Monthly Archives: April 2011

My Story with Elisa

I haven’t done this in awhile—telling a recollection of recent memory.  It used to be something I did all the time way back when I was in high school as well as in my first couple of years after I moved to LA.  I’m usually led to do something like this when I feel a new chapter of my life is written then completed.  So this is my story with a girl named Elisa.

At first…

I first met Elisa in November when we picked up her company as a new client of ours in remote computer technical support.  I met her then, but I thought nothing of her besides the fact the person I was walking around with told me she would be the person I would most likely contact the most.  The girl that caught my eye at the time was Katie—whose role was the same as Elisa’s and the girl that I wanted to get to know better as we grew with the client… Of course, that wasn’t the case.  With the exception of that one training day where I briefly met Elisa, our daily interactions were strictly through IM.  There were a couple of times we did talk to each other over the phone, but for the most part it was always through IM.

I would playfully give Elisa grief that she never remember the first time we met.  She looked extremely busy at the time, so I’m not surprised.  Whenever I visit the LA office, I keep telling her that we’ll finally get to meet (again).  Our first interactions via SMS1 I told her I was coming down to the 3rd floor to meet her.  She responded with, “Really?!”  She immediately followed up with a winking smiley emoticon.  We missed each other that day.  I visited the office two weeks later2 and we made yet another valiant attempt to meet each other between the meetings I had to attend, that was not successful either.  It wasn’t until more than a month later we would really meet for the first time when Elisa brought it to herself to come down to our office to see us3.  Truly it was then when I really met her for the first timemainly because that’s when I realized I didn’t recognized her despite meeting her face to face the only other time back in November.  It was a social visit and not a work one.  She clarified that after she left.

During that weekend we were trading text messages back and forth.  We talked a bit about our work relationship and started conversing socially.  We planned that the three of us—including Jeff—should get together some time for drinks.  Through the next work week, we began uncovering each other’s history.  That week was especially difficult for me at work.  By that Friday4, I straight up asked Elisa if she wanted to hang out after work.  I wanted company.  I didn’t want to go straight home.  It was a rough day.  She seemed the kind of person that would understand.  She seemed the kind of person that would lend an ear.

That Friday evening, I stopped by my house to pick up a few things then I headed to the “Norwalk/Downy area” (as she described it).  I didn’t know what to expect from the night.  I really had one goal: to be honest with myself.  There was nothing for me to hide.  I buried that concealing-type of person in the past when I mended my relationship with God.  The two of us went to BJ’s—well, one of them.  The wait was over an hour (Laker game) so we drove up to Cerritos to another BJ’s whose wait time was much shorter.  We dined, we talked.  Afterwards we spent more time talking.  We were in a car she rented (since her car was in the shop) out in the parking lot talking for majority of the night.  It felt like forever!  Well, it wasn’t that long, but I know we parted ways around one in the morning.  We continued to trade text messages that night.  From that point on, we traded text messages every day one way or another.

We continued to uncover each other’s history, our personalities, our beliefs and thoughts.  I couldn’t stop thinking about Elisa after that Friday.  She briefly touched on her beliefs about God and I wanted to dig deeper to understand her more and her faith.  I waited patiently that week and constantly alluded that we were going to “hang out” again that weekend.  Exactly what we were going to do?  I was never really sure.  I just wanted to talk to her.  I wanted to get close and see if she would share her world with me and I wanted to do the same.

That week, Elisa got her car back.  The very next day5 she got into another car accident.  We traded another 500 or so text messages before we saw each other again that Saturday6.  I drove out to Norwalk that evening and picked her up from her place.  I believe that was the same night we went to the Elephant Bar.  I remember my goal for that night was to really get to know her spiritually.  I wanted to know if she saw God the way I saw Him.  We drove around a bit after dinner.  I didn’t care where we were going as long as I wasn’t going to drop her off and I was on my way home.  I don’t believe I heard what I wanted to know at that point in the night.  Elisa directed me to head to a park near her place—Wilderness Park.  We sat in my car for the rest of the night talking about everything.

After hearing where she came from and where she’s now going with her heart and soul in the right place—that was the first time I was ever attractive to a girl’s mind and personality before being captivated to her physically.  By all means, I’m not saying Elisa isn’t beautiful.  At the time, I didn’t think she was my type (for those whose seen my past love interests) therefore she didn’t attract me physically in the same way I discovered my attraction to her personality.  This concept (mind over body) is a complete first for me, and I felt our friendship is completely unique to me.

The following day, Sunday7, I asked Elisa if she wanted to come to church with me.  She said yes!  (And yes, I was excited for this.)  We went to CCV’s Sunday evening service.  When we found our seats, someone from work spotted me with her (and he recognized Elisa).  I played it off if it was mostly nothing, but I knew I would be hearing about it the next morning (and the rest of the week). 8

A new work week began and the two of us kept trading text messages whenever we weren’t on shift.  We traded another 700 messages that week.  On Saturday9, I asked if Elisa wanted to go to that church service.  She did!  I drove back out to pick her up and headed back to my area.  We had time to kill before church.  I drove around a bit and ended up in the Via Verde area.  There was a park nearby that I never been to.  The two of us walked around the park.  I had my camera with me and I nervously took photos of her.  Elisa said she never had anyone take any pictures of her “like that” before hand.  Of course, I have been taking pictures as a second shooter with my friend Meghan for the last 4 months, so this shouldn’t have been a big deal to me—but it was!  I couldn’t think what photos I wanted so I failed to direct her.  Our first informal session didn’t go well.

After church, we went to dinner.  I took her out to Shogun.  She’s never really had Japanese food like that before.  I helped and teased her in regards to what kind of food is on the menu.  It was a bit difficult because she doesn’t eat beef or chicken (I imagine she doesn’t eat pork either but she is willing to eat fish).  After dinner, we really couldn’t think of anything else to do.  I started to make our way back to her place.  I drove as slow as I possibly could.  I really wanted to spend as much time with her as possible.  We didn’t spend time parked talking the night away.  I dropped her off and I went back home.

That Sunday10, we got into our first “fight”.  We conducted the argument over SMS.  It was about the photos I took of her the day before.  She wanted to see all of them and I didn’t even get a chance to review them let alone do any post-processing on them.  I tried to explain to her my workflow photography.  I gave in to her and gave her all the shots I took that day.  I had to explain to her why I was upset about it and why I don’t like giving out my unprocessed work.  We both hated that feeling of arguing with each other.

Getting closer

The following week we traded over 500 text messages.  Elisa became sick that week.  I don’t recall if it was a flu or just a really bad cold.  Despite her state of health, I still wanted to see her.  That Saturday, she was feeling somewhat better.  When I picked her up, she guided us to Yogurtland—or what I always call it, “the Land of Yogurt.”  (No, the joke isn’t getting old yet for me.)  We spent time eating our frozen yogurt outside (and it was a bit chilly).  After that we headed back to her place.  That was the first time she invited me in.  We spent hours together talking about music and who knows what else.  I remember a lot of music, Elisa singing, and the two of us on the floor together.  We played this silly game where her fingers were “tip-toeing” their way up my arm and I had to guess when it hits the inside of my elbow (or antecubital fossa if you want to get technical).  I felt wanted.  I wanted her.  I made moves to hold her.  At that point I felt that we were more than just friends.  At one point we were so close and I looked deep into her eyes ready to kiss her.  I hesitated, I felt I haven’t earned that right to make such a move.  I even said to her, “I want to steal a kiss from you.”  I resisted the temptation to go through with the attempt.

By the way, I believe the whole reason why I was invited into her place was to watch Juno—which we never got around to.  She wouldn’t let me live that down until I watched it with her.  We traded over 300 text messages the following week

My work week did not start well.  Already I was looking for Elisa to empathize with.  That Monday11, I drove out to see her.  She was shooting pool with her friend Claudia.  It was the three of us playing.  There was clearly something on my mind and that something really was work.  I tried to play it off, but Elisa kept telling me that I seemed “different” and I’m not myself.  I tried really hard to be not stressed out about the whole thing, but it was affecting every word that came out of my mouth and Elisa clearly noticed it.  It was hard for me because it felt like she didn’t like that me which really made me upset because that is me under stress.

Elisa got her car back from the shop that week12.  She was also debating about going to Las Vegas with a friend of hers that weekend.  She wanted me to convince her not to go.  She wanted to spend time with me.  I broke such a huge smile on my face when I read that.  We were planning on “hanging out” (I don’t think I’ve actually asked her out on an official “date” up to that point) that Saturday13.  Elisa needed to take care of a few things at work then she planned on driving to my place.  Oh yeah, before I forget, she called me prior to getting into the office.  This was unexpected.  We mainly text each other—a lot.  We spoke over half an hour while she was trying to get a few goodies for her staff.

She had not eaten anything the entire day by the time she got to my place.  I opt to drive.  We drove out to Chili’s in San Dimas.  I figure we can get a quick bite to eat before we lost too much light for a real photography session.  Our dinner wasn’t so quick and I actually didn’t care much.  Yes, I wanted to try out new photography methods with her.  But I didn’t care much as long as I was out with her.  After dinner, we did go to a park in San Dimas (the same place I do sessions with Meghan’s clients).  By the time we got into location we already lost too much light.  I tried to make the best of it with some flash photography.  Elisa definitely made the best of it.  She was actually giving me photographic ideas.  If I only had enough light to do that, but I was thrilled nonetheless because now I have I better idea what to do with her the next time we go on a photo session.

We drove all over the place after the park.  Elisa made a decision that she’s going to fast until Easter starting the following morning.  Earlier in the week she shared general information about the kind of trials she’s going through.  I feared for the worst if those trials she’s experiencing is because of mehow close we have been getting and I assumed she was putting these feelings over God.  Again, that’s my feeble assumption and it’s probably not even close to what she was truly going through, but because she mentioned it to me and how close we were the week before, it was difficult for that to not cross my mind.  I also clarified it with her that if I ever overstep my boundaries that she tells me straight up in regards to it.  I never asked her about that specifically because her trials are hers and it’s something that she will go through with God.  Anyway, so on with the story, she’s about to start her fast and she wanted a Yogurtland.  We went to one in West Covina.  The Yogurtland actually sucked compared to the one she took me to in her area.  After eating our frozen yogurt, I took the the long way back homeno joke.  I actually got lost a bit.  I didn’t want to take the freeway back.  I looked for Arrow Hwy and headed back east.  It took us about 20 minutes or so to get to my place.  I walked with her back to her car.  She gave me the biggest hug possible before we part.  I didn’t ask her why or what for.  I didn’t bother digging deep into that despite her fast starting the next day.

Moving apart

On Sunday14, Elisa invited me to go to her church.  I forgot the exact term their church used, but it was like a healing Sunday or something.  The service went on for hours.  I didn’t mind.  It was a sight to see because so many people were being healed.  It’s a pretty rough concept to understand if you’re not a Christian and understand the affects of the Holy Spirit is still active and doing the same miracles that it did when the Holy Spirit was first unleashed onto the world (read the book of Acts and check James 5:14).  On the way back from church, I questioned myself and our relationship.  I asked Elisa if I was “not fun”.  Boring.  She talked to me about all her friends on how they do really exciting stuff and there I amwith her.  I felt like I was the Goody Two-Shoes kind of friend that’s all about doing good and talking about God and hardly taking any risks—the Nice Guy.  Boring.  The afternoon together did not go too well.  We didn’t really argue per se, but we didn’t leave on the greatest terms either.  It was completely my fault for bringing it up.

At that point I was struggling with love.  When I told her thatthe whole I’m boring thing—I struggled with the whole “love your neighbor as you love yourself”.  At that moment in time, I definitely didn’t love myself therefore how could I possibly love anyone else?  I went to my church service that Sunday evening and gained some clarity on the whole matter.  Somehow God is always there to tell me what I need to hear when I need to hear it…

That next week we traded over 500 text messages.  However, it was a rough week.  Between the words we traded on Sunday and what happened via SMS on Monday15, it was an incredibly hard week for us (at least for me it was).  That week our client planned on sending a lead technician and a workflow coordinator to our office for a day.  The chosen lead tech was Geno and the chosen WFC was Elisa.  When I finished compiling our daily report for the night, I also mentioned that Geno and Elisa were going to be in our office some time that week.  My boss replied directly to me alluding to Elisa and I being a couple.  I thought it was funny in a very playful way and I chose to share that information with Elisa.  Despite our relationship and communication being open up to that point, immediate hindsight told me that wasn’t a very smart thing to do on my part…

We argued about it for hours.  It got to the point where she wrote things where I understood it as regretting we ever happened.  I was completely heartbroken that I fell on my knees that night in tears.  I failed her.  No matter what I said her retorts pierced deeper into my heart.  She had the last words.  I could not sleep well that night.

The next morning we spoke as if everything was normal.  My guess is she swept that conversation under the rug.  I figure I’ll do the same.  She ended up visiting the office that Friday16 and everything was fine.  We were happy to see each other.

That Saturday17 I attempted to visit her.  I was already in the area.  Luigi invited me out to some pizza place where a bunch of LA Galaxy fans got together to watch the game.  I was only five minutes from Elisa’s.  I sent her a text that I was coming out there.  She got back to me right when I took the exit to  her place.  Turns out she was at Claudia’s.  I turned around and headed back home.  I ended up going to her place on Sunday18.  We finally watched Juno together.  Claudia ended up coming over as well.  After the movie Elisa kicked us both out.  I headed home… time to begin a new work week.

We traded 400 text messages that next week.  I felt we were moving apart.  Even though we never brought up that argument the Monday before, those words that I interpreted as regret kept piercing through.  During that argument, she claims no regret, but I read her words over a dozen times and I couldn’t interpret anything but regret.  I asked God what the deal was.  My whole world felt like it was crumbling back down (which in reality, wasn’t… just felt like it).  Between this relationship feeling like it was waning as well as the overbearing stress from work, I felt I was left defeated and abandoned.

When that weekend came around, I asked her if she wanted to “hang out” again.  I didn’t get much of a response.  There wasn’t that much conversing between the two of us.  Surely I thought it was going to be the first weekend where we actually didn’t spend time with each other.  It wasn’t until late in the night when Elisa asked about doing a sunrise photos session Sunday19 morning.  I was exhausted that Saturday, there was no one else except for Elisa that would convince me to get up before sunrise.  She wanted to do it.  I wanted to do it.  We did it.

It was a glorious morning.  I got up before dawn.  On my way to Elisa’s it was still twilight.  I knew it was going to be a gorgeous day.  I picked her up and we headed to the same park in San Dimas.  I underestimated the light because it came from the east instead of the west.  It was our best shoot ever.  Seeing her through my viewfinder, I finally found myself completely attracted to her beauty and grace.  Her mind and spirit won me over well over a month ago, but it wasn’t until that Sunday I was completely drawn to her physically as well.  She truly is part of God’s greatest creation—an embodiment of Eve.

After the shoot we went to Jamba Juice for breakfast.  We went to my church that morning as well.  I wanted to spend the entire day with her, but when we got to her place, Claudia was still over.  Our day together ended there.

I reviewed the photos I took.  There was a lot of good ones.  I sent a few over to Elisa.  One of my favorite shots was of her back.  She has a tattoo of a cross just below her neck.  I caught her braiding her hair and noticed an awesome shot.  That became her new Facebook profile.  After spending an hour here an hour there throughout the week doing post-processing, I was drawn closer to Elisa’s beauty with every passing photo.  I couldn’t wait to see her back in the office the following Friday!

After that Sunday, we only traded 72 text messages the rest of the week… including today.  I didn’t get a chance to see her on Friday20 because our client felt didn’t find it beneficial enough to send their staff to our office.  Earlier this week, I asked Elisa if she wanted to go to Six Flags (she’s been talking about it) on Saturday.  She had plans with Nancy.  I asked her if she wanted to go my church for Easter Sunday.  She replied after all the services were complete (though, in her defense, I did ask her the morning of and not the night before…)

This point going forward

Elisa’s fast ended today, Easter Sunday.  I so wanted her to be with me at our church this morning.  Our pastor spoke of metamorphosis and transformation—all those things the two of us talked about.  I honestly don’t know what happened and where to go from here.  Where are we now?  What do I need to do now?  Does our story end here and we continue to be normal friends?  I truly do not know.

This is something I need to wrestle with God about.  In my daily prayers (ongoing for well over a year now) I ask God to prepare my heart and mind for a helper—my soul mate.  The person that will complete me so that we can go out into the world and do God’s Will together.  I know relationships are hard, but if I understood that she aligns herself to serve God first, then I know that’s the kind of woman I want to be with.  I prayed for that every single day.  I had no idea how I’m going to find this person, I just knew that was a desire—a desire hardwired into me by God’s design (just look at the beginnings of Adam and Eve, it really is by design).  Then I became impatient.  I asked God, “How about sending someone… anyone… not my soul mate, but a woman of God so I know how to identify her when the time comes?”

It had to be only a couple weeks after I asked that then I saw Elisa again for the first time.  I thought nothing of it, but when we started to open up to each other, then that’s when I had to ask God where He would place this wonderful woman of His playing what role in His plan related to my life.  No answer.

I found it no coincidence that I decided to pick up John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart earlier this week either.  Something else was missing in my life.  It was only after I finished the book I understood what that missing element was.  So here we are.  First time we ever interacted less than a hundred times via SMS.  First time we completely didn’t see each other this weekend.  What am I to do now?  Am I to cower away from this situation like how I’ve done in the past?  Or will I gather the courage, take the risk, and start this adventure and fight for Elisa’s heart?

  1. Jan 4th, 2011 []
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  3. Feb 25th, 2011 []
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  5. Mar 9th, 2011 []
  6. Mar 12th, 2011 []
  7. Mar 13th, 2011 []
  8. By the way, I’m not planning on going into detail in regards to the office rumors about me possibly “dating” one of our client’s employees, but the guys at the office did give me a rough time—teasing—about it and it was a bit fun.  I never gave them a straight answer other than the fact I took her to church with me that evening.  They didn’t ask for details and I wasn’t compelled to tell them anything extra. []
  9. Mar 19th 2011 []
  10. Mar 20th, 2011 []
  11. Mar 28th, 2011 []
  12. Apr 1st, 2011 []
  13. Apr 2nd, 2011 []
  14. Apr 3d, 2011 []
  15. Apr 5th, 2011 []
  16. Apr 8th, 2011 []
  17. Apr 9th, 2011 []
  18. Apr 10th, 2011 []
  19. Apr 17th, 2011 []
  20. Apr 22nd, 2011 []

Wanted: Adventure with a Princess, inquire within

Life now is definitely better than life of yesteryear.  I’ve already listed my struggles and trials multiple of times in past posts, and I initially wanted to write how even though things are “better” I still haven’t understood if I’m “there yet” or even close to “there” (wherever “there” is).  This post is still sort of like that, but at least I found a solution so it’s not all whining and complaining :)

Earlier this week, I made a mediocre attempt to clean my room.  While doing so, I ran across a worn book that was handed down to me: John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart.  If I recall correctly, my dad gave it to me for my 25th birthday.  I know I started reading it at the time because I had a makeshift bookmark with notes from that era of my life.  I picked the book up and started reading again.

They say this is the kind of book that every Christian man ought to read (and honestly, it’s a book that every man should read despite their place in faith).  This book has been around for 10 years now and I wonder only now I felt led to read it.  During my time at APU, this book came up a countless number of times and it was always on my TODO list but never got around to actually doing it until now.  So what changed?

After reading the first chapter, I understood why now and why not ever before.  Life this year is far more interesting, exciting, and risky than any other year prior to this.  After rediscovering and regenerating my relationship with God—Father, friend, LORD of my life—I choose daily that I will choose His way—His Will—over mine and that opened up a whole new world of opportunities and wonder.  These are opportunities to succeed (when I choose to use His strength) and opportunities to fail (when I choose to do it on mine).

That said, I firmly believe where I am right now is exactly where God wants me to be.  And it’s hard right now.  He gave me an opportunity to build a wing of our company from 12 people to over 90 (and still growing).  And the vision for what needed to be done and what ought to do was clear at the start, but now it’s getting extremely difficult with the number of people that’s involved.  The problems will only grow larger as we add more people.   I don’t know what to do.  I felt like I lost control… And that’s when I remembered I never had any control in the first place.  When I saw His Will and took control as my own, that’s when I fell off the path and need to right myself.  This is hard.  Despite choosing Him over me every morning through reading His Word and ceaseless praying, every single day is a challenge above what I can endure and I feel it ends with disappointment every time.  Work is hard.  It’s a lot of—well—work!

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what I’ve been feeling.  I met this girl—this wonderful woman—whom I thought I wouldn’t have these kind of intimate feelings for her.  It starts out as friends.  Then we shared our past.  She told me she now lives for God and she strives to live for our LORD every given moment.  I fell in love with her spirit.  As I got to know her with every conversation and interaction passing by, my attraction grew stronger.  I’ve never been more open and honest with anyone prior to her, and yet I feel I’m missing something.  It’s not her, but there’s something about me that I’m failing to understand thus doubting my ability to ever give her what she longs for.

I recognized all of this—all that I’m striving and longing for—within the first chapter of Wild at Heart.  This book was going to have the answers I wanted!  Answers?  Actually, forget answers, I didn’t even know the questions I wanted to ask.  This book has the questions I needed to identify!   When I finished reading it this morning, I have a better understanding of God’s design behind both man and woman—Adam and Eve.  I have a better understanding why Adam longs for adventure and why it’s a good thing that my position at my company has inherit risks in an uncharted territory.  I have a better understanding what Eve longs for and that I will be out there fighting for her because I want her.

So… exactly where do I go from here?  I want that adventure.  I don’t know exactly know what it is (and that is the correct question to ask), but I know there’s something within me that wants to go out into His world and live it.  Eldredge wrote, “Life is not a problem to be solved; it is an adventure to be lived.”  My goal before the end of today is to find out what adventure I want to do next.  Don’t ever ask how—”How is a faithless question!”  Eldredge wrote that how is God’s department.  Our desires is what we want to do and start our journey there.

What about the beauty to rescue?  The princess worth fighting for?  Yes, exactly that—she is worth fighting for, and my goal is to make it known that she is worth every bruise, wound, scar, gash (mostly figuratively) and that she’s longed for and affectionately wanted.  Our story will never end there.  The story goes on with our hearts writing out the adventure we want to live in His world—LORD of our lives, LORD of all creation—AMEN!