A few weeks ago I finally decided that I am OK with where I am right now. I like my job, Memphis is growing on me (some would say like a fungus), and I like my house. I have three kids, a beautiful wife, and things are good. It was kind of a double whammy coming to this conclusion. I was cutting the grass and listening to my Zune (random playlist, of course) when the song "Roll with Me" by Montgomery Gentry played. For the first time I really listened to the lyrics and understood:
Wake up in the morning
Get to living my life
Making sure that I'm all that I can be
Went to church on Sunday
There was a moment that came
I swear it was like the Lord spoke right to me
So now I'm slowing it down and I'm looking around
And I'm lovin' this town and I'm doing alright
Aint' worried 'bout nothing cept for the man I wanna be
I'm thinking maybe it's time to be livin' the rhyme
When I'm singing a song about nothing but right
And it'd sure be nice if you would roll with me
That's pretty much how I felt. Then Sunday at church, I heard much the same thing in the message. Funny how that works. BUT! Not two days later, I find out that there is a lot of opportunity coming within my group at work: jobs opening, international support, and more. And once again I find myself at the place where the thing I have been chasing for so long is coming when I don't necessarily want it.
So, now to the example of this from my past. In 1999, I came to a point where I was no longer interested in continuing school, my lease was running out on my apartment, and the church I was working for decided that they would not renew my "internship". I decided that I really didn't have anything to lose and would move back home to the Charleston area, find a job, and help out my mom around her house. That was about August.
When I got back to Charleston, my mom was attending Metro North Church. They were starting a college age group and I had some experience with that exact thing. The church I worked for in Clemson, DCF, was a college church. I offered to help lead the group and its bible study and I got back in touch with Thom Watson, who I had met about a year or so before when he and the Metro North youth group came to help make repairs to my mom's house. After a few weeks back at home, I had made peace with my situation. Among other things, I was done with women for a while. I really didn't want to even date anyone.
Fast forward to October. Thom is a very friendly guy. He knows (and is friends with) A LOT of people. Don't believe me? Check his Facebook friends count. Now cube that number and you have the amount of people Thom actually knows. ANYWAY, Thom invited a few friends from Charleston Southern University. No big deal, that's what you are supposed to do for a bible study. Some of them were cute, but again, I wasn't interested.
One girl in particular came back for a few weeks and one night, I found myself praying with her. It was something we did at the end of each night, we would break off and pray for each others requests if someone wanted us to. The girl had a normal request, she was concerned about a guy she liked and wanted to ask God to give her some direction on what she should do. Should she talk with him? Ask him out? That kind of thing. She didn't give any names, and I didn't ask. I just prayed with that girl as if it were anyone in the room. Here's the kicker: about halfway through my pious and intensive prayer, a little voice inside spoke to me and said, "You do realize you are praying about yourself, don't you?"
A week or so later, that girl called me up and asked if I wanted to go with her and her friends to Folly Beach to see the Leonid meteor shower. Why not? I had no other plans and it was just a few people going to the beach. A few people turned out to be me, her, and three of her girl friends. Nice. We drove out to Folly and once we got there strode the beach for a while looking at the stars. It was a good night for it - it was a cool, clear night and you could actually see some of the shooting stars from the meteor shower. After a while I found that she and I were pulling away from the others... or maybe they were pulling back. I stopped and faced the ocean, and she walked up beside me.
"I know what you're going to say", I told her.
"What do you mean?", she asked.
"Don't say it. I don't want to know."
Those were almost my exact words. Hey, it was ten years ago, I can't remember everything exactly. I just didn't want to hear her tell me she liked me. I didn't want that. It wasn't that I wasn't attracted to her, or anything of the sort, I just didn't want to be in a relationship. But I felt so bad. I knew how much she wanted to tell me. I knew it when I was praying with her.
A few days later I called her and asked her to go to the movies and dinner "as friends". I really wanted to be friends with her and I hoped that I could convey that and, somehow, get her to understand where I was emotionally. We went to see Sleepy Hollow, one of the first of many Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaborations. We were early for the movie so we talked a bit. I found out more about her: she was in marching band, loved punk music, like video games, and used to build computers in high school. Exsqueeze me? Baking powder? Come again? Liked video games? Built computers? Not only was she hot (short & spiky, platinum blonde hair, beautiful eyes, and curves that won't stop), but she was a closet geek too! Damnit! I didn't want this! I didn't want to be attracted to her or anyone for that matter. Why now? Why when I was happy being alone did this have to happen?!
Life's funny that way. It lets you know that not only does God have his own peculiar sense of timing, but that he has a really sly sense of humor. After our "non-date" for which she reminded me that I paid for dinner and wouldn't allow her to pay, we started seeing more of each other. When I say more, I mean nearly every day.
A few weeks went by and I went to my mother and told her that I thought the girl was "the one". I told her all the things I liked about her. I wasn't totally "in love", but I knew... I knew that I couldn't let someone this special get away. My mom told me that she knew it when she first saw her, which is funny because later I found out that her mom said the same about me. My mom did something very special then: she gave me the engagement ring my father had given to her. In it was one of the smallest diamonds I had seen on an engagement ring. But that truly didn't matter. The stone was my great-grandmother's and my dad had the ring made with that special diamond. Now, my mom was giving it to me to ask for the girl's hand in marriage. I put the ring in an Italian music box and put it under the Christmas tree at her parents' house. December 25th, 1999 I asked Jess to marry me.
Six months later on June 4th, 2000, we were married in a small ceremony at her parent's church. Its sometimes ironic how life works out. Just when you don't want something you have been chasing after, just when you are happy and satisfied in what you have, that thing you were looking for falls right into your hands. And ten years later, I am so much more a man for it.
Current Location: United States, Tennessee, Cordova
Current Mood: reflective