I am married to the love of my life, Jeannie. It wasn’t an easy path to get there. I’m going to tell you how I met Jeannie and how God played a central part in our meeting. A mutual friend and a radio station were also involved…
I made a deal with God. I didn’t seem to be able to do relationships. So I would do whatever He wanted. That was my commitment.
I had a friend Lee Lee who I helped with her computer. She went to the same church. She told me she had a friend who I would really like and was like me who also went to our church. I told her that I wasn’t interested. What I didn’t know at the time was that she was also saying that to her friend, Jeannie – who also said that she wasn’t interested!
One day I was at Lee Lee’s house helping her with her computer. Jeannie was there also, helping Lee Lee, after she had a car accident. I liked the look of Jeannie and tried to have a conversation with her but Lee Lee kept interrupting!
I would phone Jeannie periodically over the next couple of months and just chatted. We became good friends. She and her son had been on their own for 9 years.
I listened to SonShine FM and won tickets to a concert. I wondered who to take and decided to ask Jeannie. I was still only thinking of Jeannie as a friend. We went to the concert (Margaret Becker for those who are curious). Our first date. We didn’t hold hands but through the concert we just leaned on each other – like magnets that are attracted to each other.
Jeannie asked me what I was doing the next day. It was my weekend without my sons so I wasn’t doing anything. She suggested fish and chips in Fremantle, with her son. I was happy to go.
The day after, Sunday, we also agreed to meet. I was aware that this had the potential to go somewhere but didn’t want to make the same mistakes I had made before. I prayed about it and very clearly felt God tell me that this would only work if both Jeannie’s and my priorities were aligned.
So I asked Jeannie, “what is the most important thing in your life”. She thought for a few seconds and said “I could say that my son was. But really, God is the most important in my life”. I knew that was the only answer that was ok.
That afternoon (our 3rd date) we agreed to get married. Friday, 15th September 2017 is the 22nd anniversary of our first date. And I love, respect and appreciate Jeannie more now than I did then.
So my recipe for love is:
- 2 broken people
- 1 Amazing God
- 1 caring friend
- And possibly a radio station
The photos do not capture the chaos of the streets in Ho Chi Minh City – sometimes still called Saigon. The teeming of thousands upon thousands of scooter riders. They skilfully weave in and out of any place possible. They take traffic lights to be recommendations only. Red lights can be gone through. If you don’t go directly through a red light you can jump your scooter onto the pavement and go around the red light. No problem. One way streets are recommendations only too! Pedestrian crossings are everywhere but people don’t stop for you. You confidently and deliberately cross there and the traffic will skillfully navigate around – well so far anyway.
Went to Ben Thanh markets. Clothing, tropical fruit, food of all description, electrical items. Woman tried to sell us a T-shirt. She started at 320,000 dong (about Au$20). But we had seen one, pretty much the same for 55,000 dong. We told her that so she dropped the price to 60,000 then 55,000. We weren’t happy with the tactics so we walked away – she called us liars! Not sure what we had lied about. Went to the other stall and bought T-shirt for 55,000. Marked price, no haggling.
Sat and had coffee and brunch – watching the world go by (steamed rice, salad and a chilli/veg dressing plus honey braised pork) was the same price as the coffee – about $2.75 @. And they were good.
We got soaked to our undies coming home – but all good. Skin is waterproof.
Many people know that love for the Greeks had at least 4 meanings. These are:
Eros – romantic or sexual love. But the Greeks didn’t always think of it as being positive, as we do today, as it was viewed as fiery and involved a loss of control. Yet we hope to “fall madly in love”.
Philia – brotherly love or friendship. To the Greeks it spoke of loyalty or comradeship.
Storge – especially of parents and children. This is a natural empathy, maybe also the feeling for ones country or favourite sports team.
Agape – the highest form of love, God’s love for us. This is selfless love – we can do nothing to earn this, sometimes known as “gift love”. It is unconditional love.
If you want to read more have a look at: More on Greek words for love.
Interesting to reflect that we most often use the heart as a symbol of love – which we connect to our source of emotions and connection.
But to my revelation about love. How many times have we read “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”? We know that this is true, but why? We can say that God is love so that makes it true. Yes. But I got to thinking when we die what will remain for us? Faith? No, we will not need faith anymore as it is the “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”. We will have certainty then.
Hope? No, we will not have to hope anymore. Again, we will have certainty.
Love? Yes, yes, yes! Love will remain. No prizes for knowing that the love talked about in “But the greatest of these is love” is agape love.