Today while spending time in a coffee shop where I used to spend entire days, I ran into a girl I’ve known since high school. I was jealous of her then, and to be honest, some of that jealous flared up again when I saw her this afternoon. It would seem I will often struggle with the same sins even years after they have begun.
But that girl is wonderful, and I’ve learned that in time. She works at the coffee shop so we didn’t talk long but she asked if I’d seen E lately. “He was my favourite person to work with!” she exclaimed and announced her disappointment that upon returning from six or seven months out of the country he had quit and moved to a different job. I smiled a little, the crooked smile that has hesitancy amid the cheer. “Oh, yeah, I’ve seen him, we’re dating.”
“I knew it!” she practically shouted and sat down a chair just a little too hard in her excitement.
“Yeah, that’s what most people say–”
“I always used to ask him–”
“Or people are like, ‘took you long enough!'” And we laughed because it did take a long time for us to move from friends, to best friends, to dating and who knows where that will turn. But then she said something I hadn’t considered.
“Sometimes, it’s better that way. Taking a long time.”
So often we (or I) have looked at the long friendship between myself and E as a period of waiting and turmoil on my part. It’s as though it is my fault. E would never say that. He was patient and didn’t mind the time, though I think there were periods of exasperation when I lamented singleness and he stood by, waiting, hoping, trying to snap off the blinders that I wore. But as my friend pointed out this afternoon, it isn’t a question of “fault” as though I had “problems” that I needed to overcome before we could date. Some of that is true, but that is not the truth.
The truth is, we waited because both of us felt that God wanted us to. I didn’t know my heart for a long while. He knew his but he knew it wasn’t the right timing–even if I had known my true feelings sooner. We took out time, we were friends and we prayed about what God was doing. When it came time for us to move forward, it was pretty clear.
I don’t know why it took so long, and I don’t think I need to. God has his reasons, some we will discover and others will always be a mystery. What matters is that we are moving, carefully, confidently and always prayerfully. God will reveal himself and his plans in his time–we just get to enjoy the ride.