Allow me to digress. While sitting in my comfy West Virginia living room in late August 2013, I receive the following message:
Just wanted to tell you that I loved your profile. Not very many guys on here that know who they are in their faith. It’s very refreshing to see! Hope your day is blessed!
Yes, this was a dating site, but did I mention that this person was from Texas? I am a person that tends to do things on purpose, for a purpose. Online dating someone over 1000 miles away was not my idea of purpose. Either way, I decided to click the reply button:
Thank you, I appreciate that. It’s been a long journey to get to where I am, but God knew what He was doing the whole time. I like the light-hearted boldness of your profile.
I’m a liar. Literally, this is what her profile read: “I am a mom of three beautiful children. I work in the medical field and in retail. Love what I do! I am passionate about my Jesus and am confident in who He has called me to be. I’m down to earth and love to have fun!” But on to the rest of my reply:
So, before you tell me who you are in your faith, tell me something awesome about your church. Hi, I’m Jerry, I strive to be a Proverbs 32 man, and the most awesome thing about my church is the people. They’re a bunch of worshipers, prayer warriors, and humble servants. I’m sooo glad to be counted among them. I’d invite you out to church this weekend, but you’d probably not want to leave. I say this because I’ve not been able to leave for about 9 or 10 years now…
I know, you see what I did there, but hey, she was pretty, so I had to close on a flirty up note. Don’t hate. We spent a lot of time exchanging emails, texts, and late night phone calls. One topic we discussed was what a dream vacation looked like. She started off, “well, what girl doesn’t want to go to Paris,” then pondered for a moment, “I’d like to see the nation.” When she asked me the same question, ” RV across America, and see offbeat roadside attractions and some national landmarks.” I was a Navy brat. My dad was a sailor that couldn’t decide if he wanted to stay in the service, or live the civilian life. We traveled a lot, between land-locked states when he was out, and in coastal states when he was in. No matter if we were visiting family in West Virginia, or moving to Kansas, we always drove to our destinations. Speaking of those two states, both sets of grandparents from those two locations, had a couple of state magnets on their refrigerators that I admired every time we would visit. They’re cheesy to some, but I saw them as badges of adventure. When I took my children on their first road trip from WV to KS, I discovered that they still sold the magnets. Naturally I purchased the states were were traveling through for our fridge. Back to memory highway, mom and dad made our trips fun. If we were lucky we would see the World’s Largest something, or a Mystery Hole somewhere. Two months later, almost to the day, I asked that girl from Texas to marry me. As our wedding day drew near, I was in the process of making her the best wedding present ever. Ok, not the bottle cap her oldest son threw in the trash, that I salvaged and turned into a Grape Soda pin for our Up-inspired marriage. I was drafting the Ultimate Road Trip Scavenger Hunt and Bingo game, ever! So that Rebecca had input, I would interrupt conversations at any given time and ask her to identify random objects in the room or tell me specific items that popped into her head when prompted. At the time she didn’t know what I was doing, but on our wedding day it all came together when I handed her a packet outlining a most epic adventure laced with suspense, awkwardness, and embarrassing challenges (we made a video). Oh, and it had rules and points to be accumulated. As we embarked on our journey, we began to collect our own state magnets. Six months into our marriage we had visited a third of our nation. Where will we go next?