Our Blessed Life

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Rest of the Story: Part II

Me 'Back Then': usually hanging out at home with my roomie at our rental house in New Orleans

Part II

One evening, after teaching all day, I arrived home - exhausted as usual.  Preschoolers can wear you out.  Preschoolers with autism (aka: bundles of unbridled energy) can seriously wear you out.  My roommate and I probably had the usual for dinner: either take-out of some variety or some version of mac & cheese and party sausages.  {This was years before I knew my way around the kitchen.}

Late in the evening I checked email on my laptop and found a message from an address I didn't recognize at first.  I opened it to find a short and cheerful note that read something like:

"Hi there!  During my most recent hike Dad and I were talking about you (translation: I was praying for you), and I just wanted to encourage you as you prepare to come to the Big Country..."

I checked the email address and his last name twice to make sure it was definitely the Handsome Tour guide.  It was!  My stomach did a flip.  In the email he mentioned that of course he remembered me and B.  He asked about life in the Big Easy and what had I been up to lately?

What had I been up to lately?  Did he want to start a conversation?

Let me take a moment to remind my readers: this was back before texting was global.  Instant Messaging was just coming on the scene, but most folks communicated through good old-fashioned email.  ;)

I sent him a message back, telling him that my days were filled with teaching, and that my roommate and good friends had just thrown me a surprise birthday party....

A few days later, another email: he wanted to know what I did for my birthday... I told him how we played a lazy game of b-ball in the backyard (one of my de-stressing activities in that season of my life), and then went to an indoor rock-climging gym and ended the evening with some cake and mint chocolate chip ice cream.

A few days later, there was another email: he couldn't believe it - He loves basketball, rock-climbing, and mint chocolate chip ice cream!

From there, it snow-balled.

On any given week he might be near a computer for a few hours at a time, and then back in the middle of nowhere for days.  So conversations were sporadic, yet constant and persistent.  Over the next few months we learned about each other's families, upbringing, likes, dislikes, walk with the Lord...

Jeff 'Back Then': usually hanging out with his 'roommate' and hiking partner in the middle of nowhere

We grew up 4 hours apart.  We were both involved in youth ministry for years... it's quite possible we attended the same conferences or camps and never ran into each other.  

I went to a small Christian school where I worked through ACE Paces in high school, and my Mom was the class monitor.  
He went to a small Christian school where he worked through ACE Paces in high school and his Mom was the class monitor.

Every email was long.  Very long.  Often filled with encouragement, exhortation, lessons from the Word, and tales of their travels.  And questions.  Lots of questions.

With every email I felt my heart fall deeper in this thing - was this a good idea?  I still had no idea what this guy's intentions were.  But at one point - when he mentioned I was probably beating off boys with a stick, I read it to my roommate and said, "is this guy flirting with me?!"

By December I was certain that I wanted to be with no one else.  But I still had no confirmation of his feelings for me. Just a hint here and there.

Like a good Baptist girl, I prayed for confirmation, and I 'put out a fleece,' so to speak.  I prayed for Jeffrey to make his intentions known... and I prayed for flowers.  

Flowers?  Why on earth did I ask for that?!  Gracious, the boy lives in China - how is he going to send me flowers?  I'm doomed.

Two months flew by and the sporadic yet constant emailing continued.  He, on the other side of the globe; me sitting at my laptop in my little New Orleans home.  He wrote while I slept, so checking for his letters was one of my morning routines (or happened late at night.)  One Wednesday evening {February 13th, to be exact} I was at my parents' house, answering one of his emails on their computer because I'd driven there to attend church and eat dinner with them.  I mentioned in my email that I was at their house... several hours later, after driving back to New Orleans, I received a message from him just before bedtime...

He was disappointed to learn that I was at my parents' house... because he had arranged for something to be delivered to me the following day...

.... the following day, on Thursday...

... the following day, on Thursday, February 14th...

... the following day, on Thursday, February 14th, Valentines Day!!!

I was reading this at midnight, but when I realized the implications of what he said, I had to tell someone! I went into my roommate's room, sat on her bed, woke her up, and shared what I'd just read.

Yes, I feel kind of bad now for doing that, but not too bad, since there were several nights in college when she pulled the covers off me and dragged me from slumber to go hang out with friends or study at Pit Grill 'til 2 am.

She was excited for me, and went back to sleep.

And somehow I slept.  But the next day, school hours couldn't go by fast enough, as I tried not to constantly wonder if and how and when would there really be something delivered from the Handsome Hiker from across the big sea...

(to be continued)


  • At 4:47 PM, Blogger Haley said…

    Aaah! The suspense is horrible!!!

  • At 8:50 PM, Blogger Jeffrey said…

    Sadly, Haley, nothing came of it.
    She wound up with me instead.


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