up my world for him. He says it is part of who he fell in love with. And he wants to support me in it and share it with me. That is pretty darn awesome.