Monday, February 14, 2011
A Sweet-Heart Story
Over the past few years, readers sometime e-mail to ask how I met my husband, known on this blog as The Mister. Instead of retelling the story over and over again, I thought it might be fun to write it once and post it here to share, and what better time to share this than Valentine’s Day?
I had moved back home to my mother’s house so that I could return to school one final time in order to get the necessary degree to become a librarian. After moving back in and getting settled, I started to look for a church. My choices were somewhat limited, geographically. There were only a handful of Mennonite churches within reasonable driving distance. There were two that I was interested in becoming a part of, and began visiting. The first one was a fellowship that a good friend was a lifelong member of, and she was eager for me to join. The second, was one in which I knew no one, but felt warmly welcomed. It was a tough decision to make and required a lot of prayer. One morning, as I stood in the second church, I heard God’s small, still voice telling me that this was the “right” church for me at that time. I couldn’t help but wonder why God made that decision and why He wanted me there, but I knew without a doubt that He did and so I followed.
Months went by as I finished up library school and settled in to my new church family. There was a constant round of dinner invitations on Sundays from families in the church. Everyone was eager to get to know me, and was generous with their hospitality. One thing that I liked about this church was that I was not the only single person in the congregation. While by and large, most of the members were happily married and had been for years, there was a handful of us thirty-somethings who had spent our lives thus far working, going to school, and doing various mission and ministry projects. It was comforting to have others to speak with for whom the Lord had plans outside of what seems like the norm. There was even a childless couple who enjoyed having the older singles over on Sundays and hearing about our jobs, interests, and walk with the Lord. The diversity of experiences among the people in my new church won me over almost as much as the hospitality.
One afternoon at church, after I had been attending for about six months (and had made application for membership), someone asked me if I had met the-future-mister* yet? (name changed to protect The Mister). They introduced me to a man about my age who didn’t initiate eye contact, and didn’t seem particularly excited to meet me. Even better, he rolled his eyes at me when I asked him where he worked. I had once thought that I saw him noticing me after church some weeks before, but now I saw how wrong I was! This man could not care less about making my acquaintance.
Life went on.
A couple months later I was having lunch one Sunday with the other singles at the home of our unofficial “Advanced Youth Group” sponsors when the wife said a curious thing to me. She told me how irritated the-future-mister was to find out that I would be coming over that day since he had other plans and could not be there. How odd, I thought, What difference would it make?
“He even asked me why we couldn’t have invited everyone over next week since we knew he had plans, and he was so upset because he really wanted to meet you,” said the wife.
Really? The guy who rolled his eyes at me wants to meet me? I took it with a grain of salt. But I was completely surprised when, towards the end of my visit late in the afternoon, the-future-mister cut short his plans and stopped by for a visit. Only this time, he was polite, conversational, and definitely making eye contact.
I didn’t know what to think.
There would be many more Sundays as we visited and got to know each other better, becoming friends before anything else. If the-future-mister was interested, he was slower than molasses. (Later I found out that his mother always said he was as slow as “cold tar”. Meanwhile, my boyhood Mister always wondered just who Mr. Cole Tarr was and how he would know him.)
Finally, on a week night in early December, we had our first date. This was a big step as once you announce your courtship and have your first date, it’s like announcing an engagement. We were discreet for as long as we could be, but of course could not hide our growing affection. All eyes on were on us, or so I felt! We both discovered we liked to travel, and had many dates that were interesting day trips. We even took a trip to Tennessee together. That raised some eyebrows! People probably felt better once they knew that we would be visiting The Mister’s aunt and uncle.
One year to the day of our first date in December, we announced our official engagement and plans for a Spring wedding. It was announced in church by our minister, during the morning announcements. Unexpectedly, people clapped and cheered, and I just about could have died from embarrassment, even though I knew they were happy for us. I remember one older lady coming up to me after the service and reaching for my hand saying, “You are the answer to our prayers!” At that moment it dawned on me that long before I even joined that church, people were praying for the-future-mister and the Lord’s will in his life, and many people had likely prayed for us along the way. It helped make the day special.
We soon began the mandated pre-marital counseling with our Minister. Basically, that was just a series of discussions to make sure we were all on the same page as far as our beliefs, the church doctrine, and to make sure there were no red flags for problems. We were married five months later, in a small wedding in early May. It was a perfect day, sunny with a mild breeze. I won’t go into all the details, because it would be worthy of its own post, maybe someday.
Let me just say for the record that The Mister has always maintained that he has no recollection of that first meeting in church, and certainly did not intend to roll his eyes at me. He believes that if he did roll his eyes, it was not at my question but at the thought of the company he was working for at that time. And now that I’m married to him and experience his incredibly short memory on a weekly basis, let me just clarify that I believe him!
What’s your sweetheart story?