only help my unbelief

Letters, Brownies and Perfect Strangers [Love and Limeade Slushes IV]
January 20, 2009, 11:10 am
Filed under: Posts

Every week until we get married, I’ll be posting a short installment of the story of me and Christian. They’ll all be compiled at Love and Limeade Slushes as I write them.

The next morning, I wondered what the heck I had been thinking. Had I forgotten so quickly what happened with Mississippi Guy? This Christian guy seemed nice, but things weren’t happening any differently than they had before. Reading each other’s blogs, talking over instant messenger, finding out how much we had in common? It had happened twice in less than three months, and I just wasn’t sure if I was ready for this again.

God had a perfect plan, though, and He didn’t leave me to myself.

The next week after we started talking was Christian’s spring break. He was headed to Florida for a beach outreach mission trip with friends from college. We talked all week before he left. The night before his break started, he said that he would really miss talking to me while he was gone. In a fit of spontaneity and not-thinking, I promised I would write him a letter that he could read when he got back the next weekend. He said he would look forward to it.

I spent the next few days feverishly writing him a letter. I wrote about my job, what I was doing almost every hour (including thrilling things like my follow-up visit for my wisdom teeth) and pretty much everything I was thinking. When all was said and done, it filled the front and back of ten sheets of notebook paper.

Monday morning, I walked over to the campus post office. It needed more than one stamp, it was so heavy. Trying not to think about it, I put the letter in the mail slot.

And immediately wanted to reach in there and drag it back out.

But it was gone. I couldn’t take it back. My only hope was that the mail would get lost on the way to Sewanee, Tennessee, and that I could just tell Christian that I’d have to write him another letter, and this one would be about two pages. Tops.

The whole week, I lamented my loquaciousness. He wouldn’t even read the whole thing, let alone want to talk to me after reading any of it.

The Sunday he was going to come back, I drove up to Greenville with Birth Control Emily for an event at her church. On the way home, knowing he would probably have read the letter by then, we talked about what his possible responses might be. Emily tried to comfort me.

“It might just be a paragraph, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like you,” she said.

I wasn’t so sure.

But I had to know. When I got home, he was online. He messaged me immediately when I took down my away message.

I braced for the worst.

He said it was the best letter he’d ever read.

Assured that I was not crazy (or at least that if I was, that he didn’t care), our conversations continued.

At this point, it was pretty clear to both of us that we were interested in the other. But how to go about it? Neither of us were interested in having an “online” boyfriend or girlfriend, so we would have to meet in person. And because of my experience with Mississippi Guy, I didn’t want to wait very long. It would have to be soon.

That week I found out I was going to have the next weekend off of work. I normally worked every Saturday morning, so this was a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity.

I broached the subject carefully, unsure of what he would say. I was also nervous, because I really didn’t think that anyone – parents, friends, etc. – would be too thrilled about me driving six hours to meet someone who may turn out to be one of those guys who ends up on Dateline.

I’ll pause here to say that, looking back, we both wish that this had happened differently. Christian wishes that he had offered to come visit me, and I wish that I hadn’t been taking so much initiative. I wouldn’t recommend how we did it to anyone else, because I think that it can set a bad precedent. But God was gracious to us in redeeming even our poor decisions for His glory.

We decided I would drive up to Tennessee on April 6, the following Thursday, after I got done with work. Christian was ecstatic. I was excited, but I’m not exactly the most gregarious person, and I felt like I needed to establish contact before I actually drove all the way there.

In a stroke of providence, Christian knew one person who went to my school. I didn’t know her, but she knew Birth Control Emily. And she was driving up to Tennessee that weekend to go to a David Crowder concert with Christian and some of her other friends there.

I sent her a Facebook message. I met her at her dorm the night before the concert and gave her a package. It was like something out of a very poorly made movie. It was also very good practice for meeting perfect strangers, which would come in handy the next weekend.

And the next night, when she got to Tennessee, Christian opened a box of homemade brownies. It was the best I had to offer.


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