I've written about my upbringing - an ideal circumstance with less than ideal family relationships, not entirely broken but not particularly perfect either. I doubt there is much perfection this side of heaven, but in my case, a distant and disconnected nuclear family made life less than "warm and fuzzy" for me at home.
My life, in its twists and turns, has had golden moments, stunning opportunities and incredible surprises. Much of that began after I met my husband.
When I was 31 I moved to England to study... back up actually to mid twenties when, as a teacher, I made friends with a male university student. We weren't close but we made a good connection. There was no romance but mutual respect and we shared our Faith. There was another distinct feature about him which was that he was Canadian oriental. I lived in a very WASP - white Anglo Saxon (ie of British descent) protestant - community, not by preference but by geography, so I'd never met an oriental person before.
One evening, after he'd been for dinner at my place, I wondered why we were friends. I hadn't thought to ask him outright, but I did pray about it after he'd left.
As answer, I distinctly remember - and this is going back twenty-five years - having an absolutely knowing within me. The clear impression was, 'because one day you will marry an oriental and this is to help you to prepare.'
Fast forward to England and 5 days after moving there I went to church with the family I was staying with temporarily. I was introduced to someone who was looking for a lodger.
The instant I met A I knew I'd met my husband; he was Chinese-looking (he's actually Burmese). But though I had nothing against getting married eventually, I did an emotional runner (away) at that same precise moment. Because what I saw clearly in this attractive man was vulnerability. I immediately mistook the vulnerability for neediness, and I didn't want to cope with a man who was insecure.
But while I was mistaken about his insecurity or neediness, I was not mistaken about his vulnerability. I'd learn soon enough that he'd just gone through a divorce and, naturally, it had hit him hard.
First impressions are, fortunately, not impossible to erase. That man became my friend (I did not become his lodger however) and showed me kindness I had never experienced in my life. As way leads on to way, we eventually fell in love and got married. Therein lies a whole lot of other stories, which I may or may not write about... But my point here is that, I while was prepared for cultural changes and surprises, I was less prepared for love.
My "Perfect" Life is far from perfect, but allowing myself to do a U-turn on my initial impression of A turned my life around from a mediocre life of basic self-sufficiency, to one of hope and joy and love. For me, meeting A caused me to change for the better. And that change has made all the difference.
Until next time, next Thursday, may you see U-turns in your life that make it rosier!!
|Gareth Johnson, Photographer|