*Part 7 in The Tour Guide Series. You can read Part 6 here.
We knew that wasn’t goodbye. The only problem was figuring out how to have a long distance relationship and do it well. Up until now we’d only done Yahoo!Messenger chat. That was never going to do if we were going to continue this. So I bought a webcam so we could talk to each other. It’s free! Who knew?!? And it’s pretty darned amazing. Don’t get me wrong it’ll never be the same as being together, but at least we can see and hear each other.
As soon as The Tour Guide got back to England we were planning when I would come to visit him. I booked a flight for September which seemed like an eternity. In between May and September we really did bond and get closer. It may seem strange to some people, but a long distance relationship has it’s advantages. If both people are transparent and completely honest it can be a relationship builder. You can get to know the real person without the pressure of a physical relationship. Talking and sharing is all you have. We’ve pretty much shared every thought and emotion. There have been good times and bad times, scary times and excited times.
The connection we both felt was so strong it wasn’t long before we were talking marriage and The Tour Guide asked me to marry him. I was so in love and so happy that I said yes. We began planning how we were going to make this happen. We paid a retainer to an immigration attorney and began gathering the paperwork to file for a fiance visa.
That’s when it happened. I had a major meltdown. My cognitive dissonance started to kick in. I’d been witnessing to The Tour Guide this whole time. I’d been telling him how great Jesus is and debating with him the merits of creationism. That’s when he began to ask me the questions, unknown to him, that altered my faith forever. That’s when I began to really research divorce and remarriage. There were so many interpretations and I couldn’t figure out which one was right. So I broke off our engagement. It was all moving too fast and I had too many unresolved issues. I devastated him.
I began to frantically search for the answers to the questions that now haunted me. Questions of creationism vs. evolution. Questions of the historicity of Jesus. Things I’d never even questioned before. All because of one little question. All because of one big statement. “I’d like to believe in Jesus. If someone could knock on my door right now and show me some kind of proof, any proof that Jesus was the Messiah, I’d believe. But they can’t. I believe Jesus was a prophet, a teacher. But the son of God? Born of a Virgin? How does that work? There’s no evidence outside of the Bible.” I truly believed there was. I was on a mission to prove it to The Tour Guide. But the more I searched the more questions I had. That was not The Tour Guide’s intent. He admired and respected my faith. I think he honestly hoped I had some answers because my faith was so strong. And it all came tumbling down. I felt like a big fake. Was I really living what I preached? No. Sadly, I didn’t feel that I was.
We continued in our relationship and I went to visit him in September. We had a fantastic time as evidenced by the pictures we took and the places we went. I met his parents, his sister and brother-in-law and his two beautiful daughters. We had an instant rapport. His family is eclectic and beautiful. He showed me a fabulous time and I fell even more in love with the man who was strong enough to handle all my questions – who didn’t run out on me when I was at my worst and my weakest. I gave him ample enough reason to walk away and never look back. This all scared me half to death.
I flew back to the States with a knot in my stomach, not wanting to leave and knowing I couldn’t stay. I didn’t know how to handle any of it. What was I going to do? I couldn’t keep this loving, kind, beautiful person in limbo while I searched for my answers. I felt I had no choice but to end our relationship. And so, as hard as it was, that is what I did, promising to remain loyal friends.