Deciding for myself that I would set aside all obstacles and reservations, and fall completely and head-over-heels in love with Chris would have been easy, or at least easier…if it hadn’t been for a surprise visit at church that happened just a week or so later.
I was heading into church, my mom’s foster kids in tow, when I walk in the foyer of the church and before I could even get out of the way of the closing door, my mom rushes to my side and whispers into my ear (read: excitedly shouts) “There are TWO guys here this week! My, they ARE Handsome. They really have nice looking behinds! GO and introduce yourself - NOW. NOW, MISSY!!”
Now-we come from a small church-one that rarely had visitors, and those that do visit are noticed RIGHT away. Especially men for the almost-woman of the congregation…namely, me. It was exciteing to have visitors to the church for the church. It was exciting for them to be MALE for my mom. I, on the other hand…didn’t give one hoot about any of it except that my mom had checked out their bumpkins. I am NOT kidding. Yes-she scoped out their rearview. I was mortified. Well, not mortified. No one who has lived with my Mom her whole life would be mortified by that, I was pretty much accustomed to it. But a hint of embarrassment was still there-
I acted like nothing had happened and quickly dispelled any hopes she might have had by promptly sitting down…several rows behind the mystery men in hopes they wouldn’t notice me. Service proceeded as usual. When I was introduced to them, I politely smiled and then scooted right on out of the picture. I didn’t give them the time of day-I didn’t remember their names and I had no interest in learning about them at all. Besides: I had other tasks to attend to. And they made me just a bit uncomfortable.
The next week, the mystery men, shockingly, came again. I say shockingly because-rare as visitors were, it was even MORE rare that they make a repeat appearance. This week, there was a young woman with them. Again, I sat behind them. I noticed that both men would put their arms on the pew behind this woman at varying times throughout the sermon. Odd. I didn’t really know who the lady ‘belonged’ to, if she did either of them.
That Sunday I also noticed a few OTHER things about them that only people sitting behind them would notice. When the sermon was being preached, both men had their eyes fixed on the Pastor. They didn’t fiddle about, have their nose in a book, and didn’t give any reason to believe they were anything BUT transfixed on the message. Another thing: they sang out so loudly and with such emotion!! In a congregation of 40 or 50 people-you can hear EVERY voice and I will tell you, our congregation was a POOR example of acapella singing, as the volume was barely even audible. So-when these strangers knew the psalms and sang them OUT as if they were actually PRAISING God (gasp!) it struck me. Not to mention: these men spoke with all the people of the congregation, paying special attention to the older widows. Now THAT, my friends, is a rare sight indeed.
As you can see, I did seem to be spending a bit more time noticing them-and maybe I even did a rear glance ONCE. Okay. MAYBE twice. And Mom was right~it was a pretty sight.
After the sermon closed, I again offered reserved kindness and then politely took my leave. I learned that the men were twins. One was named John, one was Matt. The only difference was that one wore glasses and one didn’t. I also learned that the woman who accompanied them was named Holly, and was John’s fiancé. Ah. One was taken. That leaves only Matt.
But WAIT. I wasn’t supposed to think that! Gasp! I was, after all, in a relationship! It was like a little air bubble in the midst of a sea of water. It came from somewhere down deep but as soon as it surfaced, I popped it. I was NOT going to think like that. That is NOT putting myself ‘on board’ with Chris’ plans.
That night I went to service, as usual, with Chris and as usual-was upset at all those trite little irritations I always felt when worshiping with him. Every time I sang out the hymns that I didn’t know, I thought about these two men who sang with their whole hearts-and then I heard the feeble and uninterested singing of Chris. When I saw Chris reading from an entirely different book than the one being preached on, I thought about how the mystery men had been absorbed in the sermon. When service was over and done with, and Chris went straight to his silly college friends, I bit my tongue as I thought of Matt and John shaking the hands of the Pastor and holding the doors for the elderly women.
I realized that I wanted MY man to have qualities like John and Matt-and not Chris. Chris was a Christian, without a doubt-but he still wasn’t good enough for me. I realized that I was in love with the idea of being in love, getting married, becoming a wife and a mother. I realized that to be ‘unequally yoked’ didn’t just stop at being Christian or non…but it extended to principles and ideals and goals. Chris and I had nothing in common except a love of Christ and wanting to be married. It only just occurred to me that even THAT is not enough. This realization was not brought on by a desire to BE with Matt (or John) but as a result of their good example.
Chris dropped me off at my door, said goodnight and plopped a kiss smack on my lips. I said goodnight too-and closed the door. The next day, I called Chris and asked if we could go for a ride, I needed to talk to him.
to be continued...