I met him on a “highly qualified” blind date. I was 22 years old and had heard his name hundreds of times. He was in town for a speaking engagement, and a mutual friend called me last minute to ask if I would go on the blind date. I nervously said yes.
I spent the morning of the date meeting with a therapist for the first time. I was raw with a headache and puffy eyes from tears. I contemplated canceling several times. But God…
He picked me up right on time. He opened the door for me and then asked me to open up the glove compartment and pick out a coupon for dinner. He smiled. His playfulness put me at ease.
He started the conversation at dinner with, “I think we have a lot in common, but the most significant may be we have both walked through the pain of losing our dads.” I was simultaneously shocked and put at ease at his movement towards vulnerability.
We talked for hours about grief and life, and I told him about seeing a therapist for the first time that morning. He told me about his journey in therapy and how he had cut off hope after experiencing painful losses in life. Finally, he said with a smile, “This blind date is an attempt to begin hoping again.”
The depth of conversation that night was more than I had ever had on any date. As he dropped me off that night, he said, “Heather, I hope you continue to go to the dark places in your heart; those parts are beautiful too.” I nervously laughed, intrigued and afraid of the boldness in his words. Who was this man?
A month later, I survived a traumatic home invasion, and the dark places in my heart became darker than I could have ever imagined. I was afraid my internal chaos would push him away, but surprisingly he remained.
The next couple of years, we had ups and downs as we journeyed towards intimacy and connectedness. We were both accustomed to doing life alone, and the trauma I experienced from the home invasion only added to the messiness.
I thought I would meet the person I would marry when I was more “put together”, yet life brought him along at the exact point I was falling apart.
We married 2.5 years after the blind date and will celebrate 15 years of marriage this year.
He has stood beside me at graves and in delivery rooms. He has borne my anger, my anxiety, and my tears. He has held up mirrors to me and reminded me of who I am when I forget. He has forgiven me repeatedly and has witnessed me in ways that I did not know were possible.
Words are inadequate to express how his love has changed me and how thankful I am that I said yes to a blind date all those years ago. What a terrifying and wonderful thing it has been to be loved.
Heather Medley is a woman who is learning to be present and kind to herself and to the people she loves. She is drawn to engage her world with hope of restoration and redemption and gets to do this professionally as a therapist. She loves deep conversations over hot beverages, neuroscience research papers, and bargain shopping. Heather, her anchoring husband, and two delightful kiddos reside in the Northwest Georgia Mountains.