I met my husband 21 years ago today.
Long before that, this date was important in my life because my dad was born 84 years ago today. Today is also my college friend Hallie’s birthday. She was the first Christian Scientist I ever met, and would later become my matron of honor. In an interesting story related to both my doctor dad and that college friend, 28 years ago today, I received my first copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the Christian Science textbook. This book would revolutionize my life in countless wonderful ways. I came to know God. But it also put me in the lobby of the above Park Avenue church on that fateful day seven years later.
The short story is I was ushering and he walked in. I greeted him. Rather than “love at first sight,” I would say it was recognition at first sight. We both instantly knew we were meeting the person we would marry! Talk about awkward… It took us a whole year to work out the details, and 20 years ago today, we announced our engagement.
But there is so much more to the story…
I was working in New York City as a structural engineer propping up skyscrapers. After several serious relationships with guys that wanted to marry me, each of which I had ultimately broken up with, I had sworn off men. It was too much trouble. I was alone and simply seeking God, much to my satisfaction.
A happily married church friend repeatedly said to me, “Polly, you’ve had so many demonstrations of God working in your life, it is time for you to pray about companionship.” I really didn’t see the need. But she was very insistent. She had met her husband after doing a spiritual exercise which she wanted me to do.
Finally I agreed to do it just to shut her up. She wanted me to make up a list of the qualities and attributes that I would desire in a companion and to ponder that. So when I made up my list, I immediately realized that I already included those things, so no wonder I did not need to find someone; I was already complete in myself.
At approximately the same time, two weeks prior to our meeting, my husband, living in Texas, was given the same exercise to do. When he made up his list, he saw he needed to start companioning with those qualities right then, and could commence a relationship with them right away. He was done waiting.
The Wednesday evening before the Sunday morning we met, a group of church members spontaneously congregated as usual at a diner a block away from church for dinner before our Wednesday evening meeting. My husband’s sister was a member of my church, and she was there telling us about how her brother was flying in to help her get her nursery ready for her baby, since her husband was too busy to do it. Her brother was coming for two weeks and while he was here she was fixing him up with three blind dates with church members, all of which I knew. She shared all this deliciously conspiratorially, completely unaware that there was another eligible person at that table who had not been considered. (Later, my husband would be very grateful she had not set us up and couldn’t take credit for it, and meanwhile for my part, she was quickly forgiven this insensitive blunder since I was projecting self-sufficiency, after all, and was neither needy nor clearly in the market for a man.) Anyway, I knew he was coming and who he was fixed up to meet, but I promptly forgot it all until we actually met several days later, when it all came rushing back to me warp speed.
I was annoyed that I’d be in New York City that coming weekend because I wanted to be in Michigan. It was Columbus Day weekend and my sisters, who were both school teachers, had Monday off work and were going home to celebrate my dad’s birthday. I wanted to go very much too as we had not all been together for a long time. But my boss scoffed at giving me any time off and to my dismay I was stuck in the city that weekend. I was upset that I didn’t get to go, so I prayed about it to help me chill out. I realized I had no choice but to trust that me staying in town must be part of God’s plan for me; there must be a bigger blessing related to my being in NYC that weekend or I would have been allowed to go be with my family, which seemed so clearly to me to have been a right idea.
So fast forward now to Saturday evening. I was out with a church friend’s daughter whose act frankly needed a bit of cleaning up. It was attempted missionary work on my part, but she must have seen it the same way, only the other way around. She told me essentially, “Polly, this celibacy thing is not working for you. You need to come out to the bars with me for some one night stands.”
I told her emphatically and unequivocally, “If God wants me to meet someone, He knows where to find me. As far as I’m concerned, He can march someone right into 3rd Church to meet me.” I said this knowing full well that I had joined the church in town where this was most unlikely to happen. Mine was not a church where co-eds went to meet each other. I knew this because people often asked me why I was attending this staid church instead of those which were more swinging in nature. But I was going to church for God and the message and found it easier to focus on that in this formal church with it’s stunningly elegant architecture.
So the next morning, having failed on my missionary work of the night before, I was dutifully at my post as what the Bible calls “a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord.” Dressed in my bright turquoise suit, I was stunned when I saw a princely eligible guy walk through the door. My absolutely first thought was, “O God, I didn’t mean so soon!!!!!”
What I said to him was, “You’re a new face here.” A conversation ensued and his connection with his sister wasn’t immediately clear since her married last name was different than his. Eventually, however, he mentioned that he was Patti’s brother and it all slid into place.
What I learned later was that my husband had had a dream just before coming to New York about hugging some woman he had never seen before. The dream had unknown and unusual depth and warmth and meaning to it which had made him very curious. When he walked into the church that morning and saw me, he knew immediately that I was the woman in his dream!
We had both been set up not to miss the importance of that moment. We both knew beyond a shadow of a doubt where this was headed before we humanly knew anything about each other at all. God had brought us together. Both of us feeling this and knowing this so clearly has held us through all these years of marriage.
As we dated those two weeks, I watched my future husband go on those blind dates with women I knew. It was interesting to me that the needy ones were not so attractive nor ready for God’s endorsement, and I feel there is a lesson in that too. And by a witless turn of events in our church lobby, my brunch group and his third blind date got fused into one dining party, so I was even present for that last blind date.
We mostly courted over the telephone, talking late at night to keep expenses down, but still racking up $700/month on cross-country phone bills. Finally my dear husband needed an extra nudge from God. God told him directly, “Fear thee not to take unto thee Polly as thy wife…”
I recommend God as the best matchmaker ever. Thank you God!