From Belfast with Love: Part 4

11:20 PM

The days were flying too quickly in a blur of friends and family. As I sat in the car beside Nathan, I attempted to re-familiarize myself with driving on the other side of the road. Every right turn across a busy intersection had me squeaking in horror while pumping my imaginary brake pedal. Deciding to focus my thoughts on things other than imminent death, I let my eyes fall on the man next to me. It was sheer luxury having him right there beside me. In the words of Walt Whitman, 

"We were together...I forget the rest." 

Meeting his family had proved far better than I'd dared hope. His mother, a gorgeous, petite woman had welcomed us at the door. 

"Ach sure, ye must be tired pet after yer long journey and all. I'll just boil ya a wee cuppa tea." 

"Pet?" "Wee cuppa?"  

I melted under the charm into a little American puddle. Soon she and I were chatting away while Nathan grinned at me as if to say, "See I told you she wouldn't bite!" 

The following day, after church, we picked up Nathan's grandmother to take her to the family supper. Feeling quite chuffed with myself, at the previous familial success, I confidently went to the door to meet his "wee granny." As soon as we entered the house I knew I was in deep trouble. 

"Would ye leek to set an' rest fer a wee minute?" The dainty, older woman gestured graciously toward the sofa. And that was pretty much the last full sentence I understood the entire afternoon. 

 Sitting silently in the car and feeling helplessly foreign, I attempted to maintain a neutral but friendly expression on my face. This unfortunately gave the discomfiting effect of making me look like I suffered from sort of severe cranial trauma. Letting Nathan lead the conversation, I prayed she wouldn't ask me any direct questions in that beautiful but incomprehensible brogue. As we arrived at the house, Nathan leaned over, his eyes gleaming with pent up laughter. "You didn't understand a word, did you?" 

I moaned in chagrin. 

That evening, we attended an evening service at Willowfield Parish, the church I'd first visited 13 years before. Taking in the high arches around me, I let my mind reminisce to my time spent there as a naive teenager, in absolute awe of all things European. 

During worship, as Nathan sang away in his deep baritone, I surrendered this lovely relationship to the Lord. In those past six months, we'd walked with each other through so many joys and hardships. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that first coffee date over skype would lead me back here. Standing with him in that place was a miracle in and of itself.

And yet, I didn't dare hold onto my hopes too tightly. I was still waiting on my final "sign," absolute peace from the Lord.  Turning to me, Nathan smiled and searched my face no doubt wondering why I was studying him so openly. 

The following days found us driving all about the country, from Carrickfergus Castle, down to Annalong and everywhere in between. Everything seemed to take on a golden haze... the sun glinting off the trees, the clouds spilling over moody hillsides and oh, the colors! My eyes so accustomed to my 40 shades of brown drank in the greenery in all its splendor. 

At night the stars shone brightly above us and I wondered what it would be like to live in Northern Ireland. In every country I'd visited, I'd studied the heavens, adjusting to my place in the world, hoping to find somewhere I could call home. Had I found it at last?

On our last day together, we had the house to ourselves and Nathan cooked an Ulster Fry ( A Northern Irish breakfast consisting of sausage, bacon, potato and soda bread, eggs, a fried tomato and a coronary.) 

After breakfast, we sat and talked for hours. It was one of the sweetest mornings I've ever known. Morning stretched into afternoon and we decided to pray. As Nathan surrendered our relationship, hopes, and dreams to the Lord, it finally happened. It was as if God had walked into the room, laid His hands on our heads and blessed us. In that moment, I felt the "yes," my heart had been so desperately waiting for. Looking at Nathan, the lyrics of a song floated through my head...."Home is whenever I'm with you..." 

And then it was over. Just like that. Tears streamed down my face on the two hour car ride from Belfast to Dublin. Conversation proved fruitless as Nathan tried helplessly to dispel my crying fit. "When will I see you again?" my lower lip trembled like a little girl. "Ach sure, we'll see each other again soon. Don't you worry." He smiled with hopeful confidence. Sitting on the plane that afternoon, I allowed my heart to feel the ache of every mile that was stretching between us. And in my heart I wondered...Would I ever see that boy again?

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  1. Thats too much for my heart ;-) When i read this it feels like Uganda and Claudia all over again. Thank you so much for sharing your story and letting us be a part of it!! Greetings from the melting Germany <3


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