By Jonathan David Faulkner
I do not remember what the weather was like on March 30th of 2016 at 6:16 in the morning. The sun may not have been up yet or maybe it was just peaking over the tops of the trees behind the parking lot that dominated the landscape out my dorm room window. Just back from a work out, scrolling through matches on Eharmony, finally clicking on the picture of the girl I had been matched with two weeks prior. Reading the words; “I am looking for someone I can do ministry with.” Clicking the communication button, getting a near instant response, not sure what to expect, still doubting if I should even be on a dating site at all, finding the instant and constant communication until you had to go to work very refreshing and kind of nice. If I had only known this was not going to be a passing conversation like so many of my previous matches I had communicated with. If I had known that six months later I would be getting down on one knee and asking you to marry me, I may have been less nervous or maybe I would have ran away for fear of the unknown.
A week into communicating we shared our weaknesses. You opened up to me about your very mild Autism Spectrum Disorder (Asperger’s). Making an extra effort to reassure me that it is very mild, saying that: “I would not know you had it if I had not been told.” Explaining to me the many challenges that this brings to your life, leaving me in wonder at how you worked in a noisy environment every single day. Taking care of babies, meeting their constant needs, stepping totally out of your comfort zone and peaceful inner world to do a job that overwhelmed you most days, I admired that, I was beginning to admire you. As I talked to you about my own disability you were gracious and kind in your responses, reassuring me that it did not change your desire to communicate with me and later reassuring me that it did not factor in your decision to date me. I remember being blown away by that fact, for so long I had been so afraid no one would want to marry me for that reason. You showed me I was wrong.
Then there was the day we skyped, talking about our pasts, the hurt and pain of broken relationships and the hardships we had both faced at the hands of the church. We talked about how God had brought healing into our lives and how much we had grown in love for Him over the previous year. About how our faith in Him had been strengthened through your ASD Diagnosis and mine through the concussion and subsequent year of recovery that took me from my comfortable pulpit in Kansas to my dorm room at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. About being raised in Pastors households and the calls of God on our individual lives, each conversation, finding ourselves liking the other more and more.
And how about the first time we skyped, oh how nervous I was, we both were, not sure what to expect but knowing we were starting to like the other. It was a beautiful moment for us, seeing each other for the first time, conversing as if we had known each other for years. We were very intentional about our friendship, grounding it first in the word of God and in our love for Him and allowing Him to build it up and take us deeper. Encouraging one another to walk closer to Him daily, each time I liked you more, each time I spent more time searching in prayer to discern God’s intent for this. I met with my older sister, a counselor, to learn more about ASD so I could better care for you and build you up. We got closer and closer and closer, I went to Ohio to visit one of my spiritual sisters who was graduating from college and you went to California to your brother graduate and we stayed in contact. We talked about meeting, I bought a bus ticket. I came to see you, I talked to your dad, we started dating and things just kept getting better.
We found we could communicate, you let me into your comfortable, organized world and I started to fall in love with it, with you. Then one day, when I was out for a visit, with the fear trying to drown me I told you, I said it, looked you in the eye and said “I Love you.” We were sitting on the living room couch, still trying to shake off the last vestiges of sleep. The first ones up, as we are both morning people, talking about something, I do not remember what it was.
Not to long after that we shared our first kiss, on a foggy morning down by the river where I would propose two months later. It was perfect, as perfect as something can be on this Earth. So natural, so gentle and so loving, then we spent a good deal of time talking about being careful with such a gift because we wanted to honor God.
In August you met my parents
In August I asked your parents for you hand
In September school started and two hours began to feel like 2 days.
In spite of that we still grew closer, we came out stronger, on October 7th I washed your feet and asked you, my best friend and sweetheart to marry me and you said yes. Making me the happiest man on the planet at that moment, taking the hand of this pauper and walking with Him and with God into whatever is next.
Yes, 7 months ago I did not know you, but now I cannot remember what life was like before you. Your inner-world is such a beautiful and wonderful place to be. Your kind and gentle love reminds me first of Christ and points me straight to Him. I get to love you, with those big, tight hugs that you love, rocking you gently back and forth while reassuring you that you are the only one for me. I get to love you, I do not just want to love you, I do, but I get to love you. I like you, I love you, you have brought so many colors into the world of this blind man.
Baby, we are never gonna have a lot of money, we are never gonna have a big house or a nice car. But we will have each other, we will have the love of God and the love of friends and family. We will have the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ which has brought us together and, in 7 months, bind us together as husband and wife.
When Love bursts forth, beautiful and wonderful things happen. Healing is found, hearts are warmed and others are touched. The Gospel is shared and the greatest example of Christ’s Relationship with the church is seen by all who are watching.
My beautiful Bookend