Your life can change just like that. My thoughts on relationships. My personal story about meeting the one.
My mom was 27 when she married my dad. She had me at age 29. As a child, I thought she was old. At 33, I was single with zero prospects. I was not even dating. This was not how I planned my life.
As a teenager, I mapped out the course my life would take. I would marry at age 23, and have my first child at 25, my second two years later. This quote resonates with me when I think about my life, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”
That is the story of my life. I guess that would be my life quote. Although I was single, I had an active and fulfilling life. I had a great career. I had a relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and my family was loving and supportive. I had great friends and I volunteered in church ministry.
My life was so busy I did not have a lot of time to think about my current condition. I was a single, black woman with no children at age 33. I did not have any prospects. Did I already mention that? Would the man of my dreams, the prince on the white horse, my Romeo, my Boaz ever find me? I would try not to think about it too much and focus on all that was good in my life. However, I would always have to respond to family and friends who asked the same questions: Are you still single? Why are you single? Are you dating anyone?
I was fine but I felt bad for them. They seemed so disappointed that I was single. Not just single, but single with no prospects.
I moved to Miami, Florida in December 2007 for a new career. It was an exciting position with a federal government agency. I only traveled to Miami twice before I moved there, but I decided if I wanted all the wonderful things God had in store for me, I had to accept His blessings in faith. I did not know anyone in Miami, but I felt that something was there for me.
I was right. I found more of me. Every year I discover something new about myself, but the discovery intensified when I moved to a new city by myself. I had to depend on God. There was no family or friends to catch me if I fell. It was me and the Lord.
Living in Miami was refreshing. The breeze from the ocean was inspiring. I was drawn to spending weekends at the beach with friends. It was as if I went on vacation every weekend. The warm weather year-round made my family and friends from Maryland jealous. While they were digging out of a snowstorm, I was stretched out on a lounge chair, taking in the sun.
My renewed sense of self made me dig deeper. It made me evaluate my life. It made me address pain and forgive. It was freeing. I lived in Miami for five years. I thought I would meet Mr. Right in Miami, but he never showed up. Instead, I found something better, me.
I moved back to Maryland in May 2012, with one goal in mind––to buy a house. I transferred with my current employer to an office in Washington, D.C. It was a new start. A new office. A new city.
My first day in the office, I met Althea. She had a sweet southern accent that I picked up when she talked. She was medium build, and height. She was a little shorter than my 5’8 frame, but I did not tower over her. Her skin was brown and her hair was black. She asked me if I was single or had kids. My response to both inquiries was no.
“You know what. I have the perfect guy for you,” she smiled.
I was not sure how she knew the perfect guy for me when I had only known her for twenty minutes, but she was convinced. The next day she brought a man to my desk.
“Bernard this is Ciara. Ciara this is Bernard. Bye.”
“Hey where are you going?” Bernard blushed.
“I’m a let you two talk. See ya later,” Althea rushed off.
“So where are you from?” I broke the silence, as it was unbearable.
“I’m from Georgia,” Bernard replied.
“Oh ok just like Althea.”
The small talk continued for a few moments before Bernard shook my hand and said the appropriate closing pleasantries when you meet someone.
He seemed nice, but he was not “The One.” He was not my type. There were no loud bells ringing and I did not tingle when we shook hands. I did not hear the angelic background music I expected to hear when I met “The One.”
I told Althea that I was not interested. She seemed annoyed. Rather, she seemed upset. She gave me the silent treatment for a few days, which did not bother me.
A few months later, I purchased my first home. Now that the stress of looking, closing and moving was over, I had time to think. I was still single with no prospects. I had been single for eight years. Why didn’t I give Bernard the time of day? He was nice. He was attractive. He obviously had a job.
Was I subconsciously sabotaging potential relationships because I was afraid? At that moment, I realized I was afraid to be vulnerable. I was not sure if I had an issue, but I knew who had the solution. I prayed about getting to know Bernard. Shortly after asking God if I should give Bernard the time of day, He gave me the confirmation I needed to get to know him.
I sent Bernard an email. I figured after I rejected him before, I should start slow. Not to mention he could be in a relationship by now. He responded to my email within thirty minutes. Emails progressed to texts, texts progressed to phone calls, phone calls progressed to lunch dates, lunch dates progressed to evening dates, and all of these things progressed to love.
We knew we would marry each other just a month after dating. This was different. A man never looked at me the way he did, like I was his everything. Nine months after started dating, he proposed. He proposed under a beautiful summer sky on my patio. While the fireworks dazzled the sky, he got down on one knee and told me I was the woman he wanted to love for eternity.
Three months later, we got married. It was a fall wedding. Althea was there, so were our friends and family.
It was perfect. It was unexpected. It was our season.