MY CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL STORY

In a couple of weeks, Chicken Soup for the Soul will be selling it’s latest book, The Miracle of Love. Thanks to God’s goodness, I had a story they liked enough to publish. This is my second in 10 years, and sometime I’ll share the other one with you. But I want to share this one now because 1) I’m super excited about it and 2) it will tell you a little more about me. I hope you enjoy it!

A DREAM COME TRUE

I looked down the petal-strewn gauntlet. It occurred to me that this was either the dumbest thing I’d ever done or the smartest. Either way, it was certain to be the most memorable. This was my wedding day.

At the other end of the aisle stood the man who had asked me to marry him. He looked terrified. I could see sweat glistening above his eyebrows. Then it occurred to me that perhaps it wasn’t terror he was feeling as much as the humidity in the sanctuary. This was unquestionably the hottest, most humid day Missouri had seen this year.

The church was one of the most breathtaking places in town, primarily because it was one of the oldest. I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me that the cooling system hadn’t been updated. However, I didn’t know that it still relied on a swamp cooler. I learned that day that swamp coolers take a great deal of time to cool the room, and this particular swamp cooler had not been given enough time to compete with the miserable heat and humidity of the day.

So there I stood, sweating in a wedding gown that cost more than my first car and high heels that I never would have worn at any other time and would never wear again. Those sitting on the left were complete strangers to me and were undoubtedly concerned about the groom’s mental capacity to enter into legal contracts such as marriage. And those on the right were good friends, most of whom were already quite confident that my mental capacity was questionable.

They weren’t the only ones who were concerned. They couldn’t be thinking anything I hadn’t already considered. Will he be able to settle down with a family after being a bachelor all these years? What will happen to my daughter and me if this turns out to be a mistake? Are we insane? I pondered that last question the most.

There wasn’t much about our courtship that was ordinary.

My four-year-old daughter Sophie and I lived in Kansas, and we were pretty much on our own. She’d begun to ask when she would get a daddy and insisted that he would drive a truck because that’s what the father of every other child in daycare drove.

My groom, on the other hand, had always been the single uncle who played with His nieces and nephews while their parents enjoyed adult conversations. In Minnesota, 415 miles away, John had been alone for a long time. He’d never been married and he had no children.

We had only two things in common. First, we each felt we were missing something without a spouse. Second, we both knew Rob and Tracy. I had gone to high school with Rob, and John had gotten to know the couple in college. And it was those relationships that would be key to the future of John, Sophie and me.

In Minnesota, summer had finally given way to fall. John lay in his bed and prayed, “Lord, will I always be this lonely? Isn’t there someone out there for me?” This prayer played over and over in his head as he fell asleep. Once asleep, he had three separate but connected dreams.

In his first dream, he was dating a woman with a little girl. In his second dream, he was standing at the alter with Rob as his best man. In his last dream, he was opening wedding gifts with his wife on one side and one of his sisters on the other.

Later in the week, John called his former college roommate.

“Rob, I had the weirdest dream, and you were in it. I was dating a woman with a little girl. We got married, and you were my best man!”

“Well,” Rob grinned, “I happen to know a woman with a little girl, and she’s looking for someone.”

The next time I saw Rob, he mentioned casually that he had a friend who was single and might like to meet me. At the risk of inflating my ego, he left out the details of the dream. After all, who needs a prima donna who thinks she may be someone’s dream-come-true?

“Seriously, Rob! He’s in Minnesota, and I’m in Kansas. What are we supposed to do?”

Rob wasn’t worried. “Oh, you meet, you fall in love, and you get married.”

Nine months later, John and I stood on opposite ends of the aisle at the beginning of a new life together. And my daughter would have a father – the first man to tell her how incredible and beautiful she was.

In less than 24 hours, the three of us would drive to Minnesota, where I had no job and knew no one except John. I took a deep breath and began my walk down the aisle. I knew only one thing with relative confidence: I would agree to absolutely anything if it got me out of this dress and these heels!

Twenty years later, I’m happy to say that God planned a successful marriage. It hasn’t been a simple marriage – certainly not one without many challenges – but those challenges have strengthened our love and appreciation for each other.