Dear Ana and Emma,
Lest you think all I did at seminary was go on these weird quasi-dates with guys who were vague and hard to read (ahem), LOTS of other stuff was happening during all of this. I had a full load of courses that semester, I was working as a children’s minister at a church in another town, and I was still, six months into life back in the US, trying to adjust. And during all of this, your Papi and I began to see each other more and more. He’d come by the dorm some nights, where we’d sit in the parlor room at the front of the building (it was ultra-conservative SWBTS, y’all — no “boys” upstairs, you know!) and eat leftovers that the cafeteria workers saved for him for after his janitorial shift. We’d study together, we’d spend most of our free time together, and we talked on the phone long after he’d gone home for the night. (And, bless his heart, he was too poor for a land line, so he’d have to stand out in the cold with his cell phone because that was the only way he got good reception. I had no idea, or I would’ve felt so guilty, gabbing on and on from the comfort of my warm bed while he froze a couple of streets over in the barrio.)
In all this, I concluded some valuable things. I’d spent the better part of my twenty-five years of life believing that love would be love at first sight, that I would instantly know it when I saw it, and that the guy God had for me would be one who I would recognize as just that from the very first moment we met. And I had concluded that this? Was not what had happened with your Papi. Instead, I had settled into an easy, natural friendship with someone who I admired, someone who had all the traits that I had hoped for in a someday husband — a love for the Word of God, an openness to God’s calling, a strong work ethic, a heart for the lost, and a desire to lead a godly family. Plus, he had several things that were “bonus” traits — a great sense of humor, a sensitivity to the feelings of others, an already established call to vocational ministry, and, above all, humility. (Which, believe it or not, was in short supply among the other MDiv students. Holy, self-righteous, little preachers, Batman!)
So, while I was pretty certain that we were just friends… I was okay with being wrong. If I should indeed turn out to be wrong. Which I kinda hoped I would be.
The two of us went down to Alvarado two weeks after our first date to get a break from campus and the massive amounts of studying and working we had both been doing. And while I can vividly remember all the details of how it all happened, all you need to know is that the confusion over what we were and weren’t worked itself out when your Papi finally leaned over and kissed me. Hallelujah! And then I kissed him back. For, like, the next three hours. (Holy, kissing, seminary students, Batman!)
At some point in all that smooching, I remember him looking at me with a rather smug, self-satisfied expression on his face and asking, “So, are you my girlfriend?” And I remember looking back at him with nothing short of complete adoration and saying, “Oh, yeah. I think so.”
(And Papi would like to interject that the pizza we ordered back before that first kiss? Was completely cold and disgusting by the time we actually got around to eating it. And he said this all with that same smug, self-satisfied smile on his face. He’s lucky he’s so cute, y’all.)
I’ll post the rest of the story tomorrow…