Monday, 20 November 2017

A Real-Life Catholic Love Story - Part 5 of 13 - Two Years Pass

Part 1 - Life Before Love
Part 2 - When Thomas Met Genevieve
Part 3 - Thomas Falls in Love

Part 5 - Two Years Pass

Visiting the volunteer community on Camiguin for a Confirmation

Every year after Thomas was posted to India, he would get to visit the Philippines for a mid-year retreat and would have at least one great conversation with Genevieve. He fell deeper in love each time he met her. He was attracted to not just her physical appearance or beauty, but the way she was allowing God deeper into her heart. One of the big moments when Thomas felt like she was ‘the one’, was when they were hiking up the mountain on Camiguin Island in the Philippines, and she was talking to another volunteer. She told him, “I can’t go back to my past life. This is a lifelong thing.” That was Thomas’ desire too, so her words resonated with him. He saw her start to go to daily Mass, and was more and more drawn to her holiness, not just her spontaneity.

But Thomas assumed it would never happen because he still wasn’t healed from his brokenness. Over that time he still considered going back to the priesthood.

In 2015 Thomas was with Genevieve and their friend Rebecca on Camiguin Island, sitting on the pier sharing about their lives. Thomas shared that he thought he was called to be a priest, Rebecca shared that she felt called to stay on Camiguin for the rest of her life, and Genevieve shared what the Lord had been speaking to her about her wedding day. As she spoke, that same inner deep desire sprung up in Thomas’ heart, a deep desire to be her husband, to honour the way she had been following the Lord by giving her his life, to say ‘You are worthy of a good man’s love’.

Thomas shared all these stories with his spiritual director and he asked him, “You seem to like this girl a lot. Why aren’t you doing anything about this? Put yourself out there!” When Thomas returned to India, he remembered Genevieve once saying, “If you ever want to Skype, I’d be open to that.” She gave him the open door to catch up with her. So he emailed her and said “Can we Skype sometime just to catch up?” But on the scheduled day it didn’t work out, and it never happened after that. He emailed her twice saying, “Can we reschedule?” She never responded.

During those two years, Genevieve had absolutely no clue that Thomas liked her. To her, they were just friends, and they had fun together. Also, she thought her husband had to be taller than her, so she didn’t think of him as a romantic interest. But every time Thomas visited her team in the Philippines, they had a blast. She viewed him as a good, solid, trustworthy friend, and she saw none of the attraction or interest. Instead, because she knew other people who liked him, she kept hoping it would work out in that direction. Several times she was tempted to talk with him about other girls. The big question on everyone’s mind was, “WHO THE HECK WAS THOMAS IN LOVE WITH?” Genevieve was outraged on everyone’s behalf: “This kid comes in here, and he’s talking about marriage constantly, and when he finally can move forward, and the dating commitment is over, he’s SILENT!” She felt like they were good enough friends for her to ask him, “What’s going on?” But it never really felt like it was right, and in the end, she never did.

Thomas felt some doubts about whether she could be the right person for him because of her height. He felt that he needed a woman smaller than him. But the attraction remained.

Back in India in November 2016, Thomas had another moment that prepared him for Genevieve. He was on a train with another good friend, and they were talking. He had been struggling with intense fears the whole year, and he felt like he was far from being ready for a relationship. She asked him, “What if God wants to give you that gift even if you’re not ready?” Thomas felt the Lord’s mercy and goodness, as he prepared to return to the US a month later.

Next - Part 6 - Time for a Change

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