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One

There’s a girl I’d like you to meet,” Chad mentioned casually as he suddenly appeared in the doorway to his older brother’s office on the way to his own bright and early Monday morning.

Really?” Greg responded good-naturedly, looking up from his computer and the detailed report he’d been working on since before dawn.

Yeah,” she’s the daughter of a friend-of-a-friend, Chad tried to explain hurriedly before Greg could say no.

Trying to keep an open mind, the man in question turned his full attention towards his brother and invited him to take a seat.

Knowing how much his little brother really did care for him, (as well as having observed how happy he had become since his own engagement only a few weeks ago) Greg decided to give Chad at least a chance at being the matchmaker he seemed to want to be.

Are you serious?” Chad remarked as he practically fell into the seat, dumbfounded. “You’re really going to listen to me this time?”

Well … I suppose it couldn’t hurt,” Greg acknowledged, smiling and rolling his eyes at the same time.

Even I must admit I don’t know it all. Maybe I was wrong in thinking the girl of my dreams would just suddenly appear out of nowhere when I least expected it … maybe I really do need some help finding her after all.”

So, here’s the thing … Chad slowly and reluctantly said with a sheepish grin, “never in a million years did I think you’d actually be open to listening to me – your younger brother – so, unfortunately, now I need to go back to my friend and actually get the woman’s phone number and see if she would be willing to go on a blind date with you.”

Oh, well, that sounds just great … very promising … what do you even know about this woman?” Greg now asked, looking at his brother incredulously.

My friend says she’s been interested in geology since she was a little girl … so, you

two would have something in common, right?” Chad mentioned optimistically, hoping his brother would still give it a chance.

Just because I’m an environmental geologist doesn’t mean I necessarily want to go on a date with someone interested in my chosen profession,” Greg declared even as he realized his earlier gut feeling that God would bring the right woman into his life at the right time wasn’t wrong after all.

Having to explain himself to his brother revealed the truth he knew deep down in his heart: Love wasn’t just about common interests … it was about something much, much more … it involved the soul as well as the spirit. Love was really about two hearts merging together as one … two hearts God Himself drew together.

Yes, Greg had to admit sometimes God involved other people to get things started – as in the case of blind dates. But other times, when God’s still, small voice prompted someone to wait for His timing and His revelation it was best to just trust … and obey.

As he pondered the thought, Greg knew he had to revise his earlier statement.

Actually, come to think of it,” the man told his brother quietly, believing that sometimes a short answer was best, “I think I’ll pass.”

♥♥

So, how did he respond?” Claire asked her fiance’ excitedly when she called him later that day.

Well,” Chad replied hesitantly, “not as I expected.”

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” the woman wanted to know.

Well, to tell you the truth, I’m not entirely sure, sweetheart.

At first, Greg surprised me by actually considering my idea. But then, when I had to admit I didn’t exactly have everything worked out, he mentioned something about not caring if the girl liked his career or not and said he’d pass.”

That’s all he said?”

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.”

Well, it sounds to me like there’s still hope for your brother after all. Maybe I’ll call my friend Anna and see if she’s willing to go out with Greg … you know, she’s always up for a new adventure.”

We’ll see …” Chad conceded, not the least bit encouraged by his soon-to-be bride’s enthusiasm, “we’ll see.”

♥♥

I need to talk to you … now,” Greg said the next morning as soon as he saw his brother enter the building where they both worked.

What were you doing … waiting for me?” Chad asked casually, taking his own sweet time to walk the short distance between the entryway and his brother’s office, knowing he was still early.

Something like that,” Greg replied none too happily.

As soon as Chad shut the door, Greg let out his frustration with an audible sigh before revealing its source.

I thought I told you yesterday to back off!” the man said, exasperated.

What are you talking about?” Chad asked, clueless.

As if you don’t know,” Greg said, rolling his eyes heavenward.

How many times do I have to tell you I don’t want to be set up?”

Set up?” Chad asked, confused, even as he continued to try to wake up by taking a big gulp of the coffee he’d been holding.

Don’t play dumb with me,” Greg continued.

When he still didn’t get a response, he realized he had to spell it out.

Look, I got a phone call last night from some woman named Anna.

She said she was a friend of Claire’s and that the two of you thought it might be fun for us to go out sometime … know anything about that?”

Coughing nervously as he tried to swallow yet another gulp of coffee, it finally dawned on Chad what his brother was talking about.

Oh … yeah … well, about that …” the man began to explain awkwardly, “um, well, it was Claire’s idea,” he finally sputtered.

But you knew about it, right?” Greg asked.

Uh, well … yeah,” Chad had to admit, even while silently wondering what his brother’s response had been to Anna.

Seeming to read Chad’s thoughts, Greg laid it on the line.

Not going to happen, brother!

So, in case I didn’t make myself clear before, maybe you’ll understand me now.

Do not, I repeat, do not try to set me up in any way, shape, or form!!!

Got it?”

Yeah, I got it,” Chad answered, knowing his brother only got this worked up when he felt a strong conviction in his spirit.

Deep down, he knew he couldn’t keep pushing the issue. He finally had to accept his brother’s wishes and beliefs … no matter whether his own fiance’ didn’t believe in giving up … for the sake of his relationship with his brother, he had to.

Two

Callie stood next to Bert in the reception area of Wildlife Today talking to her editor and friend after another successful meeting, glad the place was relatively empty for a Tuesday morning.

Those pictures you took of the red elephants and their babies in Kenya are your best work yet! How did you get such great shots?” Bert asked.

Well, you know what they say … early bird gets the worm!” Callie answered with a chuckle.

See, I told you getting up early has its perks.”

Be that as it may,” the night owl replied with a look of mock horror, “I think I’ll leave that to you and all those other “morning people” out there … but, seriously, I’m impressed … and remember what I said, too, okay? The offer still stands for you to come on board the magazine.”

I appreciate it … really I do,” Callie said, “but I love doing freelance photography. It’s freedom I know I’d never have if I accepted a 9 to 5 job.”

You know as well as I do being on staff as a wildlife photographer isn’t a 9 to 5 job,” Bert interjected, “but I can see where you’re coming from … not ready to be tied down just yet are you?” the man said with a wink.

Looking at his expression, Callie knew her friend wasn’t just referring to her career, but also to their long-standing disagreement about the right time for her to “settle down and have kids,” as Bert so aptly put it.

Only being a few years older than herself, Bert had been married right out of college and had wasted no time starting a family – thinking that was the natural course everyone should take.

I’d rather not get into that right now,” Callie stated firmly, leaving no doubt as to her stand on the issue.

When the timing is right – then it’ll happen – and not a moment before,” the woman added as she glanced at her watch.

And speaking of time, I’d better get going, I’ve still got more errands to run.”

Alright, I’ll let you off the hook this time, but know that I’ll be praying for you,” Bert solemnly declared (even as he thought that – at 28 – Callie shouldn’t wait too long).

You always are … and I appreciate it,” Callie said sincerely as she exited, thankful for a friend who cared, and even more thankful that God was the one in control.

♥♥

Looking intently at the packages of steak to choose which one would be best for the beef and broccoli stir-fry she planned to prepare for herself later that night, Callie didn’t immediately see one of her friends approaching until they said her name.

Glancing around, the woman turned and was pleased to see Trisha smiling back at her excitedly.

After a quick hug, Trisha started asking Callie all sorts of questions about her recent trip to Kenya.

How was the weather? Did you get a lot of good pictures of the animals? Did you have to camp out overnight? Did your extended family introduce you to any eligible bachelors?”

Ahh, let me see,” Callie replied, always having been amazed at how fast her friend’s mind worked.

The weather was fine … it cooperated, at least, for most of the time I was there … yes, I got a lot of good shots … no, this time I didn’t camp out … and, no, I didn’t meet any bachelors,” Callie answered (thankful for the continued generosity and support of the family she was able to stay with every year … even long after their initial connection through her receiving an international experience scholarship her senior year of high school).

Oh, that’s too bad,” Trisha commented, zeroing in on Callie’s last answer and ignoring the rest.

It’s all good,” Callie responded as she placed a package of steak in her cart while thinking of a question she could ask Trisha to divert her attention.

How’s your son doing with teething?” Callie asked, remembering well how many sleepless nights Trisha had endured before she had left for her trip to Kenya.

Oh, Jonathon is doing a lot better now … thank the Lord,” Trisha commented, “fortunately, those little ice packs finally did the trick and he’s a happy camper once again!”

Well, that’s good to hear,” Callie said sincerely of her godson, always surprised at how resilient little kids tended to be.

So,” Trisha commented, pointing to Callie’s cart, “looks like you haven’t changed your mind about going vegetarian.”

Nope,” the woman simply said, not exactly sure where her friend stood on that particular issue at the moment, but knowing that Trisha and her husband had been considering making the switch.

Glad to hear it,” Trisha said with a relieved sigh even as she smiled and pointed to her own cart which had been behind her all along, “Alan and I ended up deciding we really weren’t comfortable eliminating meat from our diet … so, with all the pressure from certain “unnamed individuals” that have been trying to get all of us to change, it’s good to know you didn’t cave in either.”

It’s just like with anything, really,” Callie now said seriously, “you can’t let others dictate what you do or don’t do … your decisions need to be based on what God reveals is best for you, personally.”

I know, I know,” Trisha responded with an exasperated sigh, “but sometimes it’s easier said than done.”

I know what you mean,” Callie replied, thinking of how many times her friends and loved ones had pestered her trying to get her to give in to their pleas for her to go out with just any Tom, Dick, or Harry just so that she could be in the “dating game” (as they called it) and remembering how many times she’d been tempted to just give in so they’d stop … but knowing it was better by far to persevere in obeying God’s call on her heart to wait for His perfect timing to bring the right man into her life at the right time.

Even though it’s hard,” Callie continued, trying to encourage her friend as well as remind herself, “it’s always worth it to just obey God’s leading … regardless of what other people think … always.”

(end of chapter two)

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