As I wrestled with the inner turmoil of feeling loved and also feeling insecure, Steve kept on just as he had from the beginning. He was so consistent even as I doubted him and questioned his motives. He never wavered in his posture towards me even as a part of me tried to run away or push back. He was generous and patient towards me in so many ways. One month turned to one year turned to two years. I kept waiting for him to change or show his “true” colors. He never changed his loving ways and he never changed who he is. He worked hard to earn and maintain my trust. As much as my fears held me back, I pressed forward. This was too good to let go of and I couldn’t allow myself to give up.
As I got to know Steve better and better, I began to believe that the person he was showing me is who he really is. And I fell in love.
If you know Steve, you know pretty quickly that he knows how to have fun and loves to relax. He laughs at his own jokes and mine, too. He’s very sure about how to get himself to a happy place and he works hard to keep me happy, too. God knows I need it. I was sapped of joy in my life (just listen to some of my songs) from very early on in my childhood and I didn’t even realize how desperately I needed to be with someone who knew how to play, laugh and not take life too seriously. I am also a work horse. I don’t know how to relax or rest, or take a break. Steve reminds me regularly to rest and take breaks. Basically, I need Steve in my life. Every day. And my therapist reminds me of that.
Steve is so true to himself. It’s like he doesn’t know how to pretend at all. That absolutely boggles my mind because for the longest time that’s ALL I knew how to be, to pretend. Pretend to be happy, pretend to like accounting, pretend that life is okay, pretend that I was okay with people violating me with words and actions, pretend I know myself, pretend I know who God is, pretend to be holy, pretend, pretend, pretend. Steve is so sure of who he is and he isn’t afraid to show it. Sure, sometimes that can get him into trouble, but most of the time it’s rather refreshing to be around.
Steve is an open, generous person. When I say generous, I don’t necessarily mean financially (though he is definitely that also, which has in turn helped me to be a more giving person). He is one of the most generous people I have ever known in his posture toward others. He doesn’t care much about being liked (or those who are very liked), but on the other hand, he definitely notices and goes out of his way to embrace people who may not necessarily be socially accepted or belong. Even as I type that sentence, I get teary-eyed. He really reminds me of Jesus in that way. When I bring that up to him sometimes, I realize he’s not doing it intentionally. That’s just who he is! He is able to be so present with people who are routinely ignored/avoided in society. I cannot say how many times I’ve watched him acknowledge a homeless person, engage in conversation with people who are hard to talk to, include those who would probably be excluded in social settings. To him, they’re just like him, and me, and you. Created uniquely and wonderfully by the hand of God.
Steve reminds me that it’s better to exhibit grace rather than judgment. When I start to get judgmental or say something critical about someone, he brings up a perspective that I haven’t considered and helps me to pause and go inward in that moment. Steve tells me “it’s okay” quite regularly and often, especially when I say or think that it’s not okay, he/she is not okay, and really that I’m not okay. For someone who doesn’t let herself make mistakes and has very little grace for herself, I really need to hear that. Every day.
As I got to know Steve more in all these various ways, suddenly one day, I just got it. God was showing me his love, his acceptance, his grace… through Steve. Steve was the direct conduit through which I would continually experience the loving nature of God. People experience this practically in many different ways and for me, it is through Steve. I opened my eyes and there he was.
Then one day, Steve took me to the place where we first met and he asked me to marry him. I said yes. It was a no brainer. I would be a fool not to marry this guy.
(To be continued)