1. I’m stubborn and think I know best for my life.
1a. My first impressions of Preacher Man included truly profound and insightful thoughts about his height and his hair.
2. He had the hots for a girl.
2a. This girl was not me.
The phrase, “has the hots for,” is really an underused phrase, by the way. Right along with, “totally tubular,” and “okey dokey artichoke-ey.”
So strangely enough, that misguided walk around campus kind of broke the ice for us. We began casually talking about life when he came over to hang out in the lobby, we started sitting next to each other during chapel, and that walk was the first of many around our small campus. I wish I could remember what we talked about when we hung out – I’m sure it’d be funny to reminisce about, but alas – I have only a smattering of memories.
I can recall sitting on a bench and Preacher Man playing a song on his guitar. Now – if you’re from my particular small college (or attended a similar one), you’re rolling your eyes right now. The image of a guy, sitting next to a girl, with a guitar, playing either
1)Dashboard Confessional or
2)Any worship songs that probably consist only of the cords D and G
is an image that is cliche in this world. Because usually that guy is trying to woo a girl, too blinded by love to realize how ridiculous he looks. In this case, however, Preacher Man was not trying to woo me, so Dashboard and everyworshipsongunderthesun were not what he chose for me that particular evening. Instead…he played, “Hey Mickey.” I vaguely remember him showing me that it was the same cord progression as another song, but laughing as he rolled his eyes and said (said…not sang) in a deadpan voice, “Oh. Mickey. What a pity. You don’t understand.”
We talked about homework, we chatted about school stuff, and we discussed our lives. But there are two things that I remember talking about the most with Preacher Man. 1.) God and 2)The opposite gender. And not necessarily in that order.
Boy, I’m all about listing stuff today, huh?
See, like a lot of college students,we were both working out what we believed…in whom we believed, and even sometimes IF we believed. We inadvertedly found in one another a sounding board for hidden doubts and unspoken uncertainties. I didn’t know it at the time, but we were laying a foundation for a marriage that was centered in our identities as children of God and our ability to challenge the other to knowing Him better and more intimately.
And we just thought we were chatting. Sheesh.
Now as to number two in my list of stuff we talked most about. You might think that what with all of this talking and walking and singing we were doing that one of us started to develop a crush on the other. You might think that Preacher Man would’ve come around to noticing my sky blue eyes, or that I might have picked up on how charming his smile is, and you might think that one of harbored secret feelings towards the other
…and you would be wrong.
Sure, I thought he was a keen fella (…another underused phrase), and I’m sure he’d say he thought I was a swell gal. In fact, as we got to know one another better, our respect for the other only grew…and grew. I remember thinking that I would love to date a guy like Preacher Man – I just wasn’t interested in dating him. And Preacher Man tried to set me up with at least two of his friends – so apparently he found me moderately interesting and attractive – but not for himself.
I really couldn’t have given two hoots what he thought about me physically. Most of the time when he was hanging out in our lobby, I was in old pjs and a hoodie. I didn’t care if I had makeup on, I didn’t care if my hair looked right, I didn’t really even care if my breath was funky. But man – I cared a lot about what Preacher Man thought of my character. I respected him. And so I respected what he thought of me.
Because of this interesting dynamic to our friendship – we naturally began to ask the others’ opinions and thoughts on our romantic interests. I was very interested in a good friend of mine, and found myself asking Preacher Man why the guy did this, said this, acted like this, didn’t say this…and how I could best show the guy that I was interested. Eventually this guy (we’ll call him Kevin) and I started dating, and Preacher Man continued to be my one stop source for understanding the male mind.
Preacher Man on the other hand, was interested in several girls during the course of our friendship, and never failed to ask my honest opinion of them. And boy, was I honest. My opinions ranged from, “Well, I’m not sure that she’d really get your sense of humor,” to, “Seriously? You really want to do ministry with her for the rest of your life?” I knew that Preacher Man didn’t see in himself what I saw in him, and I knew he had no idea how manipulative complex females could be. Even eight years later, I find him to be completely naive about women and their wiles.
We were friends. Good friends. Good friends who respected and trusted the other. I wanted Preacher Man to find a woman who was sweet, wise, beautiful, and a great complement to him, and I wanted to be the very happy girlfriend and maybe even future wife of Kevin.
But then something changed. And for the record: I blame Chris Tomlin and Maybelline.