The Story of Us: Part 4

By now, some of you are tired of the "to be continued" nature of this post. I will try to wrap it all up in Post 5, so we're almost there. Stay with me. For new readers, this is Post 4, so if you want the story to make sense, start back at Post 1.

Silence Continues:

At the end of my last post, Elizabeth and I were not communicating. The exception was that she called to see if I survived Hurricane Ivan in September 2004. This next year would be important for both of us. It was our time to separately make plans for the future. We both really wanted to be married and have children some day, so we both went looking for Mr. Right and Mrs. Right.

I have heard many Bible lessons and sermons in my life--probably several thousand. I can recall less than 1% of them, and that's normal in any learning process. During this year, I heard one particular set of sermons that stuck with me. The sermons were from Jim Schettler. Google him if you're not familiar--fantastic man! They were about preparing yourself to be the husband or wife that you ought to be. His repeated quote was, "Don't look for the right one. BE the right one." Most people focus on finding the perfect person without putting much emphasis on becoming the person God intends them to be. I decided to heed his advice and put first things first.

During this year, I focused on refining myself--not taking lessons on formal etiquette or developing an English accent. I wanted to refine my priorities and go after them. I was also starting to give serious thought to my post-college plans. If I was going to medical school, I needed to start preparing for the MCAT and getting serious about deciding where I wanted to apply; but the more I went down that road, the more it became clear to me that being a medical doctor was not my passion. I'm glad I figured that out on my own instead of having Elizabeth pressure me into a decision--then I might have resented her in the future. God knew that. I decided on my own that I was not meant to be a physician, and I steered away from it. But what does a Premed major do if not go to medical school? That will be addressed in the next post. Stay tuned.

I dated some during that year, but I wasn't excited about any of those girls. They were nice. That's all. The school year ended rather uneventfully, but it was a pivotal year for internal decision making. I came to find out later that during this year Elizabeth broke up with that guy from her college. In fact, it barely lasted the summer (of 2004) and they broke up early in the next semester. So she spent most of that school year single as well. She was incredibly busy with working, studying, and outreach ministries; she had very little time for dating. Even so, people were always trying to set her up with this guy and that guy and their uncle's cousin's best friend's weirdo brother.

The summer of 2005 began with me working, as usual, and also spending a good deal of time with a girl. She was an old friend from Minnesota. We had known each other for years, since childhood in fact, but now we started getting interested in each other. We dated that summer. She was a nice girl--smart, funny, etc. We dated the whole summer and had plans to continue our relationship into the college semester, even though I was leaving Minnesota to go to Florida. Our reasoning was, "This is my last year of college, and if we're serious, we can make it one year of long distance." 

As I already mentioned, my college was only 45 minutes from where Elizabeth's parents lived. I decided to contact her parents and ask if I could spend the night at their house on my way down to college. It was a long drive from Minneapolis to Pensacola, and having somewhere to sleep on the way was nice. I planned to stay one night with them. This might seem strange to you, but like I said, I had come to know them and respect them--so it wasn't uncomfortable. After spending the night with them I headed back to college the next morning. I only mention this because I learned later that my stay there sent a message to them--a message that I had not completely given up on a future with Elizabeth. That wasn't really what I was intending since I was dating another girl at the time I stayed there, but nevertheless, it was the message they received.

My summer romance didn't last very long during after the semester began. We talked for a few weeks, but it was very difficult to orchestrate our busy schedules. She was in nursing school and working, and I was a senior premed major 1500 miles away. More importantly, we both felt things fizzling. Sadly, my grandfather passed away in October of 2005, so I flew home to Minnesota to be at his funeral. I was only in town for a couple days, but I didn't even see this girl that was supposed to be my girlfriend. That demonstrated to me that we were going nowhere together. Shortly after that we had "the breakup call", and neither one of us were very emotional. It happened naturally--no hard feelings. She got married a few years ago, and I'm happy for them.

That year I had a fantastic roommate, who is now Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in North Carolina (@TabernacleNC); but at the time he was helping me. He was one of the few roommates I had in college that went to for advice. I told him about Elizabeth and everything that happened. I didn't talk much about that story, mostly because I just wanted to forget about her. Talking about things reinforces memory retention, so I blocked it out. I remember telling my roommate that I had forgiven Elizabeth for what she did. I wasn't harboring anger any more. And I even remember telling him, "Whoever marries her will be a lucky man." I'm serious. I said that, and I believed it. Sure, she did something stupid--really stupid. But haven't we all? 

Another New Beginning?

Within a few weeks of telling my roommate the whole story, Elizabeth called me--out of the blue. I was in shock when she called me. I thought maybe she wanted to ask me about my grandfather that passed away. Nope. She wanted to ask me for help with an assignment she had. She knew I liked to write, and she hated it; so she asked me for help with writing. I helped her with that project and had no intention of calling her again. However, about a week or so later I emailed her to ask her how the assignment went. She emailed back. Before long we were emailing each other every day. Our friendly emails turn into long, personal letters, just like the good old days. It happened so effortlessly. After a month or so of emails, we started calling each other again, but I was very cautious, and so was she. We had been out of contact for a year. Neither of us knew what our intentions were. So we did what we had always done--talked about it.

In December of 2005, things got real. Elizabeth finished her semester and flew back to Alabama. Our semesters were staggered so hers ended before mine, so she came to my college campus to see me. Not only that, we had arranged to attend a play together. I suppose you could call it a date. Actually, from what I understand, she called her brother (who attended the same school as me) and asked him to ask me to ask her to this play. You might need to read that again for it to make sense. Things seemed to be going well between us, but I hesitated to make myself vulnerable again. I was in the middle of final exams when she came to campus, plus I was packing to go home and having to clean my dorm room for the end of the semester (followed by the beloved "white glove" inspection). This was a stressful time in the semester--lots of caffeine was required. After our "date", we walked around campus for awhile and talked. We found some chairs to sit down. She said she had something important to say, so I listened.

Keep reading in Part 5 (click link).

Image credits:
Focus image from http://www.zachandjody.com/blog/tuesday-photography-tips-tricks-back-button-focusing/15588/
Bored man image from http://www.thesinglemotherdiaries.com/2012/08/01/67-dating-rejection/
Phone image from http://washingtonnote.com/to_all_those_wa/
Chained heart image from http://worthyofagape.com/2012/09/12/guard-your-heart/

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