So when we last left off, Preacher Man and I were relatively good friends. I say “relatively” because in large part, we were friends of convenience. He would come over to hang out in the lobby, I’d ask him how his day had been, and we’d inevitably start chatting and just keep chatting. Occasionally we’d go on a walk to continue the conversation, but most of our friendship was based on the fact that we just saw each other a lot.
As Christmas break rolled near, though, the same genius who decided a first year RA should be the Head RA of the dorm decided to move me across campus to another dorm. I knew this move came because I was trusted (this was a particularly challenging section) but I was angry. I’d spent a semester investing into the girls in my dorm, and just like that – I was moved. Not only did I feel like I was abandoning my mostly freshman girls, but now I had to start all over again with relationships, AND had to deal with a difficult section. Since I had no choice, I moved.
Preacher Man and I didn’t talk over Christmas break, but we weren’t really that great of friends. I remember wondering if we’d still hang out after I moved across campus, and deciding that we probably really wouldn’t – and I was alright with that. A couple of weeks into the new semester, however, I got a phone call.
“Hey, so I was just wondering if you had a few minutes to talk.”
“Sure – wanna meet at Lusby?” (yes, that’s the real name of our main building. go ahead, everyone snickers the first time they hear it).
This time I had no delusions about Preacher Man noticing my sky blue eyes, but I was glad to hang out with him again. To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember exactly how our conversation went that evening. I DO remember thinking that he was awfully serious and earnest, and was glad that he trusted me enough to share with me.
See, Preacher Man tends to be an intensely private person. I can’t lie – some of the stuff I write on this blog (especially the looooovey stuff) makes him a bit uncomfortable. He doesn’t open up to a lot of people and has a thick layer of sarcasm and wit to penetrate in order to really get to know him. I didn’t know it at the time, but some of the stuff we talked about on those walks were a BIG deal to him.
So that particular night, Preacher Man had been at a Chris Tomlin concert. I’m not entirely sure what was going on in his life before, and I don’t even entirely understand what happened in his heart during, but he was apparently very affected. God spoke to him and I guess changed his heart. I say words like, “apparently,” and “I guess,” because I really don’t remember what Preacher Man said in that conversation.
I’ve since found out that when Preacher Man got back, his immediate thought was, “I need to share this with Jen.” The same Jen with whom he didn’t talk at all over break, and the same Jen with whom he hadn’t even had a conversation since school started. Yet it was also the same Jen who he’d found genuinely listened and cared about what was going on in his life – and cared enough to call him out when he was being ridiculous.
I didn’t know it at the time, but this was a big deal. Thank you, Chris Tomlin. Thank you.
And so once again – that one conversation broke the ice. Whereas Preacher Man and I had been previously friends of convenience, we now called each other fairly regularly to chat and hang out. He was the one person with whom I could share my struggles with my section, and he never failed to help me see the girls through God’s eyes instead of my own. Our conversations would often start with, “Hey, so I was reading in James and read this, and thought about what you’re dealing with,” and we sat next to one another- worshipping and learning together- at chapel.
Now let me pause here to tell you that in case you’re thinking there was any funny business going on – there indeed, was not. Sometimes when he called and wanted to hang out, I’d meet him straight from a work out. Greased out hair, pit stains, and all. Preacher Man continued to ask me advice about girls in whom he was interested, and I continued to ask him advice about Kevin – whom I was dating by that point.
This is the part of our relationship for which I’m most grateful, and I believe God guarded each of our hearts from falling in love before it was His perfect time. I had never let down my guard with a guy the way I did with him, and I daresay he had never trusted and respected a female as much as he did me. Preacher Man saw me – the real, frizzy hair-ed, goofy me, and he allowed me to see beyond his sarcasm. If I had been interested in him, I no doubt would’ve ruined it by trying too hard and filtering my words and emotions.
Thankfully, I wasn’t out to impress him.
I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait to find out what Maybelline has to do with our love story. Sorry for the (not-so-much) cliff hangers. I promise – I’ll get through this one day!