IMG_3864I met Joel while I was dating someone else. We were at a party and we just hit it off. We finished each other’s sentences, saw the world in a similar way, and made each other laugh. I even joked that he had the other half of my “best friend heart necklace”. (remember those?)

Then I hoped in the car with my boyfriend and headed home.

I jokingly told my best friend I had just met my soulmate. He called his mom and told her he met the girl he was going to marry.

A month later he called asking if I remembered him from the party, wanting to know if I wanted to meet for coffee. Yes, I remembered him. No, I wouldn’t have coffee with him — I was dating someone else.

Joel didn’t give up. Several calls and date requests later, I gave him my email address. I remember thinking it would be easier to reject him via email.

For the next ten months Joel asked me out over a 100 times. And through my repeated rejection, we started becoming friends. Our emails got longer. The details got more detailed. The connection between us grew.

I didn’t know where to put it. Our relationship didn’t fit anywhere that made sense.

I remember when he spoke about interviewing for a job out of state, I prayed that he wouldn’t get it. I didn’t want him to move, but wasn’t sure what that meant.

When my boyfriend and I broke up (he broke up with me), Joel had already started dating someone else. I was jealous, and confused.

So when he told me he was at the laundry mat close to my house, I naturally grabbed my clean laundry, threw it in my car and headed to the laundry mat to rewash it.

We were there for a long time.

A week later he broke up with his girlfriend and we started dating.

5 months later we were engaged.

We’ve been married for eight years. And now I have cancer.

There really aren’t enough words to say about Joel. He is beyond description. Anything I would write would be cheesy and cliche’ — and he is better than that.

He has had to take over so much of our household chaos. And he’s been my rock. He has no doubt that I am going to be okay. He believes it with every fiber of his being. He lets me cry, and break, and fall apart, but then he lovingly reminds me that I am going to be okay.

Last night he shaved my head –like with a razor and shaving cream. It is never something I thought he would have to do for me. I didn’t dream about having cancer and needing my husband to shave my patchy disaster of a head.

He made me laugh. He told me I was beautiful. And he kissed me.

I told him: “I rather have cancer and be with you — then be healthy and be without you.”

And that my friends- is the truth.


4 thoughts on “Joel

  1. Melissa,
    You don’t know me but I am friends with your sister-in-law, Julie. We met at ISU years ago, and became fast friends! I have been reading your blog and praying for you every day. Clearly, you are an amazingly special person. A true inspiration and gift to others. God is working through you and allowing others to see how there can be hope and goodness among such difficult times. Joel is absolutely right…you are going to be just fine. You’re amazing. Keeping you and your precious family in my daily prayers!


  2. He is also really great at not making your friends feel like the third wheel when they are clearly the third wheel (especially on New Years!) I love that guy and love that he right there beside you. Thank you Joel!


  3. Loved the love-story! Mary & I fell in love with you two as we have had the privilege of walking with you on your marital journey from your marriage-prep, through the wedding and baptisms, and seeing you over the years. We hope to continue that journey with you. Just remember your priorities and how to reply to anyone who expects more of you than you can give at this time (including yourself!). And remember your daily prayer that Mary suggested, “God bless us and keep us safe from all harm.”
    Deacon Phil & Mary


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