Continued from: Moving In
[Bachelor number two]
I was still dating this Jamaican fellow, and had been working at a t-shirt shop in the mall, when low and behold God shows up at the mall again. So, in walks bachelor number two, and what they say rings true, God truly does meet you where you are.
On reflection, if I hadn’t been dating prior to Andrew, I don’t believe I would have even been in the right place at the right time. I was in between jobs and very much single, when I met this stranger at my brothers wedding. I was struggling with social anxiety and struggling to work up the nerve for job interviews. Some days I’d go out with my resume in hand, and I wouldn’t drop off even one. I wanted to, but low self-esteem, and fear just seemed to get the better of me. However, when the opportunity arose for me to get out and stretch my wings–and even date someone–that had to somehow outweigh my lack of confidence, as well as the belief that I was useless and weak. I might not get another chance. I might spend my life alone. I had to face it head on, which turned out to be the push that I needed to face those dreaded interviews, and to eventually find myself in ‘the right place at the right time.’
I was standing behind the counter when I heard a commotion at the front of the store. As I looked to see what all the hubbub was about, my eyes were met with a young man in a trench coat fighting to un-snag his coat from the clothing rack he was presently caught on. He proceeded to exclaim something like “Stupid coat, stop trying to shop lift!” which made me laugh, and he promptly made his way to the back of the store, to where I was planted.
I recall him uttering something like, “So, I saw you standing there, and thought heeeey, a new girl.” Then he commented on my smile. (The sweet talker.) By this point he must have told me his name, but the “chance” meeting was short. However, he did promise he would return when he received his paycheck on the following Friday to check out the concert t-shirts. (Okay, so we know at this point it was me that he really wanted to check out. Am I right or am I right? Oh, I’m right).
A little over a week passed before I’d see him again, and truth be told he had been on my mind as I waited in hopes of his return. He asked me out, but I turned him down. I was still dating someone after all, and I told him so. He said he understood, and left my store. I can remember feeling disappointed, and I’m sure he must have been too, but within minutes he had returned and once again asked me if I would go out with him, but simply as a “friend,” of course.
Yeah–he’s good, and I want to say that I fell for it, but in truth I agreed to go out with him on these terms because I wanted to keep my options open. I admit it, I had him on the hook, but He wanted to be there. What I didn’t realize though was that God had me on a hook, and was ready to reel me right on in to His family.
My current relationship had reached an impasse, and I was only clinging to it because I was affraid there were no other options. I was also clinging to it because I wanted to be sure that abandoning this relationship wouldn’t mean that I would end up back where I had started–alone.
However, when I returned home–still living with my parents at the time–I was criticized for trying to date two guys at the same time. (Drats! guilt wins again!) I had no choice but to phone Andrew and cancel our “not a date” date. The poor guy had been turned down twice in the same day, but he never gave up, and God sure wasn’t about to either.
Andrew worked at the other end of the mall, and he’d drop by my store at every given opportunity. For at least a month we shared a meal together in the food court during my lunch breaks until I finally made the decision to break off my former obligation. That’s when I “officially” began dating Andrew. It was our first non food court meeting when I found out that he was a Christian. (How did this escape my defenses!? Yeah, it must have slipped his mind, right?) He also presented me with a wooden cross on a suede leather cord. One would think this a rather odd gift to receive on a first date, and admittedly I did feel a tad weird about it, but today I have it hanging strategically where it can always be seen.
Though again I was put off by the whole “religious” aspect of the arrangement, I had also decided to keep him. I was pretty much defenseless anyways. I did wonder why I wasn’t able to meet someone without a religious background, but it was too late; Andrew had been given just enough time to win me over, thus I was officially hooked.
By this time, I don’t think my mind could have been more open, and I started to go to church with him. It was a whole different experience this time around though. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming; I wasn’t adorned with a veil, and the services were in English. (Bonus!)
On Easter Sunday of that same year–five months after we started dating– I had some questions for Andrew. The Easter service had left me feeling rather melancholy, and I was convinced that there must be something wrong with me. I just wasn’t able to understand why everyone seemed so emotional during the service– including Andrew. He shared with me how his brother Darryl–whom he had lost as the result of a motorcycle accident when Andrew was barely a tween–had favored the ‘Old Rugged Cross’; one of the hymns that we’d been singing. That really only told me why he was emotional, but over the years I’d grow to understand what evoked such strong emotion. Oh you bet your bottom dollar that I’m a crier. My emotions make there way to the surface as well, when I sing of Jesus.
That Easter evening, we talked about many things, including some Bible stories I knew, and then Andrew popped the question. (No, not that question. At this point we were already engaged.) The question he so wanted to know the answer to was if I’d like to become a Christian. I was hesitant. Truth be told, It was more out of fear that I’d have to go through some strange agonizing ceremony–remembering of course–my experience with the Catholic Church, so I said to him, “I don’t know.” Too this he replied, “There is no I don’t know– it’s either yes or no.” (Yeah, I think he must have been taught by Master Yoda.) This however, was the push that I needed, to make the absolute best decision of life, and so I said “yes.” It was only a couple of months and a bit later that I’d also say, “I do” to the man that God had given to me.
For conclusion read: All a Flutter