Many of you have asked, and I was planning on saving this for later...but...
I met this man when I wasn't interested in anything more than traveling the world, running service projects, and teaching English. Our deep friendship blindsided me--but no more than our deepening friendship did. He has shown me oceans of God's love--gently, consistently, and fiercely.
Meet David: the boyfriend.
What should we know about you, from the beginning?
I am a TCK, introvert, growing disciple of Jesus and a lover of travel & discovery. I was born in Kenya but spent my first year of life in Rwanda. Relax, this won’t be a year-by-year breakdown, but following the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, my family moved to Uganda and thus I spent my childhood and youthful years there as well as in boarding school in Kenya and Swaziland. I came to Michigan in 2012 to pursue a business degree and 2 major things have happened along the way: 1. I surrendered my life to God and 2. I met Callie Williams. And now we’re here.
What do you do? Are you a teacher, too?
Right now, I’m in a very transient stage of my life, so what I'm doing now may possibly not be what I’ll be doing next month. At the moment, I’m interning with an awesome health and wellness startup and doing what I love to do most in a professional context which is using business strategy and innovation as an agent for sustainable social impact.
Have any relationship advice for us?
Invest in it. Treat your relationships like an ox. Yes, an ox. "Where no oxen are, the manger is clean. But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox" (Proverbs 14:4). Your relationship is like having an ox — you've got to invest yourself in dealing with the mess that comes with it as well as feed it intentionally with time, energy and love. But at the end of the day, you will reap much more out of it than if you never had it all. I've found this applies to all kinds of relationships.
What does Jesus mean to you?
Jesus to me is hope, meaning, and love. Hope because, if myself and others had His character, this world would be a far better place and the real hope is that He provides a means for anyone to possess it. Meaning because His teachings have given me a life purpose that is so broad and so vast, transcending all aspects of my life, and thus I am able to value every moment that I’m alive. Love because He is, to me, the definition of love because no one has ever loved me like He does.
Have any general advice for us?
Be mindful and value every moment. In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to always wish for the next thing, the next phase of life, the next moment to come. In doing so, we often miss out on the lessons we can learn, the relationships we can build, and the value we can add in the present. Plans didn’t unfold as I expected right after college, and I had a lot of time to wait for the "next big thing” to happen; but I realized that, in that waiting time, there are so many amazing things taking. Value the present that’s given to you. You never know what blessing will come from it.
What’s your favorite thing about Callie?
Her thoughtfulness. This shows in how meticulous she is in making plans, in how sentimental her gifts are, in how she knows the right words to say in the right situation (hence her relevant, provoking, and timely articles) and in how she treats each human being with such a personalized regard. She tells me that maybe her anxiety wouldn’t exist if she didn’t think so much but I and many others are a witness to the fact that her thoughtfulness is a gift to the world whose impact cannot be measured.
What did you first think when Callie told you she had anxiety?
She told me the day that we sat down and both shared that we liked each other. I was glad she told me then as we both were intent on being transparent as to what we’d be bringing (the good, the bad, and the ugly) into our special relationship. It did, however, come as a little bit of a surprise since we had been close friends for about a year and I hadn’t really noticed it. I wasn’t too worried though as I knew enough about her to be confident that Jesus would help us work through it together.
What is it like to date someone with anxiety?
It’s not easy, definitely not easy. But it’s worth it. It’s not easy because it is unpleasant to me as it is to her. There’s nothing that pains me more than to see Callie hurt and worn by the effects of her anxiety. Thankfully, Callie is aware of and has clearly communicated how I can best minister to her when she is anxious and that goes a long way. For her, this includes prayer (by myself and with her), talking things through, affirming her of truth and reality, listening and acknowledging the reality of her feelings regardless of how illogical the thoughts that led to them may be. Patience is key. At times, I feel like I can do much to help; but, at other times, when she can’t even pick up the phone to talk, all I can do is pray and wait.
In spite of this, I realize that mental illness is her struggle. It’s not mine; I have other struggles that I deal with. These are the effects of living in a broken world. Dealing with Callie’s anxiety, I’ve learned much about how God does not give up on us though it gets hard and messy. He has wept tears of blood for our own sake because He sees so much worth and potential in us. It’s worth it for Him. I don’t identify Callie with her anxiety and neither does she. Callie is amazing, beautiful, gifted, wise, and growing. Our relationship is fun, adventurous, inspiring, and so much more. Though there are messy parts, it’s worth it to see our relationship through and to grow and share in the love we have for one another.
He's the best, right? What do you resonate with from his interests, experiences, or words? He wanted me to leave his email for anyone to reach out: daviburu(at)umich(dot)edu. Comment below, too, and let us know your thoughts!
Also: do you think I should do a regular interview? Maybe monthly? Let me know!