7 Years Ago
Seven years ago today, I met my wife in person for the first time (also had our "first date" and became a couple). We had originally met through her music and solely kept in touch by phone calls, text messages, emails and Facebook that began in November 2009–but we hadn't met in person until February 2010.
It was like something out of a movie for me. Tal (her sister and bandmate), had secretly gotten my number and contacted me to arrange a surprise meet-up during their tour. They had a few days off from gigs and were passing through Denver. I made arrangements with Tal to meet them there and take Acacia out on our first date.
After doing a little planning for the evening, I found a great restaurant for dinner that night. It was a Victorian looking house that had been converted into an authentic Italian restaurant. Great lighting, charming ambiance, excellent food and a very warm and welcoming staff. The place was called Gabriel's Restaurant & Tuscan Bar (Sedalia, CO ...just outside Denver). Sidenote, this place was recently named one of the 100 most romantic restaurants in America. As you can imagine, arriving there that evening was enchanting. That evening, we walked up to the entrance and the terrace porch was tastefully lit. We found the inside even more charming as we were escorted to our table. After our four-course meal, I had the server (who was an adorable old Italian woman) bring a single rose to Acacia. As impressed at myself I was for having stumbled on this place, I look back and see that it was all really divinely rigged and beyond me to put it all together. Reservations alone was a miracle... it's the type of place that is booked far out in advance...AND it was Valentine's Day.
That night, as perfect as everything all felt around me, the whole restaurant was a blur as my attention was captured by the amazing woman sitting across from me. Despite my determination and directness about us becoming a couple, she was still unsure on us becoming an official couple. "I'm just very independent. I've never been in a relationship with a guy. Maybe I'm supposed to be single and serve God all my life. Honestly, I never even pictured myself getting married. This may not be God's will for me. I'm just not sure and I need time to think and pray about it," she nervously, but firmly persisted to tell me.
To which I vulnerably (but confidently) replied, "I know that I love you and I love everything I know about you. I want to know you more and I'm pursuing us spending our lives together, Lord willing. But, I'm willing to wait and I don't need an answer from you now. I just need you to know where my heart is at and be transparent." We continued enjoying a delicious meal in what seemed to be a textbook romantic scene. I think I was waiting for our 'Lady and the Tramp single noodle of spaghetti scene' or something, but instead, all I got was awkward smiles and pauses of silence. This, of course, left me vulnerable after professing my love to someone who wasn't returning it (and at this point, I didn't know if the feeling would ever be mutual).
Prior to this night, we had theoretically discussed becoming a couple on February 14th because it'd be an easy day to remember. But again, this was before we had met in person. We were pretty confident that we were into each other on a heart level and not in a superficial way. I'd say we were pretty into the idea of "us" before meeting in person. But now, we actually were face to face and it was all quite surreal for her. She even confessed that she wasn't immediately attracted to me physically (although for me, one look at her and I was very smitten). My disposition of confidence wasn't seeming to sway her one way or the other on us being a couple. I could tell she wanted to really weigh it all out, think it through, and count the cost. So I gave it a rest and just continued to enjoy the evening together.
When dinner was over, there was no answer to the big question and no certainty on us ever being anything more than friends. On our way out, another couple at a nearby table stopped us, complimented my hair, and invited us to sit with them for a moment before we left. Come to find out, they pastored a fellowship in the area. It was John and Dee Cook, and they were there celebrating the anniversary of their engagement proposal! It was very special to see this couple with so many years together and apparently still in love–the flame was still lit!
"Are you two together?" they asked. "Oh no, we're just friends," Acacia replied, as we both looked at each other nervously and smirked. "Well, I couldn't help overhearing bits of your dinner conversation. I noticed you mentioning the Lord. Are you believers?" John asked. "Yes, we are followers of Jesus. She actually makes great Christ-centered music and tours around the country sharing it... you may have heard her music on Christian radio." I shamelessly plugged Acacia.
The couple shared on how they were pastors in the area and (as I said) were celebrating the anniversary of their engagement. We shared a little about how we met and where our friendship was. They offered to pray for us... it was powerful. And in that moment I was reminded of God's presence with us and His love for us. This was a comfort to me personally and very affirming in spite of my 'jumping off the cliff' and not knowing where I'd land... I knew that either way, God would catch me.
Seven years later (five that we've been married), here we are as a family–more in love than ever. Remembering this story also reminds me of the love that God has for us. That it is very sure and gives us strength in the uncertainty of life. This was what gave me courage and much grace to pursue the woman I wanted–whether or not I would actually win her. And she would say, this is what literally won her over. I'm so blessed that she said yes and have enjoyed every bit of us together. Here's to God's love that holds us together and the love we share in Him. I love you Acacia Mayo. Thank you for being my best friend, wife, and mother of our beautiful children. You are still '5 foot four inches of amazing.'