Patrick and I recently went on an adventure that took us to the 'Windy city' good ole Chicago. Patrick's brother Wade is getting his PhD at Loyola and we went there for a few days to spend time with him and to explore a new city.
Chicago is lovely. It's filled with big streets and even bigger buildings. Chicago tells beautiful stories with it's old apartments and creaky subways, stories of love and relationships past. It's coffee shops and book stores paint a picture of the ideas that were birthed there and of course there's something to be found in the deep dish pizza as well. Pizza that you think you'll be able to gobble up with ease but that is so deep that one piece fills you up. Similar to what happened with the pizza, I thought that I'd be able to see all of Chicago in just a few shorts day but instead of seeing it all I was swallowed up by small and vast beautiful portions of the city. I learned that Chicago, is a lovely city that is impossible to conquer in three days.
Wade and his roommates live in an apartment that's nestled in a super cute neighborhood called Ashland. Their place, though old, has a simple modern design and is the kind of apartment that I would want to live in if I moved to a big city. One of my favorite parts about the trip was spending time with Wade's roommates, Liz and Alex. On our second night in town we all went to a place called Green Mill and I had a conversation with Liz that led to me writing this post.
We were talking about dating and relationships and Liz turned to me and Patrick and asked "so when did you realize that you were each other's person? When did you know that you had found the one?"
I thought for a second before I answered. Thinking back to the day that I met Patrick and the romance that developed and was created after. I thought about all of the expectations I had for love and relationships and how far off base I was from reality. I thought about all of the movies I saw and the stories I heard about meeting your soulmate and knowing right away that they're the one.
That's not how things happened for me and Patrick, we definitely did not fall in love instantly. It wasn't this whirlwind romance that swooped us up and smashed our faces together in a passionate kiss. It wasn't cupids arrow that shot us in the butt and gave us dreamy eyes and heart palpitations. Even though I'm sure those beginnings make for a great story.
Our beginning was more subtle and housed more small flames then it did wild fires. I didn't meet Patrick and immediately see my future unfolding and I definitely didn't have flashes of being his wife and the mother of his children. When I saw Patrick for the first time in person, outside of Sugar Bakeshop in Denver, I was immediately attracted to him. He spoke to me and his deep voice gave me chills and when we hugged his embrace immediately made me feel comfortable.
The more Patrick opened up on our first date the more compassion and character that I saw. He shared stories that portrayed his sincerity and his heart for God and it made me have butterflies and feel so excited. As our relationship evolved Patrick showed me a consistency and a reliability that I had never experienced before. The lovey dovey feelings in the beginning were great but what was better was when those feelings faded. When they faded we saw that our relationship wasn't just built on feelings but rather so much more.
Patrick is my person and I'm his, not because of chance or feelings or cupid's arrow but because of small intentional decisions. There came a point in our relationship, where we moved on from the 'honeymoon phase' and we decided that a life together was what we wanted. We decided that we would always choose each other, that we'd always fight for each other and the love that has emerged from that decision has been a game changer.
It's not a love that I always tangibly feel, in the form of chills or butterflies but it's a love that I'll always choose. Patrick loves me well all the time. When I'm rude to him, he loves me well. When I get on his nerves, he loves me well. When he's tired, he loves me well. When he doesn't even feel like being bothered with me, he still loves me well. That's the kind of love I'm willing to spend the rest of my life with. I knew that Patrick was my person not when I felt it but rather when I chose it and when I saw that, no matter what, he consistently chose me.
I wish I could say that my answer to Liz was shorter than the above paragraphs but it wasn't. My eyes got misty as I thought back on all of the moments during our relationship where Patrick confirmed himself to be a man of unmatched character and integrity. I had to pause a few times as I talked so that I wouldn't cry because the reality of the life that we're building together is more beautiful than anything Cupid or some romantic comedy could muster up.
Eventually the conversation topic changed and the jazz music flooded over me. I glanced over at Patrick and for a moment it felt like no one else was in the room but him and I. I looked at his beautiful face and kind eyes and all of the butterflies from the beginning came rushing back. As the moment faded and the people in the room magically reappeared the butterflies and the chills disappeared and all that remained, was the most important thing, the love we chose.