yeah… for some reason I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately. Anything in parenthesis is from Rob 🙂
Q. Is this a joke?
A. Everything is a joke. No wait, I’m kidding.
No, it’s not a joke and I really seriously am engaged. It’s surreal and I feel a bit like someone who won the lottery, or at least how I think I would feel because that’s never happened.
Q. Does this mean you are moving to Norfolk and/or does this mean Rob is moving here?
A. And like someone who has won the lottery, asking them what they are going to do with the money is a bit overwhelming. We don’t know all the details yet. We know we want to spend our lives together and we know that we are committed to doing whatever that takes. We just don’t know what that will look like yet and we truly appreciate everyone who has offered advice, offered help, commiserated, told horror stories, etc. We aren’t exactly the most private of people, so you can be sure we’ll let everyone know when we know. In the meantime, if any of you get a word from God, do fill us in.
Q. When are you getting married?
A. So, Rob, what are you doing this afternoon? (ROB: I can make that work :))
haha totally kidding!!! We have a general timeline of late December. We do know this is a crazy time of year and that it will preclude some people from joining us. We really are sorry about that and it’s our hope for EVERYONE we know to be there. Seriously. I would be PSYCHED to see all 1000+ of my/our friends and family at my wedding 🙂 maybe we’ll televise it… has anyone had a streaming wedding ceremony on Facebook? Maybe we should call Zuckerberg and see if they can sponsor us.
Q. How did you meet? How long have you been dating? Who is this guy any way?
A. So the church I go to and work for as the Music Director has been looking for a lead pastor. Over the past year we’ve had guest preachers coming and going and they have all been fantastic, albeit in very different ways. But probably the stand out, and I’m not just saying this because he happens to be 1. my fiance and 2. reading this, (ROB: and editing-contributing), for me and I know for many others, was Rob Wootton. His style was casual but sincere and deeply engaging, (ROB: thank you). Not as engaging as when he asked me to marry him, mind you, but you know what I mean. Out of all the pastors that came to preach, no one ever got FAN MAIL, like Rob did, (ROB: fan mail? really? that’s not hyperbole?). People wrote to me and to Camper our Associate Pastor about Rob, asking who he is, is he a candidate for our lead, is he coming back, etc.
All that said, I did not meet him at that time. I don’t generally actually talk to the guest preachers most of the time unless there is a reason to. Sunday mornings are a little bit rushed for me and I don’t have a lot of time to go chat with people, and for the most part, I’m not exactly looking at the pastor going oh he’s kinda hot. Most of the time, if not all the time, that’s completely inappropriate. After church though, a nice woman happened to mention to me that he was not wearing a wedding ring and then another woman commented on how he must be good for someone in our church, you know, since we have so many single women.
The following week, he came back to our church and in his sermon mentioned Facebook THREE TIMES. Several people in church looked him up because he was practically begging us to. In retrospect, Facebook actually has played a huge part in our relationship and maybe we really should try to contact Mark Zuckerberg because this could be a good PR, human interest story?
So a very dear friend encouraged me to contact Rob because he is an artist and thought that he might have interest in showing his work at City Arts Cafe. Sure, that sounds like a plausible enough excuse to contact a mostly total stranger on FB who just happens to be a handsome single preacher. I too thought, well he has to do for somebody I know right?
And then he totally ignored me for about a month.
I’ll let him pipe in with his excuses and what was going through his head. But I’ll just say that this is proof again that timing is EVERYTHING.
(ROB: so the excuse is that I don’t use my FB messages like I do email, as a to do list. so I got the little red notification, read it and promptly forgot because I’m forgetful, one too many hits to the head, literally)
So about a month goes by, I still don’t have enough artists for our next arts event and our dear friend Camper mentions Rob casually in conversation asking, hey did you ever hear from him? I might have said something like, no the jerk ignored me completely, what’s up with that? And shortly after that, I was reviewing (read: stalking) his FB page and some lyrics caught my eye (lyrics and music would also play a gigantic role in our relationship) and I really wanted to comment on it and since I couldn’t because of his privacy settings, (always a plus that the guy knows how to set privacy settings) I sent him a friend request.
Ahhhh the friend request. I could write an entire separate blog on the friend request and it’s many nuances. Maybe I will. Not today though.
I know better than to say it was fate, so again, it was just timing. We got chatting back and forth all day and then the next morning, I got a message asking if I wanted to meet him later.
(ROB: from my perspective I get a friend request from some chick I didn’t know and since I decided awhile ago that if I get a friend request from anyone that I have some mutual friends with and they’re in some circle I’m a part of , I accepted. I saw that she was at Grace Covenant, we had a couple of mutual friends, I accepted and then this, as near as I can tell single chick starts commenting on a number of my posts. I start responding, and later that day I realize that I was flirting in public on FB with her. so I sent her a FB message to take our discussion out of the public eye. We traded FB messages for a whole day, all day, and the next morning I asked her to meet me for drinks that night.)
This was mid-June, nearly 2 months after he preached at my church and just 3 (ROB: 3.5 – the fractions count or 11 weeks) short months ago.
You could say this is fast and you’d be right. You can also say when you know, you just know. And you’d be right there too. We all know couples that have known each other for years and don’t work out. We also know couples who met and married faster than you can say prenuptial agreement, (ROB: not that we need a prenup … do we? 🙂 and by all accounts, there just is no magic formula for these things.
Sure on paper, you can have this general checklist of things you know you want and those things that are super important to you. Been there done that. Rob rates high across the board on every thing I know I need and most of the things I want. (ie I really thought I wanted someone who knows all the lyrics to Rage Against the Machine songs, but I guess that isn’t all that important to me).
(ROB: Rage against the what? And since I’m far more spiritual, I wanted someone who would swim in the ocean with me but more importantly I wanted the freedom to be fully known and loved and I am.)
Add to that this overwhelming sense that God put us on the same road at this particular point in time and gave us enough common interests and a general sense of wanting to know more and seeing where this goes, and you do have this specific formula for us that equals yes. Five bazillion times yes. (ROB: AMEN!)
Over the next months we would talk nearly every day and email several times a day and every conversation was fun, interesting, encouraging, some harder than others, some downright horrific. But what struck us both a hundred thousand times was how similar we were in the way we process things and how similar our stories were though obviously with significant differences. But we learned a lot of the same lessons through different life experiences and came to the same conclusions which is so vitally important.
Through both of our personalities, which are strikingly similar, and through spending a lot of time together – whether in the car because we are an hour away or trips – we both sensed the kind of connection you can’t ignore. And Floydfest was huge for us to spend that much time together and still be dating afterwards. Plus we both enjoyed camping and being outdoors and playing in the rain storm and just enjoying great music and good food and trapeze acts and well, Rob gave a sermon on it. Well, not on Floydfest exactly – but on enjoying life while still waiting in the tension of the “now and the not yet.”
(http://gracecovpca.org/media.php?pageID=34 click on Aug 5, 2012)
Anyway, there have been a hundred signs all along the way that have pointed us towards each other and we have both been seeking wise counsel from others who know and love us, those who know both of us separately (the less than six degrees of separation has definitely contributed to our sense of peace about all this and has been a huge gift from God) and everyone has been exceedingly supportive and gracious and are often as excited as we are. That is always a good sign!
Q. So no diamond ring?
A. I have never wanted a diamond ring. Not really into diamonds as a general rule – for several reasons ranging in political, to societal, to just being ornery because everyone else likes these things. I have long had difficulty with doing things just because everyone does them and tradition should mean something personally to me or else I won’t do it. Therefore, Rob decided to make me necklaces and rings out of wood that he hand carved and sanded and those mean way more to me than any gem would ever mean. Honestly, he could have given me a black sharpie and I would have said yes. (obviously he wouldn’t have done that, although it definitely would have made me laugh.)
Q. Will you have a big church wedding? Who is going to marry you? Will it be in Williamsburg?
A. The general plan is to get married. The rest is kinda up in the air and so I think that mostly we are not going to do the whole nine yards like many couples do. We’re not about pomp and circumstance and I definitely cannot see myself choosing color schemes and napkin engravings. Unless Facebook wants to donate something with their logo on it…
Between the two of us, our families and friends, we know a few people (ROB: yeah … just a few … thousand). We also could come up with a pretty sizable list of ordained ministers both in and out of the PCA which is our denomination in case you’re wondering – the denomination of Tim Keller and Jesus… just kidding… and if we had everyone we know who is ordained and would like to do something for our wedding, we would be there all day. That said, we would love for everyone to be part of this because let’s face it. This is pretty amazingly awesome and we cannot wait to celebrate with everyone we know and love. I seriously would invite five thousand people to come but since I am not in the royal family to my knowledge, it will need to get cut back a bit. By about three thousand.
So I guess the short answer (way too late for that now) is stay tuned. If you’re reading this, you’ll know the plan when there is a plan to be known.
Q. What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
A. African or European? And we are not suggesting coconuts migrate.
(ROB: What?! I don’t know that … ahhhhhhhhh!! and that’s an appropriate response to most other questions, it’s a good ahhhhhhhhh but ahhhhhhhh still the same.)