Story - Audrey M. - as submitted.
When Ryan read the words We need to talk his heart sank, and I knew the heavy conversation we were about to have wasn’t going to be fun. I started out by explaining how I was really praying about what had happened, and how I searched out God to know whether this is the right timing for us to be in a relationship. I shared with him a story God reminded me of. When the Israelites walked around the walls of Jericho seven times, without even the slightest sound, it wasn’t until God gave Joshua the command for them to shout that they truly had victory. It was the timely and attentive obedience that allowed God to bring the walls crashing down.
In Ryan’s mind all he could think was, ‘Wow, that was the shortest relationship ever.’ In my mind I was just thinking, ‘I just want to get through this without crying.’ I told him that I knew God had asked me to take a big step, and I asked him ‘Would you be willing to not talk to me for a year?’. There I said it. A year. But that’s such a long time! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t argue with God a bit and try to negotiate 6 months. But it was very clear, He said a year. I knew that if it was going to work out one day, a year would seem like nothing, because in the end it would be worth it.
Ryan agreed to breaking off all communication, even Facebook and texting. It went from the most exciting news to the most humbling moment within 24 hours of each other. Our conversation didn’t really linger too long after that and although it was slightly depressing, our goodbyes were met with a peace that everything was in God’s hands and we were simply obeying Him.
Fast forward to May 20th, 2011. It was one week away from the year being up. I was out with my mom when I got a text from Ryan. It said, ‘Would it be okay if I came to see you next week?’. I got a little flustered, but I answered him, ‘Yes.’ You have to understand something: there’s a lot of details that happened within 365 days of not talking. In fact, there was a moment when Ryan tried to reach out to me and moments where I’d look up Ryan’s friends to see their Facebook posts that included him. Those were the messy moments; the things I kinda wanna forget because they didn’t contribute to what this whole year of silence was supposed to be about.
That one week felt like eternity, but by the time May 27th rolled around, I found myself with nervous butterflies as I drove into the airport parking lot. Ryan made his way out of the terminal, and walking intently right up to me, he dropped his bag, and held me by the shoulders and said, ‘I am so sorry.’ I felt his sincerity, but the words fell flat in that moment. More conversation needed to be had before I could really accept his apology.
There was zero game plan as to where we were gonna go or what we were going to do. I just knew we had a lot to talk about. I ended up getting lost, and we found ourselves at the Milwaukee lakefront. Not a bad place to end up, right? As we walked along the lake, we both shared what the year was like for us, first his perspective, then mine.
He knew he had his ‘stupid’ moments, and at one point in the beginning of the year I had experienced a spiritual lull instead of making this time of silence a time to grow in my relationship with God. Aside from our weaknesses, we found that the last 3 months of this year of silence is when God really took hold of our hearts and showed us what He wanted for us. We grew closer to the will that He was preparing. Ryan and I may have silenced our conversations between each other, but we also took the time to stop and listen to what God was saying. God humbled us in those last few months, and I am so grateful He did. It would have been worthless to see zero change in our hearts after a whole year, and come out being the same people we were going into it.
We eventually sat down on a bench, and Ryan felt that this was the moment of truth, where do we stand now? Ryan had the confidence to ask ‘Do you still feel the same way about me as you did a year ago?’ My answer was “I do.” Maybe that was the wrong way to say it (if you know what I mean). But regardless, it was a weight off of both our shoulders to know that we could move forward with our relationship, knowing we had made things right with God and with each other.
Just when you thought everything was over, there came the time for Ryan to meet my parents. My dad understood that we didn’t talk for a year, and Ryan was only coming for one night. So after a brief introduction, dinner, and bonfire afterwards, Ryan still had a question to ask my dad. No, not a question of marriage. He wasn’t that brave. By the end of the night, Ryan wasn’t shy and came out and asked ‘Would you let me date your daughter?’ For all you millennials: yes, guys still do that, and dads respect that to the uttermost, even if their answer is no. My dad’s answer wasn’t a yes or a no though. He just said, ‘Can I sleep on it?’ And Ryan, without any hesitation, responded, ‘Absolutely sir.’