When I got back home I knew I’d have to tell people I was engaged. What was I going to do? Wait until we got married and say, “Surprise! I have a husband!”? Somehow I don’t think that would work out too well. Though I must say it would be easier to tell people I’m engaged if I had an actual man to go with the ring. Most of the people I’ve told have never met him so I get some strange looks. Oh well, who cares? So this isn’t normal. What’s normal anyway?
First I told Karen and Thomas. Karen has pretty much thought this whole thing was cool from the beginning. She’s payed attention to how The Tour Guide treats me and she knows how much he’s stood by me. Karen just wants me to be happy and if the The Tour Guide makes me happy then she’s all for it. Thomas really likes The Tour Guide. We all had a great time while he was here. I’m not sure if it’s the nature of his job in law enforcement or if it’s his personality, but he’s suspicious. I’m not sure what he’s suspicious of except that he told Karen he thought maybe The Tour Guide was just interested in immigrating to America. This, however, is coming from the man who is suspicious that his shadow seems to be following him a bit too closely. Nothing to be concerned about, really. He doesn’t have a reason to be suspicious, he doesn’t need one to be. I’ve considered offering him some of my medication for the paranoia, but I’m not sure that Celexa works for that.
I didn’t want Sam to hear it from someone else so I told her next. I called her and asked if I could come and speak to her. So once again I found myself on her sofa, this time telling her that The Tour Guide and I were engaged. “I know I reacted harshly when you talked to me about this before. I hope you took that as me caring about you and not wanting you to get hurt. Are you going there or is he coming here?” “We’ve talked about it, and logistically it’s better for him to come here”, I said. “In that case do whatever you want. I guess I need to try to get to know him. I hope he’s worth it. I hope he’s good enough for you. I’ve racked my brain and for the life of me I can’t think of anyone that is. You’re the best and you deserve the best. I want you to be happy.” Wow, I had no idea she felt that way. I really thought she was angry, and I still think she was to a large degree. But I was honored that she said those things. It really meant a lot to me. “Trust me, after everything I’ve put him through he’s passed the test with flying colors. He’s a good man and I don’t deserve him.”
Then I told Tessa and Danny. “What? You went to England, with rings, knowing you were going to get engaged and you didn’t tell me? How could I not know this? When’s the wedding? What kind of wedding do you want? Are you planning to have children? ” On and on it went. She and Danny are genuinely happy for me. When The Tour Guide came for his first visit they both told me after he left that he’d be back. “We saw how he looked at you. He adores you. That’s not the last time we’ll see him.”
There was just one more to go. Grace. When I told her she asked, “Did he ever accept Jesus?” My reply, “We won’t be unequally yoked. He’s as much of a Christian as I am.” You see, the first time The Tour Guide was here, when we hosted the dinner party, Grace and Bill were invited. I’d made arrangements with all of them ahead of time. When Grace found out that The Tour Guide was staying at my house she was upset. After all she is the one that said if I pursued a relationship with him that there would be opposition. When I called her to confirm that she and Bill would be at our dinner party she said very flatly, “Bill and I have talked about it and we both hope this is what you want and that you’re happy, but no, we won’t be at your house for dinner. We don’t feel like we should be involved in this. We love you, but we have to avoid all appearances of evil.” Evil? Really?
Later, after the Tour Guide flew home I reached out to her again and asked her to lunch. Asking her what she meant by that she replied that she thought maybe he was the reason my marriage ended. Again? Really? “No, Grace. That’s not what happened. I would have thought you would know me well enough by now to know that if that was what was going on I wouldn’t drag my friends into it. I wanted to include my friends because I value you and what you think, but obviously I didn’t realize just how little you thought of me.” Needless to say our friendship hasn’t been the same since. And that’s okay with me. We’re still friends, and I love her, but I can hardly see how it will ever be the same. Not because I can’t get past it, but I’m not sure she can. People are afraid of what they don’t understand. I do hope that maybe, with time, she’ll put that thought out of her head.
What I know is that I can’t please everybody. I’m done with my days of trying to do that. I researched that unequally yoked passage. I tried my darnedest to “convert” The Tour Guide. At the end of the day he’s taught me some very valuable life lessons. One: You can be good without being Christian. Two: You should accept and love people for who they are and the way they are. If you don’t it’s not really love. And three: I was entirely more prejudiced and judgmental than I thought I was. He’s broken down a lot of my preconceptions and prejudices and challenged my thinking in many areas. He sees people from the inside out. That’s a beautiful trait to have.