We met six years ago through unlikely circumstances – old blog newsletters and a young girl who wondered how I had ended up writing for thousands of people when I was only 16. She lost track of me for a few years, but somehow we connected again through Facebook. I asked a close friend what he thought of adding her:
“Paul, Hannah Braboy added me as a friend, should I accept the request?”
Paul nodded his agreement, “Oh yeah, I’ve seen her around. You should add her!”
She was a marketer, and I hired her to work on a large project with me. Emails went back and forth and ideas were thrown out there: conferences in Ireland, travel budgets, tweet and Facebook promotions. She started dating a friend of hers and for some reason, I felt slightly disappointed, even though she wasn’t on my radar and I was pursing a relationship with another woman at the time. We worked really well together. She was a genius and just fun to collaborate with.
We’ve gone through messages, and read emails, and tried to find out what the catalyst was exactly, but there doesn’t seem to be anything leading up to it. In January 2012, I asked Hannah if she wanted to start corresponding through letters. She agreed and the hand written pages started to flow between Seattle and Kentucky as we wrote about Jesus, life, and anything else we could put on paper.
I tried to keep boundaries- we were just good friends! I even signed one letter, “Your big brother.” It just so happened that was the letter her family read to her over the phone because she was out of state. They laughed at how oblivious we were, and her mom made a comment about how she had a feeling about me. Hannah laughed too and shrugged it off.
At this point, we were still seeing other people and just enjoying being friends. I had decided from an early age, that my relationships would be purely intentional-avoiding the stereotypical drama that accompanies non-committed dating. But as Hannah’s relationship disintegrated (he told her that God said she would marry another man), it became painfully obvious that my relationship wasn’t progressing in anyway that I had hoped for. So in late April 2012, we both found ourselves very single and very good friends, working together on numerous projects online, and writing each other extensive letters in our spare time. Working 90+ hours a week in Seattle as a graphic designer for Mars Hill Church, and a certified nursing assistant on the side, her letters, voice, and Jesus, were the only things that kept me going.