Sometimes we all need a little reminder that God truly does have a plan for our lives. The last few months of mine are proof enough for me.
To say the least, the last eight years of my life have been tough. You wouldn’t think that to look at my biography on my station’s website. I’m an anchor and reporter for a television news station in Cincinnati. I grew up in Saudi Arabia, graduated from Duke University with an undergraduate degree, and then obtained my masters degree from Columbia University. Don’t get me wrong. Life is good, and I thank God every day for His blessings, but trust me, He put me through the fire to get me ready for all of it! And it wasn’t just my career, but my personal life, as well.
When I focused on becoming a television reporter, my biggest concern was still being able to get married, stay married, and have a happy family. In this business, you have to be willing and able to move. I’ve lived in five different states in the last five years and have worked at six different companies (and that doesn’t include the part-time jobs). It’s a tough life for anyone, but especially a woman looking for a man. Throw in the fact that I have to work weekends, holidays and terrible hours, and you think, who would be crazy enough to get involved with all of that? Luckily for me, there was one man.
I met Rasheed Wiggins in 1998. He was a senior at Duke University. I was a freshman, but we didn’t really make a connection until six years later.
In 2004, I was begging God for a man. I didn’t realize there’s a difference between just a man and a good man. Finally, I did some soul searching. I prayed for the right man for me. I decided to “fast” from men. I didn’t date anyone for three months. I wanted to make sure that for once in my life, I focused on me, and allowed God to bring the right man to me.
Exactly three months after I started my fast, one of my big sisters in my sorority asked me to be in her wedding. She was getting married to her college sweetheart who happened to be one of Rasheed’s fraternity brothers. Of course that meant he was going to be in the wedding, as well. I’ll admit that when I saw his name on the couples’ wedding website, I got a little excited. Rasheed can’t vouch for his feelings, but trust me, he felt the same!
Once the day finally arrived, we talked a few times at the rehearsal, the rehearsal dinner, and at the wedding, but nothing serious. Just before the last song was played at the reception, I whined to another soror that I still hadn’t danced with Rasheed. She went “junior high” on me and told him, but thank God, because it worked! He asked me to dance, and we’ve been together ever since.
Six years! And for just about all of those six years, we have been long distance. Our relationship is a reminder that sometimes the one thing you think is a curse, could be the one thing God uses to bless you.
For the first six years of our relationship, Rasheed lived in North Carolina. However, I’ve lived in just about every city in America. We tried several times to get jobs in the same city, but it never panned out. He’s seen me through so many ups and downs in my career, and I’ve seen him through similar moments. Last year, we were sure we had finally gotten it together. It looked like we were both going to get jobs in the same place, but at the last minute, God changed his plan.
On top of that, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people tell me that I wouldn’t make it in this business. I can’t tell you how tough it was to stretch my $22,000 salary to cover graduate school loans from Columbia University. I can’t tell you how many times I cried and prayed for both a meaningful relationship and for a successful career. But through it all, my parents and Rasheed have been there for me. He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and doubted my own potential. Those tough moments have solidified the foundation for a beautiful marriage; We’re bonded in a way no one else could ever imagine.
A few months ago, Rasheed accepted a great position with an amazing company in Chicago. In September, I turned 30 and became the weekend anchor at my station. Life seemed to be finally turning around. Rasheed said he was going to plan a birthday party for me. We’re such homebodies, so it seemed like a great opportunity to get our friends and family together and celebrate life. Since we now both live in the mid-west and most of our friends still live on the east coast, we decided to hold the party in Washington, D.C. Not only is it a central location, but it’s the city where we first “met” and started dating.
From the moment the birthday weekend started, he treated me like a queen. He flew me to DC, and had me driven to a beautiful hotel in Georgetown. He told me to relax and have lunch while he ran around and tied up some loose ends for the party. Then, hours before the party, Rasheed told me he wanted to take me somewhere special so we could talk and spend some time together.
He took me back to my old apartment near Georgetown. He said we were reminiscing. As we walked up to the building, he took out a photo album that had all of thee pictures of us over the years. The first was my favorite. It’s a picture of us at his fraternity ball from my freshman year. We randomly took a picture together in 1998!
He walked up to my building, and then buzzed someone who let us in. (Yes, my mind was racing at this point, but I tried not to put too much thought into anything. I mean, c’mon! We’ve been together for six years at this point. We’ve had many moments when I thought he was going to propose, and he didn’t, and I refused to let that expectation ruin what I knew was going to be a great weekend.) We walked up the stairs, and he was quiet until we got to the floor right under my unit. Then he started talking about wanting to turn back time. After our first six weeks together, we said that we felt we were going to get married.
We walked up the last flight of stairs, and he had rose petals leading up to the door. He then opened my old apartment door. All of my old things were the unit! We’re talking pictures, clothing, sorority memorabilia, articles, press passes. Get this– even my posters were in the same place I had placed them on the walls six years ago. I don’t even currently own most of the things he had on the walls. I lost it at this point. I knew what he was about to do.
He asked me to take it all in, and then he got on one knee. He said some more words (My brain couldn’t comprehend any words at this point) and then he opened the ring box. I have to admit I have no idea what happened after that moment. It took me a while to say anything because the ring knocked out all of my senses. He exceeded any previous expectation I ever had for our engagement and the ring. I said yes, and then we had a lovely birthday/engagement dinner!
It was an amazing moment that solidified my belief in our relationship, love, and life. It shows there are still good black men out there. Rasheed and I still don’t live in the same city, but we’re both confident God will work that out. He’s brought us too far as a couple to leave us in separate places.
© 2011, Shalena D.I.V.A. – Author| Speaker| Life And Business Coach. All rights reserved.