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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chapter 5: New Year's Revelation

Okay, I said chapter 4 was my favorite, now this one is my new favorite, but I'm REALLY looking forward to chapter 6!  Ahh, God, thanks for a great story.  It is so fun to re-live!  In case you are lost, start at chapter 1!

Chapter 5: New Year's Revelation

The car door slammed, and the innocent bystander, who had just witnessed the most awkward moment of my life, scurried to her dorm room.  Herb and I sat in silence for a few moments before he asked me where I would like to be dropped off.  And because we both suffer from emotional deficiencies, that yelling match was officially the end of the conversation about whether or not Herb was the kind of guy I should marry and whether or not I wanted to date him.  

Finals week came and went, we went our separate ways for Christmas vacation.  The fight in the car was never discussed, and any feelings I had for Herb were repressed out of humiliation.  As I packed up my dorm room for a four week hiatus, Herb began to be out of sight, and therefore out of mind.

After Christmas, Herb came to visit me one day, which was about an hour and a half from his parents’ house.  We played guitar together, talked theology, and somehow got on the topic of adoption.  I shared with Herb that I felt like anyone who was pro-life should be willing to adopt. Herb couldn’t believe I wanted to adopt someday because he knew he would never be able to biologically father children and would probably do the same someday, too.  We laughed at the irony and then decided to watch a movie.

Even after spending the day together (and talking about family planning) I still wasn’t sure if I actually liked him, or just the idea of him.  But I definitely didn’t get any vibe that he liked me.

A week later it was New Year’s Day 2004, and I was sitting on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere.  A fun filled young adult weekend retreat had turned into a meditative, white flag waving, time of submission for me.  Tired and broken, I reflected on all the empty pursuits and dead ends that had culminated with a shouting match in a car several weeks prior.

“God, I’m done…” I whispered as I thought back on all the men I tried pursuing on my own in the last several months, from the athlete, to the super spiritual guys, to the party dudes.

“…If you want me to be single, fine, I’ll deal with that, but please take away my desires…” I meekly requested, remembering all the feelings of rejection and embarrassment.

“…I surrender.  I will stop being so focused on finding myself a husband and put it in Your hands….” I firmly told myself and my Creator.

I began 2004 with a new outlook on a life; a new commitment to seek the will of God for my life’s direction.  I had finally poured my heart out to Him, and I had such an amazing peace about it, too.

A few days later, with joyous excitement, I shared my New Year’s Resolution with Jocelyn.  I knew this was a complete change in my frame of mind, and I needed all the support and accountability I could get.

Clearly I was confused when, as I finished the long version of the story, Jocelyn’s face fell.

“So you’re telling me you are not interested in anybody?” Jocelyn asked me, curious.

“Nope.  Not at all,” I said with satisfaction.

Discouraged, Jocelyn replied, “Not even Herb?”

“No, I’m good!”  I was so proud of myself, but where was this conversation going?

“Wait,” I asked, “Why?”

“Oh, that’s too bad, because he likes you,” Jocelyn reported with disappointment.

My face began to burn and my mind raced as other customers passed us buying their coffee, milk, and cigarettes at the 24 hour truck stop.  Jocelyn went on to tell me that (in true middle school fashion) Herb confessed his adulation for me, using the wonders of technology, also known as AIM.  And because nothing ever came of our Thanksgiving fight, and the fact that I didn’t know how I really felt about Herb because of the stress of finals week, Jocelyn obviously didn’t know what to tell him, either.

The bittersweet irony almost killed me.  Just two days after I found peace in my singleness, there was a door trying to pry its way open.  Was this a sign? 

My exact response to Jocelyn was, “Oh no.”

Thoughts flooded my mind, and some of them spilled out of my mouth.

“I don’t think I’m supposed to date right now.”

“What if I’m just interested in Herb because he’s actually interested in me?   No one has really ever been interested before, do I really have room to say, “No?””

“What am I supposed to do now?”

“Tell me again exactly what Herb said to you…”

After she relived the conversation, play by play, we laughed hysterically at God’s sense of humor.  I committed to pray about what to do next and Jocelyn promised to pray with me and for me.  As the next few days of winter break unfolded, my heart was so confused.  Was this thing with Herb what God wanted for me, or was it just a test to see if I was really ready to follow through with my New Year’s commitment?  Of course, Herb knew that Jocelyn told me about his feelings, so then I was really self conscious every time we talked over the next few days.

During that two week period, Herb started blogging.  Back then, we were all using Xanga, and every night I would stay awake just to read what Herb would post about his day.  I found myself interested to see what books he was reading, what music he was listening to, and whether or not he would mention me and whatever interaction we had had that day. 

There were only five days left until the spring semester started, and one day we both made plans to meet in Millersville for lunch.  To smooth over the potential risk of identifying whether or not it was a date, I offered to take Herb out for lunch using a gift card I had for a coffee shop and bistro.  Hours before the lunch “date,” I bought a brand new pea coat and got a haircut. 

While I sat in the bistro, waiting for what may or may not have been my date to show up, I thought I was going to pass out.  Who was I kidding?  This was not a date.  This was just another dead end.  Herb probably doesn’t want to see me, and is just coming for a free lunch.  But on the other hand, I thought if he does truly want to see me, how do I act on a date?  I have never really been on an actual date!  What were we going to talk about? 

The door jingled, and I looked up from my perfectly selected seat which had a full view of the entire restaurant and every entrance.  And just as the bile began to rise and burn my throat, I saw him there in the door way.

It was Herb.

It was just Herb.

Calmness overtook me like a gentle cool wave on a hot humid day.

Here was Herb. 

My friend. 

The great talker.

The even better listener.

The fabulous beard.

The delicious cologne.

Herb was familiar.  Herb was comfort.  Herb was stability.

And, in that moment, I happily realized I was kind of on a date with Herb, the most amazing guy I knew.

Sarah McLachlan had just released a song called “Push,” and the moment I laid eyes on Herb, these lyrics came to mind:
“Every time I look at you, my world just melts away
All my troubles, all my fears dissolve in your affections
You see me at my weakest and you take me as I am
When I fall you offer me a softer place to land
You stay the course, you hold the line, you keep it all together
You’re the one true thing I know I can believe in
You’re all the things that I desire
You save me, you complete me
You’re the one true thing I know I can believe in”

Le sigh. 

Lunch was so easy and really just a great afternoon.  Lunch led to plans for the next evening which included a birthday dinner for Herb followed by a midnight trip to Wal-Mart. 

The time we spent together was so comfortable and fun, but we avoided any conversation which would have defined our relationship like the plague.  No, no, we couldn’t dare talk about this in person.  A D-T-R, or “Defining the Relationship” conversation must happen behind the safety of a computer screen, right?

Finally, on the eve of move-in day for the spring semester (again on lame AIM), Herb acknowledged that we both knew something was going on.  He told me he was really praying about what to do, however, he said this was not a conversation to have on the computer, so it would have to wait till we saw each other in person.  And by this point the next meeting would be the first day of school.

On the first day of school, between classes, meals, and band rehearsal, Herb and I must have crossed paths at LEAST ten times that day.  And yet, at 8:00 pm, I found myself back in my dorm getting ready for bed, still without a definition of our budding relationship.

I pulled on my pajama bottoms, brushed my teeth, and as I crawled into bed with a text book to study, my cell phone rang.

“Did you want to go grab a bite to eat at Denny’s?”  Herb asked.  I could hear his car running in the background.  “I’ll pick you up in five minutes.”

As I quickly changed and brushed my hair, my dear roommate, Steph said with a squeal, “When you get back you are going to have a boyfriend!!!!”

Still, I couldn’t believe that this was my reality.

For the next two hours, Herb and I sat in the corner booth at Denny’s.  Sick to my stomach with nervousness, I only ordered water, but had it refilled seven times (and made just as many trips to the bathroom).  Herb ordered French fries loaded with cheddar cheese, bacon, and sour cream.  We talked about the first day of classes, and our goals for the semester.  We caught up on who did what over Christmas, and music department drama. 

I noticed the clock at 11:00 pm and realized, no, we were probably not even going to address the reason for our visit.  Doubts entered my mind, and my hopes began to deflate.  

Just then, Herb pulled out a piece of white paper folded four times.  He unfolded it, laid it flat on the table, and I noticed it was a bulleted outline.

“Well, I guess I can’t beat around the bush much longer.  I’m not really good at this, but I do have something really important to talk to you about.”

He slid the white sheet across the table and said, “Let’s start here, read this...”


Read on... Chapter 6

3 comments:

  1. Oh the suspense! You are so much like me it isn't funny...If I didn't know the end of this story (at least up til now), I would just be on the edge of my seat!

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  2. Ahhh, I'm so loving this series!! You should write a book girl! Also, I'm really hoping you post what was on that paper tomorrow and don't keep me hanging any longer ;)

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  3. NOT Funny! Cant wait for chapter 6!

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