How did I get where I am? How did I get to be married to this person? (And I mean that question in a good way, not a negative one.) I’ve written about the particulars of our meeting before (An Oreo Cookie Led To Love), but how did I get be at the place where we would meet? I decided to trace it back, like a genealogical chart, but of the events and choices that put me in her path.
Between my sophomore and junior year of high school, I played basketball in my driveway with my friend and neighbor, David. For nearly a year, he kept inviting me to church, which I kept declining. I didn’t feel any desire to be a part of a church and I didn’t have any questions or concerns about God. I wasn’t searching for anything in life except good books, pretty girls, and another game of basketball. David persisted and I eventually gave in. I figured I’d go a time or two to get him off my back or maybe until school started back. Despite my plan, I kept going.
If I’d had questions about God and been seeking those answers in a church, this church would’ve been the last church I would’ve picked. It was nowhere near my house and it was named after my high school’s archrival, Churchill.
If not for David persistently inviting me… (and if you know David, he’s never let me forget this fact).
Three years later, I was still attending that same church, but I was close to giving up on the whole idea of church. Questions about life and meaning and purpose were bouncing around in my head and I didn’t feel as though I were finding any answers at this church, but I still kept going. One night I attended a special service, more out of obligation and having nothing else better to do. For this special service, they’d brought in a guest speaker by the name of Patrick. He didn’t answer my questions, but something about him clicked with me. He had my attention. I learned he was the pastor at another church in San Antonio, one that happened to be closer to my house, so I switched churches even though I didn’t know a single person at this new church (Shearer Hills Baptist Church).
If it weren’t for David and then the guy who invited Patrick to speak…
Eventually, I met Patrick. He took the time to regularly meet with me (albeit at five-thirty every Thursday morning) and he helped me answer some of the questions I had. I’m not sure why he, the senior pastor of a large church, took the time for a lowly college student who could offer him nothing in return, but he did. When I mentioned my desire to go off to college, Patrick suggested a small Baptist university in Abilene by the name of Hardin-Simmons University (HSU). I’d never heard of the school.
If it weren’t for David, the guy who invited Patrick, and then Patrick…
At Shearer Hills, I met a guy named Doug. He was planning to attend HSU and offered to take me along for a visit when he went to register for classes (back when you had to show up in person to register for classes). I couldn’t have told you where Abilene was on a map, much less made my way there, so I took Doug up on his offer. When we arrived, he showed me around campus, introduced me to some professors, and even took me out to dinner at some Chili’s knockoff. (Abilene didn’t even have a Chili’s at the time.)
If it weren’t for David, the guy who invited Patrick, Patrick, and then Doug…
My first semester, I was assigned a roommate at random and I could tell we were not going to get along. He went to bed at nine every night and whenever I left the room- even to go across the hall- he locked the doors. And then there was his pungent cologne. How was I going to find a new roommate when I only knew two people on campus? I mentioned my dilemma in one of my classes, to a person I’d just met, to a person whose name I cannot remember, and this person said, “You should talk to Mark. He lives in another dorm, but he needs a roommate as well.” Mark and I met and agreed to be roommates. It didn’t matter to me that I had to switch dorms as well. Mark started dating a girl named Kristy who had a roommate named Angela. “You and Angela are so alike,” he said, “Too bad she has a boyfriend.”
If it weren’t for David, the guy who invited Patrick, Patrick, Doug, this forgotten classmate, and Mark…
After the spring semester, I went home for the summer. I started attending another church (Medical Center Baptist Church) at the invitation of a friend named Amy and made another friend by the name of Doug. I was considering not returning to HSU in the Fall. If I went back, I had enough savings to pay for one semester and no plan for how I’d pay for the others. If I stayed in San Antonio, I had enough to cover my tuition for a couple of years at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). I told Doug about my dilemma and expected him to tell me to stay in San Antonio. It seemed like the smart and fiscally responsible thing to do. “Dude, you’re so going back to HSU.” I don’t know why he said this, but his advice helped me decide to return to HSU.
If it weren’t for David, the guy who invited Patrick, Patrick, Doug, this forgotten classmate, Mark, Amy, and another Doug…
I arrived back at HSU and moved into the dorm, the same dorm in which I’d shared a room with Mark. My second night there I walked into the common area and saw this girl Angela, the same Angela who’d been roommates with Kristy. Angela and I had met briefly once before, but this time, this time, I noticed her. All she did was offer me an Oreo cookie, but she took my breath away and left me speechless. I don’t know if it was love at first sight, but it was awful close. By the end of the week, we were dating.
I could make allusions to lots of lessons learned (accepting invitations- eventually, seeking answers, being open- as much as an introvert like me can be and so on), but the key factor in me meeting this woman was other people. People who weren’t concerned about me finding the love of my life, but people who offered their help in small ways. Invite a guy to church, recomend a school to a kid, tell a guy about somebody who needs a roommate. Little stuff leading to big stuff. People reaching out and helping me even when they received no benefit from my choices and decisions.
I am so fortunate.
I began tracing back the beginning of my good fortune to the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school. But I could go further back. How did my Dad end up on Oxford Drive where I met David? A co-worker of his told him about a house for rent with cheap rent. How did David end up on that same street? His mother sent him to live with his grandmother.
And how did I end up living with my Dad on Oxford Drive that year? My mother sent me to live with my Dad. So I could thank my Mom as well.
How did I get here? Other people.
How about you?