His debut on my world wide web was September 2010. It was a covert debut. A photo of our shoes. We were sitting in the Raleigh airport, talking through our week together and cautiously planning the next trip. I took a snapshot that has become a lasting memory (and might need to be framed sometime soon – hint, hint).
I first publicly mentioned Canada in November 2010 and covertly mentioned the time I’d met some Canadians in Uganda, but never fully explained the *real* reason I’d visited Canadaland. A few weeks later, I blogged about all my travels — referencing briefly my time across the border.
I posted photos of yet another trip to the northern regions in January 2011, but no photos of the one I’d gone to visit. By November 2011, I was still posting about my time in the snowy north, but – again – all with purposeful vagueness.
I first blogged his name on December 31, 2009. He was standing next to me as I took these pictures from Christmas 2010. He assisted me at this wedding from November 2011 and at his brother’s wedding in January 2011. He shared all the little moments I relished in February 2011.
Even though he’s been a huge part of the past several years, I’ve never published all the photos we’ve taken along the way. Oh, I’ve taken photos. Tons of them. (Duh. I’m a photographer. Everything is a photo op.) But these weren’t just any pictures — these were adventures on film, a documentary of our journey from Uganda to North Carolina to Canada; a documentary that couldn’t be published until the story was fully established.
Its our story.
Our love story.
It all started in Uganda. While I did laundry and cooked food and cleaned the outhouse, he built shelves and cabinets and wired the house for solar electricity. Oh, and he put up bamboo-reed walls in the duplex we were living in so that for the first time in two years I actually had walls on my bedroom instead of just a corner of a room and a concrete floor. Did I mention this was in Uganda? A long long long way from home? Oh yes. It was.
When we climbed up Volcano Island, watched the Gila Monster waddle through the underbrush, and wiped spiderwebs out of our hair, I never in a million years would’ve EVER dream that three years later we’d be 108 days from our wedding day. But God knows what He’s doing, and this is a reality far better than I could’ve ever concocted. Its my love story. Coordinated by a gracious God who intersected the paths of a Canadian and an American in Uganda and brought us from acquaintances to friends to forever.
And its been good.
Our adventures in the past three years have taken us from Uganda to Vancouver to Greensboro to Vancouver to Kernersville and back and forth a couple more times, but in 108 days we get to start the biggest adventure of them all: an adventure that will continue until o – say – 60 years from now. (Assuming the life expectancy doesn’t increase dramatically as modern medicine becomes more advanced.) Its an adventure that will carry me and all my earthly possessions 3000 miles across the country and into a new country. Its an adventure that will send this patriotic American into the world of coffee-drinking, hockey-playing Canadians. Its an adventure that will be the biggest of them all.
But despite the 3000 miles, the inconveniences along the way, and the drastic changes coming in the next months, I’ve decided that John is worth it.
John is worth it because I can see him daily striving after Christlikeness.
John is worth it because he makes me laugh. All the time. His wittiness boggles my mind.
John is worth it because he knows me…and still likes me.
John is worth it because he has been my number one cheerleader for the past several years — in all areas of life, but especially my photographic dreams.
John is worth it because he’s fought through the challenges of a long distance relationship and gone the extra mile (no pun intended) to make it work.
John is worth it because I can see the fingerprints of God all over our friendship…and the relationship that was built on the friendship.
John is worth it because every.single.day, it boggles my mind that I get to marry the guy with a cute accent who knows how to wash dishes…by hand…in Uganda…with no running water…and no electricity.
Now this is a good adventure.