Part 1 of my Valentine story.
I met Pete at my sister’s wedding. I first spied him through the kitchen window setting up chairs in the yard. He was the cutest guy in the wedding party, I noted, even though I could tell he wasn’t really my type.
At this point I was still the kind of girl that chewed up guys and spit them out, at least that’s how my sister described it. I didn’t do it maliciously, just thoughtlessly and selfishly. Underneath it all I was probably just scared of getting hurt. Better to be the predator than the prey.
But Pete was safe. Not only was he not my type, I couldn’t stand being anywhere near him. Pete is not one to keep his opinions to himself, and I disagreed with everything he thought worth sharing. Pete talked about God — a lot. He also had assumptions about gender roles. At the time, my top two pet peeves rolled into one.
By some terrible flaw in the seating plan, I was seated next to him. He made yet another reference to gender roles, something about women and ironing. Ugh. I turned my back on him pointedly and rolled my eyes in my sister’s direction. “Pete is the most obnoxious guy I’ve ever met!” I told her afterwards.
It was the beginning of summer. I went back to studying for my Bar exams and Pete went back to wherever.
Fast forward a couple of months. After years of running from God, I had come full circle and rededicated my life. Maybe it was because I had strayed so far, but it seemed God had me on fast track transformation. I was being challenged and changed in every way.
I realized I had been trying to fill a void with men that only God could fill. I saw how dating had clouded my judgment and lead me astray. Okay, God, no more dating. If I’m going to get married, you’ll have to show me the man. I had no idea how this was supposed to happen, and honestly, it seemed like a ridiculous notion. But at the same time, it seemed like the thing I needed to do.
A couple of months later, my newly minted brother-in-law called. He had heard I was going up to Boston for an interview. He was driving up to visit Pete at school in Rhode Island. Did I remember his friend, Pete, from the wedding? And did I need a ride?
Oh, yeah, that guy. (Strange taste in friends). Well, why not. It would save me a fare. I’d drive up with him and take the train to Boston the next day.
Pete wasn’t as bad as I had remembered him. Now, at least, I wasn’t offended by his constant references to God. His good friend, Lindy, a freckled, strawberry blonde with dimples and a gap between her front teeth, put me up for the night in her room.
I ended up staying with Lindy for longer than expected. During the night a Nor’easter blew in, making the roads impassable. I don’t remember much about that weekend except standing in the Student Union with its faded carpet, listening to Pete. Quite likely he was talking about God, probably missions, and maybe specifically his plans to go to the Philippines after graduation.
I don’t remember because what I heard next completely overshadowed anything that had come before. “This is your husband,” a voice said.
I’m not sure which was more startling at first, the voice or what it said. I would’ve dismissed it out of hand, except I couldn’t explain how such a thought would have come to me. Not only was I not looking for a husband, even if I were, this would be one of the last places on earth I would think of looking.
I was anticipating a corporate life, a Bostonian life, boutiques and cafes on Newbury Street, leather bound law books, and high heels sinking into plush carpet. I didn’t know much about the Philippines except that it was a place as remote from my dreams as it could possibly be. And Pete, well, he would seem like a misplaced cutout on the collage of my life.
The next chance I got, I ran into my room — Lindy’s room — and scribbled it into my notebook. I still remember — I still have it — green ink on lined spiral bound. It went something like this: “This is really weird. I just have to write it down for the record … .”
As we said goodbye, Pete handed me a postcard. “We’re having an open house. You should come up and see if you want to come here. It‘s a great school.”
I had just finished three years of law school. He really didn’t have a clue. I smiled. “No, I don’t think so.”
“Think about it, anyway,” he said.
We were driving, and my brother-in-law turned to me, “So, what do you think of Lindy? Pete really likes her. I think they would make a good couple. Don’t you?” I didn’t say anything.
Has God ever interrupted your life and rearranged your plans? How did your respond? How did it turn out?