Friday, May 6, 2011

Our Love Story—The Day We Met

January 19th, 2001

“So, who do I give my money to?” I asked Ruthi as I walked through the doors of a building on the side of a church I’d never seen before.

“Oh, you can give it to that guy over there. His name is Rob, he’s the college group leader,” she pointed toward a guy standing in the back of the room engaged in a conversation with someone.

So I walked over and handed him my $3 for pizza. I don’t remember if we exchanged introductions or pleasantries or if I just handed him my money and walked away, but I had unknowingly made contact with the man whose children I would raise, whose dinner I would cook and whose kisses I would steal on a daily basis. 

I wish I could tell you that fireworks spontaneously erupted, that our eyes locked and we “just knew” the moment we met.

But, that’s not exactly how the story goes. You see, when my new friend Ruthi told me he was the college group leader, I didn’t know what that meant. Was he a pastor? Was he married with children? Was he a student? He had this Dick Clark look about him. I could have seen him being anywhere from his early 20’s to his late 30’s. I was guessing he was a bit older than the rest of the crowd that had gathered to play games and eat pizza that Friday evening. He just carried himself a little more confidently than the rest of the crowd.

He was a little shorter than the average guy, standing at just 5’6” tall (of course, I didn’t know his exact height at the time). He was thin, but not scrawny. He was clean shaven except for a small patch of hair on his chin. He was dressed casually, but lacked the wrinkled/dirty/somewhat smelly look that many college guys seem to don. Despite his shorter stature he stood tall, with good posture. I would have (accurately) guessed that he’d been in the military based on the way he carried himself.

I took notice of him several times as the evening progressed, but I didn’t really think twice about him in that way. There was a lady that seemed to be near him most of the night, so I assumed that perhaps they were married.

Besides, I had a boyfriend back home. He and I had been dating on-again, off-again for nearly a year. I really liked the guy and we had a lot of fun together. He was the first Christian I’d ever dated and I liked that he had more character that any of the other guys I had gone out with in the past. We liked each other but we both knew our futures weren’t headed in the same direction. Still, it was hard for us to let go of our boyfriend/girlfriend status despite the fact that we’d tried to break up several times since I’d left for college in the Fall. We both knew the end of our relationship was near, but we didn’t know just how near it was.

I got to know a whole host of really great Christian college students over board games that night. As the new kid in town, I felt a bit like the center of attention. They asked me tons of get-to-know-you questions and seemed genuinely interested in my life.

I felt like I fit right in with this group of people. There were a number of brainiacs, some misfits, no shortage of computer geeks, a few musical prodogies, several ministry majors and even a few math-wizards milling about. There didn’t seem to be anything pompous or elitist about this group despite their collective I.Q. level. They were just a random group of faith-filled college students doing life together.

It was clear to me that I had made some new friends that night. And as the new girl on campus, having been at school less than two weeks, I was incredibly grateful. I had spent a few too many meals randomly parking my tray at a table full of strangers that I clearly wouldn’t fit in with.

Toward the end of the evening we moved to a room upstairs in the church to play a little game called psychiatrist. In this game one person who has absolutely no idea how the game is played goes outside in the hallway while everyone inside conspires to be someone they are not. It’s the job of the psychiatrist (in this case, me) to figure out what mental ailment is plaguing everyone. I was to figure it out by asking basic questions.

In this particular situation everyone was answering my question as if they were the person to their right. So I might have asked Ruthi if she wore glasses and she would respond “yes” even though she clearly wasn’t wearing them—because the person on her right was indeed wearing glasses. On occasion though, and this is what really threw me, someone would answer the question and then all of the sudden everyone would get up and move to a different spot. Now I could ask the same question to Ruthi who might answer it differently since she was now sitting next to someone different.

So I sat in the middle of this group for a good twenty minutes trying to diagnose these strange people. All eyes were on me, seeing how long it would take me to figure out what everyone’s problem was.

Eventually I figured out that everyone thought they were the person to their right and that they all switched spots when someone lied. Apparently I figured it out more quickly than the average Joe because unbeknownst to me, Rob took notice of how quickly I diagnosed the problem.

It would be the first of many random ‘tests’ I would unwittingly take over the next couple of months as Rob tried to decide if the fact that I was 6 ½ years younger was enough to keep him from taking an interest in the spunky little freshman that had caught his attention that night.

Click on the "Our Love Story" tag at the top of the page to see other love story posts, or to start from the beginning.


T & K said...

Sounds somewhat similar to how Travis first noticed me...except I wasn't in the spot light, thank goodness! : )

Beckys blog said...

I'm curious what other "tests" he put you through without you knowing, to decide he was interested. :)

Robyn said...

Those details will come in an upcoming post... :0) Don't worry, I passed them!

Scott said...

Robyn, the secret romantic that I am loved reading this. Happy Mother's Day!