About a month after Peter and I met, he told me he was coming back to Chicago for a visit. And weeks later, true to his word, he made his second visit to Chicago. Although a giant body of water separated us, we had developed a very close relationship via our virtual communication, and Peter’s second visit sealed it! As Esmie Branner says in her book Beyond the Veil of Darkness, when she met her husband, the chemistry was right, not because of infatuation but because of God’s ordination.
We had lots of fun and did things that screamed Chicago, like going to a Bulls playoff game, eating Potbelly and attending Epic church.
Looking back, even from way back then, we knew we were going to get married. We mentioned it in conversation and talked about the way things would be. It felt very right to both of us.
What’s most memorable to me about this time in our lives is that we established some key principles that we’ve been living:
Principle #1: Same Team!
This principle came up one day while I was getting ready. Being a woman, I was naturally taking a bit longer to get ready than Peter. My mom stood off on the sidelines, observing the disparity. She saw Pete, ever patient, but still ready to go. Finally, she said Peter, I hope you know what you’re signing up for. She then broke out into her characteristic laughter. Are you ready for this? She continued to goad. Peter and I caught each other’s eye and I yelled out, Same Team, baby! Same Team! Peter quickly caught my enthusiasm and yelled Same Team! We then did a quick and cheesy high five! And we’ve been high fiving ever since, knowing that we’re always on the same team, moving in the same direction, working to accomplish the same goals.
Principle #2: Living a Passionately Intentional Life
When Peter came to visit Chicago, we made a super detailed spreadsheet that listed what we wanted to do while he was in Chicago. We took pride in writing down our plans. Soon this spreadsheet starting having reach in other areas of our lives, and we realized that while it seemed nerdy to some people that we were planning out our days together, we really enjoyed being very intentional in the way we spent our time together. Around the same time, we had decided to read a book together and halfway through, I was absolutely unengaged with the plot and the writing, but I wanted to trudge through the book and finish it. Everytime we would get together on the phone and prepare to read, I would feel a sense of dread rise up inside of me. From time-to-time, I would mutter about my discontent to Peter, but we continued with the book. Finally, Peter said to me, if you’re not enjoying the book, let’s stop reading it! It was the most obvious thing, but I hadn’t thought of it. He continued, let’s live a life that is passionately intentional. Let’s be intentional in how we spend our time. Let’s fill our time, as much as possible, doing things we’re passionate about. Don’t get me wrong, we (meaning Peter) still play video games, watch movies and mindlessly stare at the walls watching paint dry, but as much as possible, we try to be conscious about doing things that are meaningful for us.
Principle #3: Live Lives of Service to Those Around Us
This principle has been the most freeing and has the most potential in my mind. On the last day of Peter’s visit, within the last few hours, we took a walk around the block. No. We strolled around the block the way lovers do who are trying to delay their imminent departure from one another. As we walked, we reminisced on the week. We greeted the neighbors, and recalled the way we had been able to meet with another couple and share friendship with them and to discuss our spiritual experience with them. From that experience, we decided we wanted to live a life of service to others. We decided we wanted to live lives dedicated to God and bringing other people closer to Him. There was no commitment service, just a unity in heart and spirit. While I was sad to leave Peter at the airport and let him board the plane, I left with a sense of peace knowing that we were headed in the direction we were meant to be going.