Once upon a time ...
Well, actually, it was in June of 2002. I had just started attending the church where my brother and his family went. Wanting to get involved right away, I signed up as a leader for the annual Vacation Bible School program. My first day of VBS, I met this guy. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to form an impression of him, though because he promptly got sick and missed the rest of the week’s events.
We met again a few times that fall while we were both volunteering with the children’s ministry. I found out his name was Adam and he grew up in the jungle, eating grubs and hunting boars. Actually, I later discovered that was somewhat of an embellishment (apparently little boys don't go out hunting boars with spears), but at the time such information just added to his terribly dashing and exotic mystique.
Sometime around Christmas, he got his shoulder-length locks cut and his parents came to visit from out of state. I wondered if the two were related. After Christmas, my time and energy was pretty well concentrated in preparing for a missions trip to Brazil. Adam mentioned one Sunday as we worked together that he wished he was going. Stressed out by the meetings and details of trying to put together a fundraising auction, I told him that he didn’t. He insisted he did, and I wisely dropped the issue.
My trip to Brazil was truly life-altering. You can read one description of my experience here. One of the things I realized on the boat in the middle of the river was that I’d been looking too hard for the man I was to marry. Every eligible male who caught my fancy, I immediately labeled a potential husband. I spent so much time afraid I might miss the one that I was missing out on what the One had for me.
Our team returned from Brazil the weekend before Ash Wednesday. Not having grown up in the liturgical tradition, I had never participated in Lenten fasting. As I considered what I might give up for the season, it occurred to me that I should give up men. I wasn’t quite prepared to do so publicly, so I made a private little promise to God that I would stop looking at every man I met and imagining a future with him. Publicly, I gave up television and movies.
I found my private vow much harder to keep than my public one. While I did well with the new guys I met that spring, my mind kept returning to Adam and wondering what it would be like to date him, marry him, have children with him. I knew my imagination had totally run away with me, but I didn’t know how to stop it.
Meanwhile, the Sunday school year was just about over. My roommate and I hosted the final prayer meeting for the preschool teachers the week after Easter. I was hoping Adam would come, but I hadn’t seen him for a couple of weeks and really didn’t have any idea. As was our custom, we shared a potluck supper before we started praying in earnest. About halfway through the meal, Adam arrived with a bag of frozen potstickers.
While he was cooking his contribution to our dinner, Adam stepped out into the living room to join the conversation, “Oh, Amy,” he began. “I didn’t get a chance to tell you last week, but you looked really beautiful.” Trying to keep a hold of my plate in my shock, I mumbled a quick, “Thank you.”
Adam wasn’t quite finished, “Your dress was really stunning.”
Internally, Whoa! Externally, “Thank you.”
As Adam stepped back into the kitchen to finish his cooking. I concentrated on not falling off the couch. Our children’s ministry director pulled at the collar of her shirt and asked no one in particular, “Is it hot in here or is it just me?”