Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Guarding her heart

It has been more than eight months since I first asked Mariane if she would consider praying for the possibility of having a relationship with her. We have been acquaintances for almost two years before that, in a small group in our church. We were never really close but we were occasionally exchanging emails and sending text messages. She said she would consider.

And between those months, we never so much went out together. We have agreed to get to know each other better by going out on group dates.

She mentioned about the principle of “guarding her heart.” That is why she never even allowed me to accompany her home. It was a good thing that I understood the principle. For me, it meant that I would have to respect a lot of things about her. I would have to respect her time which meant I would have to be conscious about limiting my calls during office hours, or sometimes not calling at all. I would have to respect her emotion that is why I never even told her how I felt for her. If we wanted to get to know each other better, we had to avoid developing too much emotional attachment. It would not be fair for both of us if during the “getting to know” stage, we end up realizing we are not meant for each other and yet have already developed emotional bond with each other. That would be very tragic.

A lot of my friends and officemates can’t understand the concept. I was not easy and there were a lot of times I desired to have spent more time with her. But I believe it worked well for me because my life never revolved around her. And I believe it worked well for her too. We both had our individual life, focused on serving God through church ministry, secular work and even our family, while getting to know each other.

Some of my friends were even mocking me because our courtship, if it may be called courtship, is not the traditional way. I didn’t mind the ridicule at all. It mattered less for me that friends would understand. What mattered most was that she understood my intention. When I asked her to pray for it, I never asked for her response afterwards. When she said she would consider praying for it, I trusted her enough to tell me her response, and God’s answer, at the right time, whatever her answer would be.

But some friends understood. And I am very much thankful for their counsel and their prayers. More than ever, I believe in the power of God revealed through prayer.

It has been more than two weeks since she said “yes.” During those two weeks, I have witnessed that it was God who orchestrated events in our (me and Marian’s) lives. I felt humbled, amazed, awed and grateful. I felt all these things because I knew I never deserved her love, and I never deserved His grace. I realized I am blessed beyond I can imagine, and for that I am very much thankful to God!

Today, we are still getting to know each other better. Each day, we are becoming the best of friends. We have agreed to put God in the center of our relationship. Another principle we have agreed is in limiting our physical contact. It means I can hold her hand, and occasionally put an arm over her shoulder, but nothing beyond that. No kiss. Not even a goodbye kiss. Not even on the cheeks. And so looking back, I realize more and more that it is my heart she has been guarding, and not the opposite. And because of that, I admire her even more.

In being a friend to her, I recall something I wrote before:
For friendship to develop, the virtue of patience must be at play. Friendship can never be rushed, nor can it run roughshod through course of time. It should take its time in season, like a seed unable to do anything but just wait for its time to bloom.
And in putting God at the center of our relationship, I will quote again a concept God impressed to me more than five years ago:
If I, fully human, am capable of loving a person with so much intensity, how much more intense could the love of God be for me? Then, it is not also right that I love God more intensely than I love that person?