Can we back up for a second? Of course we can. I know, I know. I told you there was a blind date coming and you’re wondering about that. But this is important, I promise.
Remember how I told you that I was starting to feel pretty insecure about the fact that I couldn’t even seem to get a coffee date? Well, talking to my mom helped, for sure. I mean, according to her there had been at least one guy looking my way, even if I didn’t realize it until he had already found someone else. But the insecurity had sunk a bit deeper than I had even realized.
I’ll be honest, somewhere in there, before I left for Brazil, I was feeling that maybe I was expecting too much.
Maybe it was just silly to think that a guy would like me for who I was. Maybe who I was, wasn’t actually that likable? (Go ahead and laugh, it’s okay.) Maybe I was too intense, too focused. Maybe I shouldn’t be so spiritual, so determined. Maybe I should be a little more needy, less in control. Maybe I should dress a little more daring, and put on some lipstick. (What can I say? I wasn’t thinking clearly. Lipstick is always a bad idea.)
God and I had some pretty intense conversations during that season. I wasn’t quite desperate, because I knew I was still young, but I also saw a pretty clear future stretched in front of me.
And I was left feeling less-than.
But one night, I had a dream. I’ll spare you the boring details, but what basically happened was a man came into a group that I was standing with and led me up a hill. When we got to the top of the hill, there was a beautiful dance floor with crowds of people standing around it. “Why aren’t the people dancing?” I asked him. The man led me out onto the dance floor and smiled. “Because I built this dance floor to dance with you,” he told me. Music started and as we waltzed all these pictures flashed through my mind of him working. From sawing the trees, to planing the boards, to sanding, to varnishing and fitting it all together. And I realized that he did it all because he loved me. Not because I had done anything good enough, but simply because of who I was.
When I woke up, I just sat there for a while, thinking and praying. And I knew. I wasn’t less-than. That dream was just a silly picture that the Father used to remind me of the greatest story ever told. Because there is a God who sees us, chooses us, and has done the work to demonstrate His love for us.
Whatever had been rocking me, with all the insecurities and questions, began to still. Who God was began to fill my vision again and the fears bound up in who-I-might-not-be were pushed to the side. I loved who Jesus was and He loved who I was, and well, we had work to do.
So I went to Brazil and braved the Amazon bugs (mostly mosquitoes, but also very large cockroaches on occasion) and filled journals with conversations with my Savior. But then my grandfather died, and I flew home for a few weeks, never realizing that trip home would change my future drastically.
While I was home I ended up living with my brother and his wife and their three little children. I spent most of my days listening to my brother sing the praises of some guy I didn’t remember ever meeting. “Oh, you know him,” my brother kept saying.
“I have NO IDEA who you are talking about,” I insisted, unable to place the name at all.
The only thing I did know was that the man’s farm, which my brother pointed out every time we drove past, was REALLY pretty. Rolling flat land and windmills.
Then one evening my dad told me to come over for dinner, so I went.
When I found out that I wasn’t the only one coming for dinner, about the time a rumbling diesel truck pulled in the driveway, I thought about crawling into a hole and dying. Talk about an introverted girl’s nightmare.
Thankfully, Mr. Potential-Husband was outgoing. Nervous, of course, but also able to laugh and talk unhindered by my stuttering silence.
I could hardly believe there was a man, a real-live man, sitting across from me who was gentle and kind and who wasn’t looking at me like he was trying to debate if I was worth his time or not, or worse yet, not actually seeing me at all.
I mean, this was a blind date for me but not for him. He knew who I was before he ever came and he didn’t seem to think I was too old or too young or too curvy for his tastes. And he stayed and talked… for hours. I mean, it was a good sign if he wasn’t trying to escape, right?
And just about the time I had settled down and was able to hold an intelligent conversation, Mr. Potential-Husband told me straight-out that he couldn’t pursue a relationship with me right then. He had some things that needed to be taken care of.
Enter Boy-Girl Miscommunication Class 101. I translated that to mean that while he thought I was “a nice girl” (story of my life), I wasn’t actually interesting enough to pursue.
He actually meant, “I’ve been waiting for a year for a chance to date you, but just last night some things came up that I need to take care of, so I can’t really do anything with this chance TONIGHT. But give me two days.”
He left. I went out with my girlfriends, giggled a little about the fact that he really did seem to think I was pretty, thank-the-good-Lord, but once again, I wasn’t enough of something for a guy to pursue me.
And then I went back to Brazil.
Mr. Potential-Husband got everything taken care of and then worked on his farm and his house, waiting for me to come home, muttering about the fact that I had once again pulled one of my elusive stunts.
When I did come home, earlier than originally planned, I wasn’t going to have anything to do with Mr. Potential-Husband (whom I still assumed had told me he wasn’t interested). I had a guy in Brazil who was interested in a relationship, was wearing a smaller size jean than I had in four years, and had talked myself into maybe being willing to flirt the littlest bit—and by “flirting” I meant that I wouldn’t let my introvertedness keep me isolated. I would look up and smile and join the conversations. I didn’t know if the guy in Brazil was a part of my future, but I did know that I was done with feeling like I wasn’t quite good enough for even a coffee date.
Of course, the first thing my best friend did when I got home was talk me into going to a bonfire at Mr. Potential-Husband’s farm. I was adamant that I Was. Not. Going. To. His. Farm. I would NOT throw myself at the guy who wasn’t really interested. There had to be someone eventually who would think I was good enough, and if there wasn’t, I was perfectly fine being single. Thankyouverymuch. (When I’m not feeling insecure, I’m actually pretty sassy. What can I say? I get it from my mother. For reals.)
“There will be plenty of people there,” my friend pointed out. “You won’t even have to talk to him.”
So I didn’t. I parked myself next to a guy-who-would-never-be-interested (unless I suddenly decided to take up kayaking and mountain climbing, but the chances of that were about slim to none) and laughed through the evening. I made up for coming by being exceptionally outgoing and witty. It didn’t escape my notice that Mr. Potential-Husband sat on the other side of guy-who-would-never-be-interested and kept joining the conversation. He was just as fun to talk to as he had been at dinner. Not that I was talking to him. At least, not really. Okay, fine. We may have debated a few of the finer details in life. Like how to build a decent bonfire and whether a s’more is better with or without chocolate.
The next morning I rolled out of bed (or rather, my hammock that I had immediately hung in my room when I arrived home because they are the best thing to sleep in EVER) and padded through the house toward the kitchen, still in my pajamas with my hair every-which-way. Two steps inside the kitchen and I stopped in my tracks. There sat Mr. Potential-Husband, having breakfast with my parents. He smiled at me and winked.
I muttered something about needing to go and raced back to my room. I stayed hidden (and fixed my hair and make-up. Ahem.) then quickly said goodbye as he was headed out the door.
I glared at my parents after he left and they just shrugged and smiled. “He wanted to make sure you were still available and he was still allowed to pursue you,” they said. “You okay with that?”
I thought about saying no. Really thought about it. But I couldn’t. I shrugged. “We’ll see what happens,” I said.
But alas, days passed and he still didn’t call.
I found out later that it was because he left that day for a trip to Minnesota. He hadn’t talked to my dad the whole time I was in Brazil because, well, I was gone. But I had come home early and he realized he really needed to make sure he stated his interest but then felt weird trying to talk to me when he wasn’t in the state and couldn’t exactly do the talking in person.
When he was finally headed back home days later, and was trying to figure out how to approach getting to know me, a mutual friend decided to help us out by setting up another date that I didn’t realize was a date. (We have such sweet friends in our lives.)
I got a phone call from said-friend asking if I wanted to go with a group of them to Texas Roadhouse. It sounded innocent enough. Ha.
I got there and Mr. Potential-Husband was sitting with the group. I was going to play it cool and just sit with my brother and his wife, but the friend snagged the chair I was reaching for. “You can sit over there,” he told me.
Of course, the only available seat was next to Mr. Potential-Husband. The cads.
It was like the whole world was hard at work trying to break me out of my introverted shell. I showed them. I hardly spoke the whole dinner. And I ordered chicken. At a steak house. I was feeling feisty.
That wasn’t the end of the trickery though. I went to leave and the friend I rode with said, “Oh, Tasha, sorry, but I’m not going back your way.”
He offered Mr. Potential-Husband’s truck as an alternative. Apparently HE was going my way. Very slick, boys.
Of course, I could have begged a ride off someone else. There were plenty of people going my way. I looked over at Mr. Potential-Husband and his eyes twinkled as he grinned. “I’d love to take you home,” he offered.
Surprisingly enough, I looked right back at him, smiled, and decided that I believed him. He really did want to drive me home.
We talked the entire ride home. In fact, there wasn’t a single awkward silent moment. Our conversation just flowed from trucks, to tractors, to my family, to his family, to Brazil, to his farm, and then on into deeper things about God and faith and missions and hope.
He dropped me off and said goodbye. I watched him drive away and stood there a bit confused. He hadn’t asked for another date. Hadn’t even mentioned seeing me again. Weird.