Many folks have already heard our unlikely love story, or speculate that they already know. But here’s how it really happened:
I became a Christian in October of 2002 after a long fight. God finally allowed me to hit rock-bottom the year before and from there I had nowhere to look but up, which I’m sure He knew was the only way I would finally slow down and listen to Him. So once I finally surrendered, I began attending the church where I had pledged my life to Christ, and after going a while I started attending a Sunday school class for new believers. It was kind of a “Being a Christian 101” which is what I really figured that I needed. My brother in law went with me, although he’d been a Christian his whole life, but I think he somehow wanted to help me find my way and help me get comfortable in the class since I didn’t really know anyone. There were a few other folks in the class, one of which was a man named Todd, who was not at all memorable to me other than the fact that he seemed to have an incredible memory for Scripture, which impressed me. But that was the only thing I was thinking of him at the time. So I attended the bible class every week with my brother in law, and every week I saw Todd and thought the same thing about him. He was a nice guy but we never talked or anything like that, I was too busy dealing with all the new stuff there was to know about being a Christian. I remember thinking to myself: this guy is gonna be a preacher because he was so great at quoting scripture. So one day I noticed that he was at the altar praying what seemed to be a prayer of wrestling with God, because he was so engrossed and so emotional that I knew it wasn’t just an everyday prayer. I remembered I had seen him doing this a lot lately, so after church when I saw him, something in me decided to make one of my classic dumb comments and I said “What’s wrong, are you getting your call to preach?” He said “No, I’m going through a divorce.” OOOPS. Divorce? I didn’t even know he was married. I’d never seen his wife, and besides…Christian people weren’t supposed to get divorces, right? Anyway, in that very awkward moment I stammered and blurted out something to the effect of “I’m so sorry to hear that” followed by some more awkwardness and a lot of “uh, um, etc” on my part. I probably said some other stupid and unhelpful things, then my big finish was something like “well, if you ever need to talk or, um, anything, uh…” [this is where I started hearing that voice in my head saying shut up, Krysten, just SHUT UP!!] “…if you need to talk, maybe we could grab a coffee or, uh, something. Well, bye…!” STUPID STUPID STUPID. You know how you say things that you don’t really mean just to get out of a situation? Well that’s what that whole thing was all about. I walked away thinking only “Glad that’s over. I’m such an idiot.” I wasn’t thinking of the poor dude who I just forced to tell me that he was going through a really difficult thing. Yikes… I suck.
Sometime later (I have no idea how long it was) I talked to Todd again and he said “Remember when you said that we could grab coffee and talk sometime?” I thought to myself…. “uh, no….I said that?” But there was no way out of it, so we set up a time to get coffee, but somehow the timing wouldn’t work out right so we ended up planning to have dinner. On a Saturday. Just the two of us. So now I’m thinking…I hope this guy doesn’t think we’re going on a date. Cuz we’re NOT. He’s not even cute. And even if he was, he’s way older than me (7 years seemed WAY older!) and he’s going through a divorce…this is so not my thing. I really hope he’s not on the rebound and thinks we’re going on a date. Turns out that he was also hoping that I wasn’t looking for a date. Who knows why he actually wanted to talk to me. I think at the time, he was probably just a little lonely and wanted someone new to talk to. So we went to a restaurant and while we ordered our Italian food, I started the conversation with “so, tell me about yourself…” and for the next hour or so, he did. He told me everything about himself. EVERYTHING. Apparently this guy doesn’t get modern American social cues…. but I listened and finished my meal way before he did because he was busy talking and all that. But by the end of the dinner, I amazingly still wanted to hang out and talk to him. I don’t even know why, because he pretty much had told me everything about himself that there was to know!
From there, we went to a little coffee shop that hosted local Christian artists. Turns out the feature was a duo of teenage Christian rapper…not exactly the right cup of tea for either of us…but I goofed around and sang & danced with the young dudes, and Todd squirmed a bit in his chair and tried to stifle his laughter. We talked some more and he drove me back to my apartment. Walking me to the door like the gentleman that he was, I couldn’t help thinking what a great time we’d just had, even though everything had pointed toward an inevitable yawn of an evening. God has a funny way of exceeding our expectations and turning our circumstances around when we never would have expected it.
Next time: The Struggle.