300 miles may not seem like very far to our American friends, but in England, it is from the top to the bottom of our country! And that was the distance that separated us. We would never have met if it hadn’t been for the wonders of modern technology in the form of this marvelous Catholic Match website, or for the influence of our American Rose, or for Heavenly help.
Far down in the South of England, back in April 2006, my mother was terminally ill with cancer. She regretted little in her life, except that she hadn't seen me happily married. She promised me that when she got to Heaven she would send me a man, “a ray of sunshine”. Up in the far north of England, a man’s wife was dying of cancer. She made him promise that he would remarry, and that someone would sweep him off his feet. On the day of my mum’s funeral, his wife died.
Back down in Sunny Sussex in June, I met up with an American Lady on holiday in the UK who was very upset. We chatted, and immediately became friends. Both being single parents, we couldn’t afford the cost of international phone calls, so she suggested I register on the Catholic Match site, so we could continue to chat online in the chat room. I did just that, but was not brave enough or clever enough to put a photo on the site.
On the 30th June the CM site sent me “matches”. I was intrigued, so I clicked on the first person, not realising that he would be aware of my interest. That same evening, the day of his wife’s birthday, he sent me a message welcoming me onto the site. He sounded polite and safe, and so it began. Harmless, chatty emails, each finding out more about each other. He was off to Lourdes for a few weeks, and said he wouldn’t be doing much till his return, so again I felt safe. But our feelings grew for each other–he even managed to persuade me to put my photo on the site, and surprised me by not being put off by it!
His name was Ray, just as my mum had promised. My Ray of Sunshine. We both had four children and were both devout Catholics. But before we agreed to meet, we checked out references on each other. My Parish Priest and Sister wrote references on me. And his wife’s best friend wrote one to me, and his priest wrote one to my parish priest. All was well, so we agreed to meet. He spent six hours on the train travelling to Sussex, and picked me up in his arms when we met on the station platform. He says he knew then, that I was to be his wife. Being held in his arms was the most amazing feeling, and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this perfect man.
We met several more times, either with him travelling by train to the south, or by me driving up north in the car. In August he proposed online. And then again in person in September. Of course I said yes. This was a marriage made in Heaven in every way possible.
So, on the 6th July 2007, at Lancaster Cathedral we were married, in front of 140 friends and family. My parish priest came up to marry us, as did many of my friends and family. The week before the wedding it poured with rain. The day of the wedding was forecast with more heavy rain. But my sister assured me that if my mum had anything to do with it the sun would shine. I would have been happy with just the absence of rain! But at the consecration during the mass, a beam of sunlight came flooding through the stain glass windows and surrounded us on the altar. We came out of the church to glorious sunshine, and it continued throughout the week of our honeymoon.
Ray is my ray of sunshine. He brightens up every moment of my life. I am so blessed in this miracle, and thankful to our angels in Heaven. “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of." We share so much. We both believe in trust, we both believe in honesty and of course we both believe in love. But we both know that “a good marriage must be created.
In marriage the little things are the big things…It is never being too old to hold hands. It is remembering to say "I love you" at least once each day, It is never going to sleep angry. It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together and facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is not only marrying the right person, it is being the right partner.
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