It’s Valentine’s week and love is in the air, causing flushed cheeks, sweaty palms, shortness of breath, and incoherent thinking.
On second thought, maybe it’s a virus.
Newt has a fever and is having to miss her co-op’s Valentine’s Party today. And I will be nursing her back to heath with Gatorade and Harry Potter. (We only have about 100 pages left until the end of book number four.)
But as promised, this week will be the week that I finish sharing all the sordid details of the beginnings of my love affair with Mr. Frantic.
However, today is like one of those recap shows where you don’t learn anything new, but you
hope watch anyway. It’s been so long since I posted part one and two of my story, that I decided to repost them today. New dirt details tomorrow.
A Whirlwind Romance: Part 1
I was nineteen. The past few years had been spent in the painful chrysalis of trying to figure out who I was. I made mistakes. And I suffered.
It had taken some time and a badly broken heart, but I learned that I was a daughter of God and He loves me. That knowledge was everything. I started behaving more like it.
One warm May evening in 1995 I decided to go to a church dance. I don’t know why I wanted to go. Because even though I had decided to make Christ a part of my life, I still had some misgivings about the other people my age at church. The girls seemed cliquish and the guys were weird. Really weird. And nerdy. And weird.
I did not like them.
So no one was more surprised than I was when I started getting ready to go to this dance. I carefully picked out my outfit. One that said, “I’m cute, friendly, and not interested in any of you weirdos.”
In case you are wondering an outfit like that looks like, I lay it out for you:
Black Doc Martins, faded Gap jeans, and a sheer short-sleeved sweater with a modest black tank underneath.
Oh yeah, and a scowl.
So the Princess left for the Ball.
And it was bad.
Bad dancing. (Think Elaine from Seinfeld)
Bad music. (YMCA again?)
Bad food. (Store bought cookies still in their plastic cases)
Bad. Bad. Bad.
Here is where some well-meaning older adult would tell me that “Fun is an attitude, not an event” and I would punch them in the throat.
Or at least sigh and roll my eyes.
Did I mention that even though I had learned who I was, I was still dealing with some issues?
I felt like the girl that gets invited to a party because the birthday-girl’s mother made her. Everyone acts like they want the girl there, but she knows the truth.
Honestly, the people at my church were probably quite nice, but I was really insecure. I was trying to reject them before they had a chance to reject me.
And it was working out quite well. Thankyouverymuch.
I was standing by the table of chocolate chip cookies and red punch when someone introduced me to Mr. Frantic. He was newly returned from serving a two-year mission.
A mission where he did not date or even flirt with girls. Where he did not watch tv. Or listen to the radio. Or read anything other than scripture and scripture commentary.
He devoted every waking minute to God’s work for two years.
The poor guy had been home for less than a week and he was feeling really awkward at his “reentry” into real life.
I could have been gracious. I could have helped him to feel welcome and comfortable. But before I could say a word, the thought went through my mind, “I wonder if this is the guy I’ll end up marrying?”
I have to tell you, I was not in the habit of thinking about marriage.
I was nineteen for heaven sake!
I had plans. Plans that included moving away from my parent’s home. Travel. Finishing up at the local community college and moving on the university. Preferably one far away.
And not BYU.
My plans did not include getting married anytime soon. Nope. Not me.
And so that little matrimonial thought poisoned me against my new acquaintance. I barely spoke to him. We each came away from that first encounter with a less than favorable impression of the other.
I thought he was annoying. He thought I was obnoxious.
Can’t you see how the seeds of love were planted?
At this time in my life I was busy pursuing both a fine education (general studies at the local community college) and a career (customer service rep at Circuit City). On Sundays I attended a college ward (LDS terminology alert: ward = congregation) for young singles. It was not really going well. Remember how I mentioned that I had a bit of an attitude? To my intense surprise, my prickly personality had not won me any friends. I was considering whether I should continue going there or go back to my parents’ ward (snore).
Politically incorrect sidenote: Growing up, it was the standard joke that all of the people in my parents’ ward were either short, fat or mentally impaired. Thankfully, I’m only 5’1″.
One afternoon at work I received my schedule and noticed that I was supposed to work the following Sunday afternoon. That meant that I would be unable to attend either ward. But I really did want to go to church. By a series of odd coincidences I ended up in a ward way across town. I had never been there and didn’t know anyone that attended there, but it met in the morning and I could go and still get to work on time. So I went.
I sat in the back, feeling slightly awkward. A few people smiled at me but I didn’t know what to say so I buried my head in the program. Hmmm…I noticed a familiar name. That one guy from the dance, my future husb- shut up! would be speaking that day – reporting back on his mission.
A I listened to him speak I realized that he was really a nice guy. And he seemed so confident, so sure of himself, which was exactly the opposite of what I felt. I felt bad for being so snotty to him when we met.
After the service, he saw me leaving the chapel. He caught up to me a grabbed me by the hand.
“Heidi, what are you doing here? Do you go to this ward?”
“Um, no I have to work this afternoon and- actually it’s really a long, boring story. I liked your talk. Welcome home.”
I guess he was excited to see a young familiar face. He dragged me over to meet his family: his parents and older brother. I really didn’t mind, they seemed nice. I felt strange. What was this feeling? The opposite of awkward, comfortable…
The next Sunday I went back to my college ward.
I walked in and no one said hello.
I sat in the back, alone.
What was I doing there?
I said a quick, sort of demanding silent prayer.
Hey, Heavenly Father?
I’m here because I thought this might be where you wanted me to be. And yes, I admit I haven’t tried quite as hard as I should, but still…I’ve been coming for months and I’m not even sure the bishop knows my name, let alone any of the people my age. I’ve committed to follow you, and I will. I know it won’t always be easy, but I can’t take much more of this. If you want me here you’ve got to throw me a bone. Here’s what I need: a friend. Just one would be enough. Oh, and I’d like to feel like I belong here please. Today. Or I’m never coming back. I guess I’ll join all the short/fat/impaired people and my parents…
Before I could finish the bishop came up and said, “Heidi, I’ve been meaning to talk to you. Could you meet me in my office after church for a few minutes? I’d like to get to know you better.”
And then that guy from the dance walked in and said, “Why are you sitting here all alone? Come sit with me and my friends.” So I did.
That day I met his friend, J. J was nice and cute. So of course I said yes when he asked me out. Could be fun, right?