In the winter of 2005, as a
fluke (or so I thought) I ventured onto Catholic Match. My
pastor had asked if I wanted to join the Theology on Tap planning committee at
my church and I had never heard of Theology on Tap. One morning before work, as
I sipped my morning coffee, I did an internet search for "Theology on Tap". A
link to CatholicMatch.com appeared. At the time, I was licking my wounds, trying
to getting over a broken heart. Looking back, I think the guy who dumped me was
an atheist. That should have been my first sign!
Well I had never heard of
CatholicMatch.com, nor did it occur to me to actively seek a Catholic partner,
but the moment was an epiphany for me. Sitting there in my slippers, clutching a
mug of coffee, peering at my monitor, I realized maybe I had been going about
this soul mate search all wrong. Maybe I needed to put the Catholic part first,
not as simply a "plus", in my mental criteria list of What I'm Looking
For. So I created a free profile. It took
all of 30 seconds and little did I know how those 30 seconds would forever
change my life. My one rule was "no one outside the
NY area". How many available single men are there in the NYC area? Certainly my
soul mate must be among them.
However only a
few weeks later I received a "wink" from a very handsome man in Ann Arbor,
Michigan, and my one & only self-imposed rule went flying out the window.
What piqued my interest was his interest in cycling. I'm a huge cycling
fan and love to be out on my bike. Unless you're out on a group ride, you don't
commonly meet other diehard road cyclists. I was immediately intrigued. Ann
Arbor Man, aka Dan, and I started chatting over email, then moved to live
instant messaging through CatholicMatch.com, then when our e-conversations hit
2+ hours, we thought maybe we should talk on the phone. We spoke for hours and
hours every single day for the next 6 weeks. Thank goodness for free in-network
air time on our cell phones!
I remember being completely
overwhelmed. (I also remember not being able to concentrate on a SINGLE THING at
the office.) How was it possible that I could be developing a crush on a man I
had never met? How is it possible that sparks were flying over the phone? How is
it possible that, without ever having seen Dan's face in person, I just *knew*
God brought us together? Pretty soon after this, we planned to meet – Dan flew
to NJ to meet me, incidentally…or maybe not… on the Feast Day of Our Lady of
Fatima. Together, over the phone, we said a novena to Our Lady of Fatima for the
nine days leading up to our meeting. We prayed for strength & grace as we
planned to meet, face to face, for the first time. Words cannot describe the emotions I
was feeling as I went to go meet Dan at the airport. What did his smile look
like when he laughed? I was so curious to get to know his mannerisms and
gestures. And I was nervous. What if it didn't work out? What if we saw each
other and thought, "Yuck!!"? He was visiting for a whole weekend (staying at a
local hotel, in case you were wondering). We didn't have a first date; we had a
first weekend. Talk about pressure!
and absolutely melted the very instant I laid eyes on Dan. To this day, he still makes my heart
skip a beat. That very first weekend, I took him
all over NYC: The Cloisters, the West Village , Statue of Liberty. And we
started making a plan to be together. For the rest of our
lives. For the next 18 months, Dan
continued to live in Michigan and I was in NJ. We saw each other about every 4
weeks, taking turns visiting each other. The distance was hard. I missed him ALL
THE TIME. In the fall of 2006, the timing was finally right for Dan to move to
NJ. I'm so proud of him. He got a job, he got a place to live, and he started a
new life here in NJ – for me, for us. We started dating like a "normal couple,"
as I like to say. We could go to dinner any night of the week. Dan started to
get to know my family on a closer level. It's so much fun to have each other
near and enjoy our courtship on a daily basis.
Then, on one insignificant (again,
or so I thought) night, I had made a lasagna for us. Dan arrived at my house
with his two shadows, two lovable Labrador retrievers, and told me he needed
help re-attaching one dog's ID tags to his collar. I took a look at the dog
collar and Dan had thread a diamond ring onto the dog collar. I screamed and
said, "Is this a joke?!" Dan laughed and said, "It's most certainly not a joke.
Will you marry me?" I said yes and we will be married in
the spring of 2009.
Dan and his family are a huge gift
from God. Thinking back to that cold morning when I created a profile on
CatholicMatch.com in my slippers and clutching my morning cup of coffee, I did
not realize that, even though I couldn't figure out what I wanted for myself,
God knew who I needed, and led me right to Dan.