Yesterday I got to hang out with one of my dear friends named Jeff. Jeff Mar and I met when I was serving in McMinnville, OR. He and his then partner moved to McMinnville from Detroit in 2013ish and I was the United Methodist pastor in town. He moved to Mac to buy a restaurant but once he got there decided that that wasn’t for him. He knew a few people that we had in common and we became friends through our mutual love of Remy and her wine.
Jeff and I were pretty good friends for a while and when I got married in 2015, Jeff was there to help with everything and to support me. When he got married around that same time, I was there to support him and help with whatever needed to be done. But our friendship really became close and much more of a deep connection when both of our marriages fell apart around the same time. I won’t get into details about what happened on either one but both of us were devastated and destroyed in our scenarios and we talked to each other all of the time, trying to make sense of it all and knowing the other one totally understood.
At about the same time in 2017 we both booked trips to get to Europe…I booked my ticket to start the Camino and Jeff took off to warm climates to explore and remember himself. We both came back to ourselves in those trips and with new resolve to do things differently.
I remember sitting for lunch with one another in Portland and telling one another that we were both moving to Europe. I was following the girl that I met on the Camino the year before to Berlin and Jeff was following his heritage and a promise of eventually a European passport to Budapest. We giggled with excitement over the possibilities.
This year Jeff moved from Budapest to Brno, Czech Republic to continue going to school in ways that fits his life right now and on Thursday he flew to Berlin for like 48 hours and yesterday we got to spend most of the day together. We walked briskly through Berlin, catching up and dreaming more, talking about people we love and eating currywurst together near historical landmarks. He turned to me at one point and said, “Courtney, I am so happy right now.” Knowing what I know about what Jeff went through this warms my heart. This man deserves to be happy.
Jeff is kind and supportive. I always feel as though he has my back and he encourages wherever my heart is. He is studying international relations and dreams of traveling the world connecting to people and places. He is discovering how great it is to connect to all sorts of people in this part of his life and is secure in who he is, what he wants, and where he is. Jeff looks for the beauty in whatever city he is in and is deeply in tune with who he is in the world. He speaks Turkish, and is studying Hungarian which shows great fortitude and persistence. Jeff loves animals and is quick to cuddle them and goes with the flow wherever he lands. He remembers his people and aches for others he hasn’t met yet.
And like always…tip of the iceberg but so happy to explore Berlin with him yesterday and give you a glimpse.