My Imaginary Girlfriend

Thirteen years ago this month, I met the woman who would become my wife. You could say that we are a statistic — a cliche, maybe? — having met on the internet. We lived about three and a half hours distant from each other. Not exactly convenient. So the first few weeks of our relationship was strictly by chat and email. No meetings. No way to tell if the photos were current, or even of the woman (hopefully a woman!) that I was chatting with! All we had was trust — a foundation built on “what you see is what you get”, even though what we saw was little more than lines of text in a chat box. But that was enough.

Luckily, all my friends and family were very supportive of us, even having never met her, though I can imagine how differently things could’ve gone…

“How can you say that you love her? You never even met her! I bet she’s 20 years older than her picture and a total psycho. You can’t trust someone you’ve never met. How can you even be sure that she’s REAL?”

Nah, that would never happen. Why would it? It certainly wouldn’t be PC to say where it is possible to find love :-p

I admit that my view is a little biased. After all, I lived it. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I fell in love with her without ever meeting her, so I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that it’s possible. I didn’t need to see her, touch her, feel her, kiss her, to know that she was real. I just knew. Some people who never experienced this might not be able to relate, though they’d never dissuade me from the love I felt for Mary because, hey, who were they to judge, right? I mean, it’s not as if they would make Super Bowl ads or dedicate monuments to their opinion that I was wrong!

Yeah, you know where I’m going with this.

Looking back now, I can see this as a microcosm of the Christian experience in an unbelieving world. We are repeatedly told by atheists that there is no God, simply because they cannot see Him or measure His influence in the world. They cannot “make God happen” so He obviously can’t be real.

Never mind the fact that I experience God everyday. But there again my experience is biased so it doesn’t count. I know God, and know that He’s real. I enjoy a vital, active relationship with Him. I would love people to know Him as I do.

Thing is, introducing my unbelieving friend to Christ is like introducing them to my then “invisible girlfriend” via the same chat box I was using. They can’t quantify that invisible person, can’t place their trust in MY experience because it is something THEY have not experienced, and that makes folks uncomfortable. It’s so much easier to call someone a fool, to say that they need to be realistic, that their love is in vain because they cannot verify their trust.

LOL Verify trust. Talk about a contradiction in terms. Trust is what happens when you CAN’T verify something, but you believe anyway. Past experience is no guarantee of future results. I’d met a number of psychos on the internet before meeting Mary. Experience told me that Mary would be a psycho too — that, ultimately, the “Mary” that I was falling in love with wasn’t real.

And here we are, 13 years later, and she is exactly who I thought she was, and I love her more everyday for it. I praise God that I know how to trust. And I praise Him that He taught that trust to me.

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