Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Flying Dutchman

I've been formulating this post in my head for months. The inspiration comes from over 1 year of knowing and loving one of the best men I have ever known.

Our story isn't typical, and is far from normal, but that works for us quite well. We met the night I got back from my time at home last year for Christmas, and proceeded to spend every meal, every evening, and basically every waking moment seeing each other while we worked on the ship this past year in Togo.

We drank tea every night and talked while watching the container ships unload thier goods while rats and cockroaches ran around on our little dirty dock in Lome, Togo. For us it was strangely romantic, the dance of the rats and cockroaches. It became familiar, it was our thing.
We sailed for a total of nearly a month, eating our lunch on the bow every day and watching for whales (which he always saw before anyone else. The man loved those whales)

We saw sides of each other in every circmstance imaginable. We rode for 500Km on motorcycles to remote waterfalls, ate picknics and drank cold coka cola out of the bottle in every small city we passed. We drank coffee on deserted beaches on Sundays and played with the local kids who couldn't stifle their curiosity at the two yovos on an electric blue chineese motorcycle rolling up. When I asked him quite honestly if he had seen me violently throwing up during a hike (refer back to my last post about not hiking following a three week African stomach bug) he answered honestly, as he always does, with"No, but I heard you".

A friend wrote in her blog once about having a relationship start and spending the first months in Africa together. She said that having a relationship in Africa should be considered in dog years. I like that one, and anyone who has experienced this knows exactly what it means.

In South Africa we spent four months working hard in our seperate environments, coming together each weekend to spend hour upon hour talking about our week. He stayed with me on my 12 hour night shifts every Sunday and always gently held the babies as if they'd break when they would give us those 'I need some lovin' eyes' (or when they screamed, but I want this to sound poetic and that scenario doesn't fit).
We enjoyed life to the fullest African-style, all while letting our hearts break and also be mended for those who surrounded us.

Michiel has a heart bigger than the ocean he loves so much. To watch him interact with others makes me want to be a better person. He is patient, kind, loving, giving, and much more in a fruits-of-the-spirit-kinda way.
We came to Holland in February so I could get a chance to live with his family and get to know him in his own environment. Its proving to be a great decision in that we are learning, growing, and I am able to appreciate Holland beyond its tulips, windmills, and clogs (although those are all great things too)

Had it not been for God, Michiel would have left the ship when he was supposed to, 8 weeks after arriving. Without having met Jesus, he would have gone home, went back to work, and would be carrying on the same as before. Most of us who have had an encounter with such a being(Jesus) knows that life is seldom ever the same after that. It makes us do things like sell our cars, give up our jobs, baffle our friends (and many others for that matter). Michiel did all those things with a few phone calls and 14 months after arriving he finished on the Africa Mercy.

I could go on and on, but I'm not sure where to stop quite honestly. I could talk about his hours and hours of work to teach 5 local African volunteers from the ship each week the art of electronics. How he is still in touch with every one of them and reads me each email he gets from them with a smile on his face.
His simplicity in faith, love for people, and energetic personality make him irresistable. He is simply one of those great guys who people can't help but be drawn to.

So to wrap this up I will announce the news that as of May this year I will officially be Mrs. Flying Dutchman after a small wedding here in Holland. This seems silly, and I suppose is just more of a record for myself seeing as though this is old news in the social-network, but hey, I get to write what I like. And I like my Dutchie.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful testament to what God has done in Michael's life....and brought the two of you together. I loved reading your words about him, as I'm sure he did too - simply beautiful!!

So happy for you both. Congrats on the upcoming wedding. May God continue to Bless your marriage and lives together!!

Krista Photography said...

I'm so happy for you, Sue!! I seriously cannot wait to meet your HUSBAND this summer!!!!! :D