Roman was in the park, tying the laces on his running shoes when Janice walked up to him. He glanced up. “What are you doing here?” he asked.
“I’m here to see you, of course,” she replied. “I missed you yesterday. We all did, especially the kids. The annual church picnic just wasn’t the same without you there. As usual it was a fun-filled day of food, games and fellowship.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t be there but I didn’t feel up to it.”
“Is everything okay with you, Roman?”
He finished tying his laces and stood up, stretching. “Yes, everything is okay with me. Is that why you’re here, Janice? To check up on me?”
“I’m not checking up on you. I just wanted to come by and see how you’re doing.”
“Well, I’m doing fine.”
“Frances is a bit worried about you…”
“Did Frances send you?”
“No, she didn’t but she called me last night because she was concerned about you and I promised her that I would pop by to see you.”
“Sometimes Frances acts more like my mother than my sister. She has her own family to take care of.”
“You are family. And if there is something that is troubling you, you really don’t have to deal with it alone–”
His mouth tightened. “I don’t need a therapist.”
“I’m not here professionally, Roman, but as a friend. Please, can we find a bench somewhere and talk?”
“I’d rather not talk about my personal life right now,” he said.
“All right. We won’t talk about you.”
“What will we talk about?”
“Anything that doesn’t make you uncomfortable.”
“Okay. There’s a bench over there.”
She followed him to the bench which faced the lake and they sat down. “This is the second time in five years I have been to Hyde Park. I had forgotten how beautiful it is. Do you come here often?”
“Yes. It’s where I come to relax and unwind and it’s close to where I live. But, you already know that. Did you go to my flat first before coming here?”
“Yes. Frances told me that if you weren’t there, chances were that you were here.”
“What did you hope to accomplish by coming here?”
“Well, I hoped to see you and spend some time with you.”
“What about your boyfriend? Wouldn’t he have a problem with you being here with me?”
She looked down at her hands. “Roger and I aren’t seeing each other anymore.”
“How come, if you don’t mind me asking.”
“He’s a non-believer. I knew that before we started dating but foolishly I believed that I was his best chance for knowing Jesus. I knew what I should do but wrestled with it for a while because I cared for Roger. I prayed about it and spoke to my pastor. He said that any emotional attachment a person had toward another person who is not on the same spiritual page or vice versa, is an unhealthy attachment. He told me to heed God’s Word about being unequally yoked and end the relationship and move on. Which I did.”
“When did you break up with Roger?”
“That’s very recent.”
“Yes. Sometimes it feels like it happened just yesterday. I know that it’s for the best, though. I had no idea that I was doing what Pastor Brown called, missionary dating.”
“What would he call being in a relationship with someone you have doubts about?”
“What sorts of doubts do you have about Jenny?”
“I have doubts that she’s the woman I’m meant to be with.”
“How long have the two of you been dating?”
“And you still have doubts about whether or not she’s the one you want to spend the rest of your life with?”
“Yes.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “I just can’t shake the feeling that this relationship is all wrong for me and that I should get out of it.”
“Any time you have doubts, you need to take notice and deal with them right away. I once read something that James T. Draper wrote which said, ‘Doubt never means yes and always means no or wait a while: God does not lead through doubt. If you can’t get peace, that is an answer.’ Don’t ignore the signs that are there. Have you shared your concerns with Jenny?”
“Yes, I have but the doubts are still there.”
“Pray about it.”
He sighed. “I will.”
She glanced at her watch. “I’m afraid I have to go now,” she said, getting up. “If you need to talk some more, call me.”
“All right. Thanks.” He watched her as she walked away and then he leaned back against the bench and closed his eyes. Lord, what should I do about Jenny? I don’t want to hurt her but I can’t ignore all of these doubts.
He waited for several minutes and then he got his answer. “Jenny is not the one for you. It is time to end your relationship with her”. He opened his eyes and reaching into his pants pocket, he took out his cell phone. He paused for a moment before punching in the numbers. It rang a couple of times and then she answered.
“Hi, Roman, I’ve been calling you all morning. Where are you?”
“Hi, Jenny. I’m in the park.” His fingers gripped the phone as he added, “May I come over? I need to see you.”
“Sure. You sound a bit funny. Are you all right?”
“Yes. I just have a lot of things on my mind. I will be there in half-hour.”
“All right. I’ll see you then.”
He ended the call. He put the cell back into his pocket and stood up. As he walked out of the park and headed home, he thought about what he was going to say.
That evening, Janice had just finished watching In Touch with Charles Stanley when her phone rang. She got up and went to answer it. It was Roman.
“I ended my relationship with Jenny this morning.”
“How did she take it?”
“Not good, I’m afraid.”
“That’s as expected. How are you doing?”
“Not well. I feel rotten.”
“It’s never easy to break up with someone you love.”
“Did you love Roger?”
“No. I cared for him but I wasn’t in love with him.”
“This experience has taught me that loving someone isn’t enough to make the relationship work. I love Jenny but I can’t be with her because I know that we wouldn’t be happy.”
“My grandmother once said that just because two people love each other it doesn’t mean that they are meant for each other. The nagging doubts you had about Jenny was evidence that you aren’t right for each other. I’m sorry that things didn’t work out for you, though.”
“So, what are you going to do now?”
“Do you remember Lisa Williams?”
Janice knitted her brow. “Vaguely.”
“She’s one of the mission trip organizers and she invited me to go on a mission trip to Ireland for ten days.”
“Are you going to go?”
“Yes. I believe that a mission trip is what I need right now.”
“When do you leave?”
“Next week Monday.”
“Well, I hope you have a good trip. One of the best ways to recover from breaking up with someone you love is to do something entirely new. Going on this trip is probably what you need to do. You’ll see new places and meet new people. Think of it this way, God has called you to partake in His work of transforming hearts and lives in Ireland.”
“Yes, I believe He has.” A pause then, “Thank you, Janice, for being there for me.”
“What are friends for?”
“I’ll call you when I get back.”
“All right. Take care.”
She hung up and stood there for several minutes then she went back over to the sofa and sat down.
The trip to Ireland provided just the catalyst Roman needed. God used the experience to take him out of his comfort zone through street ministry and to bring him closer to Him. His eyes were opened to the love of God spreading to a community of people who knew of Him but didn’t know Him personally. Ireland was a beautiful place but the highlight for him was sharing the simplicity and beauty of the Gospel message with people. He hoped and prayed that their hearts would be transformed.
On the flight back to London, he thought about the trip and how thankful he was to have been a part of it. He remembered the different areas they had traveled to but Cobh stood out for him. It was a beautiful and colorful town. He learned that it was the Titanic’s last port of call and visited the Titanic Memorial Garden there in Cobh. It was also where the survivors and the dead from the torpedoed RMS Lusitania were brought. A monument was erected to commemorate the tragedy.
As he stood at the Cobh harbor looking at the colorful buildings huddling together facing the water and the boats and St Colman’s Cathedral, one of the tallest buildings in Ireland, looming over the town, he thought about Janice. He was sure that she would love the place and on the spur of the moment, he bought her a postcard. He wrote something on it and then dropped it in the mailbox. He had a feeling that he would be back in London before the postcard arrived.
He glanced at his watch now. In about an hour they would be arriving at London’s Heathrow Airport. He was looking forward to being home. As soon as he got in he was going to relax on the sofa and watch some television. Although he still thought about her, there were no reminders of Jenny in his flat. Before leaving on the trip, he had cleaned house, removing photos of her alone, of them together, souvenirs they had brought back from trips and things she had given him. It was tough doing that but not as tough as severing all contact with her.
He deleted her from his email account, blocked her from Facebook, blocked her cell, home and work numbers. It had to be a clean and complete break. Thankfully, they didn’t attend the same church or it would be really awkward and difficult running into her. He decided that it would be best to phase out her friends from his life as well. No ties with them or her family or anyone in her circle. Another clean break. He would make new friends and reconnect with old ones–have his own social circle. And as far as dating again was concerned, he wasn’t ready. He was going to be single for a while. He believed that “being single is definitely better than being with the wrong person (Hassan Choughari).
Being single felt a bit strange at first after having been in a four year relationship but he got used to it after a while. He traveled more, got involved church ministry and community service. His life was busy and fulfilling. Two years had passed and Jenny was a faint memory. The last he heard of her, she had gotten married to a guy she met at a Singles’ Retreat. He was happy for her but it only proved to him that the doubts he had about her were God’s way of alerting him to the fact that she was not the right woman for him and he was not the right man for her. She was with the person she was meant to be with and he was going to trust God now to show him who the right woman was for him.
Lately, he and Janice were spending more time together. He enjoyed her company. They went hiking across dramatic cliff-tops and river valleys with breathtaking views of the white cliffs of Seven Sisters, Beachy Head and the Cuckmere Haven river valley. They had lunch at The Cuckmere Inn. Last Saturday they went bowling with Frances and her husband, Ken.
Tonight they were having dinner at a family run Italian restaurant. “I got your postcard from Budapest yesterday,” Janice told him. “It must have been nice seeing those grand palaces, cathedrals and art.”
“Yes, it was. It seems like all of my postcards got home after I did, though.”
She smiled. “Well, except for the one from Montreal.”
Roman reached over and covered her hand with his, his expression serious. “Janice, I’ve known you for a very long time and you’ve always been a good friend to me. When I was going through my struggles with doubts about Jenny, you were there to counsel me. Lately, we have been spending a lot of time together and during this time, I have developed romantic feelings for you. I feel such peace when I’m with you.
“There are no doubts or concerns. Our schedules don’t conflict. We both have time to go to church, serve God, and enjoy spending time together. I enjoy being with you. Thinking of you excites me spiritually and emotionally. Talking to you is so easy. I feel so comfortable sharing very intimate thoughts with you. I feel that I have your undivided attention. And everyone thinks you’re terrific. Janice, I want to be in a relationship with you.”
Janice stared at him, her heart was pounding. She could hardly believe it. Her prayers had been answered! “I want to be in a relationship with you too, Roman,” she admitted huskily.
He smiled and squeezed her hand. “Are you up for dessert?”
She nodded. “Yes. I keep thinking about that Chocolate fudge cake.”
They began dating from that night and six months later, he proposed. The wedding took place the following summer. Frances was her matron of honor and Ken was the best man. It was a small and intimate wedding. They honeymooned in the Grenadines.
After a walk on the beach following dinner, they went back to their room with its stunning view of the sea. They stood facing each other, both nervous and excited at the same time. “I love you,” Roman muttered thickly. “I waited for more than two years for the right woman and God led me straight to you.”
“I love you too,” she murmured. “A wise woman once said, wait for the man who waited on the Lord to lead him straight to you. I waited for you and God led you to me.”
Roman reached out and taking her by the hands, he drew her to him, his eyes dark and stormy with desire. He bent his head and kissed her. When he felt her response, his hands released hers to cup her face as he deepened the kiss. She put her arms around his waist and pressed against him. The kisses became more passionate and soon, they were tugging at each other’s clothes, wanting to be free and to feel skin against skin.
Picking her up, he carried her over to the bed where in the moon dappled light, they made love for the first time.
Sources: CBN; Heather Lindsey; Facts and Trends; Huffington Post; Bustle; World’s Missions Alliance; She Knows; Huffington Post; RFWMA; Irish Central; Wikipedia; Self Growth; Pinterest; Walking Club; Belief Net; Nina Andres; Cotton House