Laying Out a Fleece

Dearest Rachel –

Considering all the concerns I’ve voiced about Ruby, you’ll probably find it weird but we still haven’t made arrangements to at least meet face-to-face and determine once and for all whether we’re right for each other. That’s the trouble with that kind of distance; even though we’re still in the same county, Orland Hills is a long way to go to meet someone – and it’s a fairly long way to expect someone else to come to meet me. Yes, I know ours was a long distance relationship, but when we met, we lived within walking distance.

By contrast, the fact that I’ve just woken up this morning with a plan of sorts (don’t look at me like that; I can make plans, if I try hard enough) to meet… uh, let me call her Austrine for now… seems a bit precipitous. But sometimes, you just get this nudge, and (like with any idea for a letter), you have to act on it right away before it dissipates and you lose the opportunity.

You see, while I am writing to you, and for the most part trying to set aside the fact that someone else might be reading this, I know that there are those people who do. Some of them are even fairly close to me and my life (which is a whole other series of letters – some of which have been alluded to, some of which are yet to be told, and some which will never see the light of day), to the point where they are able to move my story in a direction with a few words of suggestion. This, as it happens, is one of those times; just last night, barely a few hours after I sent you my last letter, Erin, Daniel and I were chatting in the parking lot after Sparks.

“You know, I really think you should look into this [Austrine], instead.” She’d already read the letter, and was offering her unsolicited advice right away.

Well. That was something to think about.

I’ve complained to you in rather great detail about how I can never seem to recognize what God’s will is with regards to major decisions I find myself having to make. I keep expecting the clouds to part, and a basso profundo voice to declare “this is the way I have chosen for you.” It would make things so much simpler. But as much as I am not allowed to say that God cannot do that, I find myself convinced that He does not do that, which for all practical purposes might as well be the same thing. Either way, it doesn’t happen, and I’m left stumbling around, hoping I’ve made the right decision.

To be fair, when it comes to matters of the heart, such a decision is not made unilaterally. Two people have to screw up simultaneously in order for this one to go wrong. Then again, that happens all too often, so just because he and she agree, it doesn’t amount to much as far as whether the decision they’re about to make in within His will or plan.

So sometimes, the best thing to do, along with praying, is to accept outside counsel. And here I find myself receiving some, out of the blue and immediately after wondering aloud about this girl.

So does this mean I’m treating Erin’s word as the voice of God? Of course not. Well… kind of. Look, as Facebook would put it, ‘it’s complicated.’

Besides, it’s not as if I’d be expected to get down on one knee right now and offer Austrine a ring (unless it’s one on the phone – which, since I don’t have her phone number yet, isn’t an option at any rate). No, this is just the first move in what could be a fairly long progression. There are a great many steps between now and expecting her to water my camels like Rebekah.

(Incidentally, ‘water my camels’ sounds like one of those unusual euphemisms that the boys fromWhose Line is it Anyway? would have used in that one game, don’t you think? “I’d let her water my camels, ifyaknowhatimean.” I don’t know what it would mean, but it just sounds funny – which is the point, after all.)

If nothing else, there are opportunities to test whether this might be a good idea (let alone God’s will) or not. Considerate a case of ‘laying out a fleece,’ like Gideon – and that yellow-belly actually had God speaking to him.

The nice thing about our geographic proximity is that I can do this with minimal disruption to either of our lives. I’ve let her know that (assuming she has no problem with it – I don’t want to be seen as stalking her) I’ll be attending a service at her church (which I can do without even abandoning our church, since I can attend that on Saturday evening. I’ve talked to Daniel about this, and he’s agreed to go along with it). If she sees me, and wishes to speak to me while I’m there, that’s great; presumably, things can go from there (why, I can even think of a restaurant to check out together afterwards, should the scenario play out positively). If not, I know at least one other person there I’d like to chat with before taking my leave and writing her off with no hard feelings.

So, while this may seem sudden, it’s mostly because it can be. It would be nice to have something settled expeditiously for a change. But that won’t be for the better part of a week, yet.

Until then, honey, wish me luck. I’m going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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