Fun Uncle Dave Plus One

We wondered if it would ever happen. While the other siblings were settled, he was the restless one. We thought he was content being “fun Uncle Dave,” as his nieces and nephews called him, but we were wrong, for all he needed was a little more time. My youngest brother, the supposedly confirmed bachelor who was known for spontaneity, a love of travel, and his city apartment, was getting married.

Though he often had a date for holidays and events—kind, engaging women whom the family welcomed—after a few months, he’d usually say that they were just not “the one.” He watched as friends around him married and settled down. Many had children. One became a priest. To an extent, he enjoyed his single life and the freedom it brought, but I knew my little brother longed for a partner, one to share his life. This became more apparent as he approached his mid-40s, and we wondered, maybe his plan wasn’t God’s plan.

Then, about a year ago, Dave confided in me that he had met Christie. From the first time he introduced her to us at Easter dinner last spring, we saw something different. The ease of their interactions. The genuine laughter between them. The moral values they shared. The way “I” quickly became “we.” Maybe she’s “the one,” we thought.

“No, he’s still just fun Uncle Dave,” Elizabeth assured us, wondering about this woman who had captured the heart of her beloved godfather. “It’s hard to even picture him married!” Abigail answered.

We felt the same, even as the dating apps and well-meaning colleagues introduced him to others looking for love. No one, though, was a partner with whom he could imagine spending his life. It wasn’t until he paused from looking and trying that a new co-worker saw an empty seat next to him at a meeting and struck up a conversation. A connection was made, and he admitted that from the start, he thought he had found “the one.”

Like my brother, Christie had rocky relationships and wondered if she was destined to remain single or to settle for someone just to please others. Even as she struggled and approached her early 40s, hope remained. Was her plan God’s plan?

It was, for them both. It just took a little longer than some.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” I have often thought of this passage from Ecclesiastes in the weeks since Dave called us to share his news. The seasons they spent apart were necessary to bring them together. God led my brother and Christie down a myriad of pathways that seemed, at times, confusing, but in reality, those experiences led them exactly where they needed to be—with each other in mid-life near that empty chair in a meeting room.

Though I think they will both retain their spontaneity and love of travel, fun Uncle Dave will now have a wife, and the city apartment will now be a split level in the suburbs, a home where we can all gather “under heaven.”