Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On Sunday October 10, 2010 a group of friends and I went on a drive up the Alpine Loop in Utah to skip church and see pretty autumn leaves. It was fun. We talked. We laughed. We drank specialty sodas and ate cheez-its.

On Monday October 11, 2010 several photos from the adventure were posted on facebook by the one and only Philip Smallwood. A friend of Phil's, John Garlock, came across these photos and to quote him: "It was love at first sight." John had been living in Salt Lake after graduating from the U but had just moved back home to Irvine, CA a month or two prior to the facebook encounter.

John was curious how he had never seen or heard of me before and then I show up in these pictures with all his friends from Salt Lake. He called Phil and inquired, "Phil, who is the babe in those photos with you?" "That's our friend Lindsay. She's from Boston. She's going on a mission in a couple months." "Oh, stuuuuupid," replied John. (But not stupid enough to keep him from facebook and blog stalking me until I left on my mission!)  John wasn't going to church in those days. He hadn't for a long time. Over the 3 months from when he first saw me to when I went into the MTC in January he would say to himself, "John, you don't even go to church! Why do you have this dumb crush on a girl you don't even know who is going on a mission!?"

So on January 5, 2011 I went into the MTC, never having met, seen, heard of, or interacted in any way with John Thomas Garlock. And as my facebook and blog activity came to a stop, so did John's thoughts about me.

Jump forward one year...

I'm a missionary in Sylmar, CA.  One day I receive a letter postmarked January, 17 2012. The letter is from a guy I've never met or heard of before... a guy named John Garlock. In the letter he briefly explained that we had some mutual friends and he had recently become reacquainted with my blog and saw that I had an address posted and he felt like he should write me. It was a GREAT letter. I loved it. He told some stories, mentioned some quotes he liked, all very uplifting and supportive. So I wrote him back.

Now to go back and explain what had transpired in order for John to start writing me... as I mentioned before, John had not been active in the church for a long time. But a couple months before writing me he had begun making some big changes in his life. A lot of good was coming his way and he had started praying again to show his gratitude. With time he just didn't feel like that was enough so he started attending sacrament meeting. One sunday in the singles ward he was attending.. the Bishop really encouraged anyone who was only attending sacrament meeting to stay for all 3 hours. John committed that he would stay that day. As he attended the 3 meetings 3 things were impressed very strongly upon his mind. The first, that he needed to go home that day and break up with his girlfriend. (Craaazy.. he was thinking) Second, that he needed to get back to the temple. And third, that he was going to be married in the temple. As he came out of church that day he didn't just know those things were what needed to happen in his life, they were his goals. His desires.

Now finding himself suddenly girlfriendless after a long term relationship John was feeling what he likes to refer to as "girl energy." In the past it had been put to more selfish use. We've all done it.. chasing girls/guys, playing games, etc. But he felt this time that he wanted to put this energy to positive use, to help someone and not put the focus on himself. So he prayed to know what to do. He asked that he might know the Lord's will and how to do it.

And then one morning he woke up with me stuck in his head. He wondered what had ever happened to me or how I was doing. So he jumped back on facebook.. relocated my blog and started reading it again. Saw an address and thought almost jokingly, "I should write her..." and then felt very seriously that he really should write me, that I needed it and needed to feel appreciated. And that it wasn't to be about him but about me. And even though he thought it was crazy and that I would probably be so creeped out... he did it. He wrote me a letter.

And to his great astonishment, I wrote back. And then he wrote back. And then I wrote back. After a while he sensed that I was having a difficult time. I had been put in a new area with a new missionary and was really struggling. John picked up on that and started sending me mail a lot more frequently. He didn't wait to get my responses before sending something. They weren't always letters. Sometimes just a postcard with a song lyric, or quote. Sometimes he would send stories or excerpts from books he was reading. He'd send talks he liked or weird pictures. He sent me a package for baseball season's opening day filled with bubblegum, crackerjacks and some red sox paraphernalia. It got to the point where I was getting something in the mail from him almost every day or every other day. For mother's day he sent me a Hello Kitty apron. And for my birthday he sent a box of Hello Kitty pens and paper and stickers.

I loved writing John. I loved his letters. We just understood each other so well and jived in all the right ways. As strange as it is.. we became very good friends through those letters. And we were only about an hour 1/2 away from each other the whole time.

Well after months of writing letters, it was time for my mission to end. I got home June 13, 2012. I had been in the mission home a couple days and was staying with some other sisters before that so by the time I got home it had been several days since I'd heard from John and I realized that I really missed him! So I added him on facebook, but that was it. I was busy with weddings and roadtrips and all sorts of stuff and I think he was letting me take some time to decompress, but I didn't want time. 

So we started talking on the phone, a few hours every night. And we loved it. We loved each other's voices. And we wanted to meet. So on July 12th John flew out to Utah and rented a car and came to stay at my house! He got in pretty late, around 10:30. Only Emma was home with me. I was so nervous. And super awkward I'm sure. But I gave him a big hug and it felt like I'd always known him. We hung out with Emma for a while and waited for my parents to get home. Then we stayed up late late talking and cuddling. And then he kissed me. And I liked it. A lot. 

That weekend we fell in love. We already loved each other from letter writing. I know I did. I cared about him a lot. We knew each other so well. But that weekend it all changed. We went hiking, we danced at a wedding and rode bikes in the rain around a Reggae festival in downtown Ogden. We slept over at my family's cabin at Alta with Claire and Nate. We swam in a freezing lake. We went to church. I taught gospel doctrine. We had sunday dinner with my family. And Sunday night I told John I was in love with him. And we cried a lot and held each other and he said that he was in this for the long haul and that he wanted it more than anything else he'd ever wanted.

He left monday morning but by friday he was flying me out to see him in California. He picked me up at the airport with a sign that said, "The Ultimate Babe." I was there a week. Met the whole family. Went to the beach. Played with his nieces non stop. Went to the fair. Went ring shopping. (I know.)

The next time John flew out to Utah we got engaged. It was Friday August 10th. I had been home from my mission just 2 months. We went to the temple together. Took engagement pictures. We were making it happen.

Being apart was a bummer. But once we were engaged it was nice to have some projects to keep me busy. Finding a dress, making wedding invitations, etc. John flew out again Labor Day weekend for Phil & Kassi's wedding and then together we drove back to California in our first major purchase together. The miracles that made all of this possible are too many to even begin describing. The car, the housing situation that was made available to me in Irvine, so I could be close to John... it was all touched by the hand of the Lord. 100 percent.

Our wedding day was exactly 4 months after the day I got home from my mission. It was 3 months from the time that John and I actually met in person. It has been a WILD ride and I have no reason to believe that is not going to continue on for the rest of our lives together. We both feel incredibly blessed to have been given this gift that neither one of us feels we deserve. We recognize God's plan in all of this and feel so grateful for His love, for offering us this chance at an incredible life together.

I didn't know what love was before John. He is incredibly selfless. Everything he does is for me/us. He thinks of me first every time. He is the sweetest, kindest, most genuine and loving man. I won the lottery without even buying a ticket. That is how I feel. And it's only been a few months. We have no idea how in love we aren't yet. It is just going to grow in all dimensions and deepen and become strengthened all around.

Our relationship isn't perfect but we work perfectly at it. We each give it everything we have. And we bring the Lord into it every day. I don't know a better man than John. He's my everything.

And that is our story. It's not the beginning necessarily and is most definitely not the end. But it's all we know right now. We can't wait to build upon it. It is just going to get better and better.


kassidi bridge said...

You guys are the best, and I love you both!

tifsong said...

this is a beautiful beautiful story. miss you pretty pretty thang. can we stay pen pals?