I never believed in ‘love at first sight’. I do believe that all of us can feel certain emotions and feelings upon first sight, but for the simple reason that we can also experience those same emotions and feelings even in our dreams, I don’t consider those happenings as being certifiable proofs of having fallen in true love. No, I believe that each man and woman has the freedom to choose who they will love and take and hold as their spouse.
This belief of mine was only reinforced the day that I met Lesia. We met through a good friend, just as many great romances begin. Actually, Joshua is my friend, but he is her brother, and even though he and I had only met two years prior, somehow he knew that she and I would be perfect for each other. I know it all sounds terribly cliché, and, indeed, the triteness of it all is just one of the reasons why I resisted his well-intentioned matchmaking for some time.
Not that it was easy in the least. Josh could sell paper to a tree; water to a fish. He would talk to me about Lesia at no length, and he was beginning to wear me down.
He and Lesia had come from a famous family, so the paparazzi had often photographed them and there had been many written books about their charity work and purported scandals. The things that we do to accumulate money and fame in this world never cease to amaze me. Josh found it in his selfless generosity to give me a copy of the ‘authorized’ biography about their family, and it was substantially refreshing to read the truth about those whom I had only heard rumors about for most of my life.
Eve’s greatest mistake was to enter into dialogue with the Serpent. I said, “Josh, I read the book you gave me about Lesia and your family, and she seems to be even more remarkable than you’ve described. She’s beautiful, complex, wise, and sophisticated.” Similar to Eve, I also found the object of my attention to be pleasing to the eye and desirable.
“So, you want to meet her?” he asked.
“I don’t know. . . . She seems a bit too high maintenance for my taste actually, and she is obviously too religious for my liking. You know how I feel about that!”
“Look! Just trust me!” Josh insisted very aggressively. “Once you meet her and get to know her, you’ll forget all about that trivial stuff. Trust me; you two were destined to fall in love with each other.”
“But have you even told her about me?” I retorted with equal vigor.
“Of course I did! She is very excited to meet you.”
“Josh, that sounds ridiculous! Why would your sister, who has it all, be excited to meet someone like me? I don’t have anything to offer her.”
Moving tight into my space and putting both of his hands on my shoulders, Josh calmly spoke to my fear and insecurity in saying, “Daviyd, my dear friend, that is exactly why I believe you two are a match made in Heaven. All you have to give her is your love, and, ironically, all she wants is to be loved.”
As I said before, Lesia was a very desirable woman, and, honestly, she seemed to be exhactly what I had been searching for all of my life – so, I acquiesced. It was mid-February 2006. I had just turned thirty-four and was still somewhat bitter after having had endured an eight-year marriage, which ended in a nasty divorce.
Joshua had arranged for all three of us to attend Sunday Mass together at the local St. Joseph parish, but, unfortunately, he had to leave town early that morning on emergency business. So there I was all on my own. I am not sure that going to Mass together qualifies as being a first date and neither was it technically a blind date but was it awkward? Terribly so!
However, Josh was very much correct. I think I knew as soon as I walked into the nave. Lesia’s presence filled the entire room. It was as if she knew that I had entered the assembly, even before we shook hands. She was the quintessential image of all beauty, and her modest attire only accentuated God’s artisanship.
On television and in magazines she always appeared to be regally high-maintenance and posh, but, in person, I could honestly feel her humility. It was awe-inspiring. I had just met a woman who I wanted to be like. Imagine a man saying that! Incredible!
Our first Mass together was so memorable. For many months thereafter, I had even remembered the homily, which was a shockingly new experience for me. Moreover, I now felt like Josh does. I too found myself telling (almost evangelizing) everyone about Lesia and introducing her to all of my friends.
As for our own courtship, it was progressing very well! The woman who I had been civilly married to, before my conversion, left me when I went to prison for embezzlement. I confessed to Lesia, “As much as we seem to be right for each other, I just don’t think that I will be able to trust a woman ever again.”
For some reason, I expected her to get upset or to leave me standing there, because we had become close in just a few weeks, and I should have told her about my emotional pain much earlier, but, instead, Lesia took away my anxiety with the warmth of her words – she said, “Daviyd, I will never abandon you. I love you. I am here.” I believed her every word.
It might sound weird, but when Lesia speaks, your heart just knows that what she is saying is true. The Spirit of God is truly with her!
One day, as we talked about our childhood, we ended up laughing for hours after realizing that our paths had in fact crossed before. My grandmother owned a home near one of Lesia’s sisters. I remembered riding my bike past that house every summer – it was large, forest green, and always full of guests. What a small world we live in! For a moment, we wondered what would have happened if we had met as children, but concluded that this was the hour that God had prepared for our love affair to begin. Do not arouse, do not stir up love before its own time.
When it is quiet and he is all alone, every man will oftentimes think about those two or three women whose love he squandered in the cesspool of this youthful immaturity. I am glad that I met Lesia after I had become a man.
Lesia does this odd thing whenever we come together. As soon as I sit down, she starts singing a song. It is so cute! I know I probably sound like a lovesick puppy but bear with me a moment longer.
One day I asked her why she does that, and she said, “Because I know that you are tone deaf, it is good that I share my gifts with you.” Boy is she right! O’ Lord, how I would love to be able to sing on key and make a joyful sound in your Heavens but thank you for the gifts that you have given me to share with others.
It tickles me sometimes how refined and proper Lesia is, but I love all of the little rituals and traditions of her family. In my home, my mother would set out all of the utensils in no particular order, but, according to Lesia, everything must be in its proper place at table, and the bread must always be at the center of it all. Because her family came from the Middle East, they always heavily emphasized bread during their meals.
I was not as put off by Lesia’s religiosity as I thought I would be. The fact that she places Christ Jesus at the center of everything in her life caused me to reevaluate whether I too had invited Jesus to be the King over all of my life or just some of it.
When my friends and family found out that Lesia and I were getting serious, most of them were very supportive of us, but others were indifferent.
“So you’re marrying a Catholic?” my sister asked in her most indignant and shocked voice. “What happens if you two have kids? What will they be? Are they going to worship Mary too?”
I couldn’t understand how people, who didn’t even know her, could hold so many opinions and assumptions about her based only what they had heard in idle gossip or read in the tabloids. I became a professional at defending my woman. I believe the passion for that comes naturally to those who are madly in love.
By April of that year, Lesia and I had decided to spend the rest of our lives together. I told my daughters and the rest of my family, and most of them were ecstatic. She introduced me to the rest of her family as well, which was an experience I will always treasure.
Her father, who everyone just calls ‘Father’, is awesome. Before I knew him, I thought he was a bit aloof, distant, and disinterested, but it was my happy chance to discover how personable and intimate he is. He truly is all love and is an amazing storyteller.
Her mother is truly immaculate and full of God’s love. She is definitely a living saint, and Lesia is just like her mother. Today, it is my deep joy to call her my mother as well.
I hadn’t seen Joshua since February. He is a strong, peace-loving, save-the-world type, who travels all around the globe giving fully of himself to anyone who believes in his cause. When I finally saw him at the family gathering, I expected him to brag about how he told me so, and he did. “I told you that she is perfect for you!” he said, sporting the biggest smirk I have ever seen in my life.
“You were right my friend. I will never doubt you again.” I meant those words too!
I’ll never forget August 8, 2006 – the day that I spoke my vows to Lesia in the same building where we first met. Taking the name St. Joseph, I promised in the Ecclesia (that’s long for Lesia/Church) that, “I believe and profess all that the Holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.” To which she responded by giving me the kisses of her mouth.
The great thing about being married to Lesia (the Church) is that the housewarming gifts never stop coming. I don’t know exactly how our story will end, but I do know that we will live happily ever after in Heaven for having known, loved, and served God because this is what we were created to do.