I flicked my long blonde hair over my shoulder, scooped up my full laundry basket, and lugged it toward the glass door that guarded my college dormitory. Just as I struggled to get the door open, a very tall, muscular guy, tossing a basketball back and forth between his hands, pushed his way through.
What a jerk! I shook my head.
Suddenly, he paused as if the realization settled into his mind. He turned and his deep brown eyes met mine.
“Sorry about that.” His sad eyes searched me for forgiveness. I nodded my head, and his lips curled into a handsome sideways smile. “And thanks for being such a gentlelady.”
I involuntarily bit my bottom lip. My eyes trailed him as he walked away glancing back at me over his shoulder. Well, he’s good looking. A smile slid across my teeth, and not as much of a jerk as I originally thought.
Who would have ever thought that we’d become friends for four and a half years and never date, not even once. We would chat in the campus parking lot, and then I’d watch him date other girls. We hung out in separate cliques, and yet glanced at each other across the hallway walking to class, and still he never asked me out. I thought he was handsome and sweet, but our relationship never went beyond friendship, an occasional glance, and chats at the mailbox and in the campus parking lot.
The night of our graduation, we hugged, realizing we’d probably never see each other again. He stayed on at our university to study for his master’s degree, and I moved to Ukraine to work with street children and teach English.
I still remember the day my plane arrived in Kiev. I was so nervous. I didn’t know anyone there, but I was going to follow God wherever He led me. I struggled learning the language. I struggled adjusting to the cultural differences, and I ached missing my family and friends that I had left behind.
“Lord, I’m here because you brought me here, and even if I’m alone forever, I’ll do what you want me to do.” It was my cry of devotion to the God that loved me, even when I didn’t feel worthy of love, the God that healed me when I was broken, and the God that made me more than I dreamed I could be, but God does not ever ignore our prayers. At times, we may think He does, but we do not realize that sometimes He is silent because if He lets us know what He is doing, we’d just mess it up.
So, I prayed my prayer, and I continued to praise God for exactly where I was. Months went past, and suddenly, things began to change. I found that I was learning the language rapidly. I found that I was beginning to understand their culture, and I found an e-mail in my inbox from someone I hadn’t thought about in a while, Mr. Brown Eyes.
It didn’t take long for the e-mails to increase, and over the next few months, the e-mails changed to phone calls. Eight months later, I traveled back to the States to be my sister’s maid-of-honor in her wedding, and guess who had come to the airport? Mr. Brown Eyes.
I was only in the States for four weeks, and we spent nearly every day together. Mr. Brown Eyes helped me plan my sister’s bridal shower and bachelorette party. He drove me from event to event, and we stayed up late at my parents’ house sharing our dreams of what we hoped our futures held. It was two days until I was to return to Ukraine, and Mr. Brown Eyes asked me to go with him. I wasn’t sure where he meant, but I was game for anything that allowed me to be beside this sweet brown-eyed man. He drove me to a park, and just as the drizzle began to wiggle its way to the ground, he swept me off of my feet into his strong arms. He carried me to a gazebo in the middle of the park and sat me down on a wooden bench. The sun was beginning to set, and lightening bugs flickered in the gentle breeze.
“What are we doing here?” My curious eyes gazed up at him.
“Just wait.” He smiled as he held out his hand. “May I have this dance?”
I took his hand, and we danced to the tune that the rain hummed as it thumped against the gazebo roof. I twirled around, and then He dipped me and gently kissed my lips.
“You’re crazy.” I smiled up at him.
“I’m in love.” He smiled back and settled me onto the bench. Then he lowered onto his knee and asked me to be his wife. My eyes filled with tears as I nodded yes and snuggled into his neck. I breathed in his Ralph Lauren Safari cologne. Two days later, All the details of that night distracted my mind as my return flight to Ukraine bobbed along through the turbulence. A cheesy smile was etched into my love-sick face.
Six months later, as I boarded the plane for my twenty-hour move back to America, my mind danced through the years of sideways glances and long chats at the mailbox. I thought of all the times I had thought how sweet he was and yet chose not to act but just wait on God and His will. How sweet, how precious is God’s timing. It surpasses our understanding. His timing is perfect.
Years into our marriage, I asked my handsome brown-eyed husband why he never asked me out during those years in college. He replied, “I saw you. Girls like you didn’t date guys like me, but every once in a while, even the nerd can pick up the basketball and make the winning shot, so I finally decided to pick up the ball.” He reached over and took my hand. “That day, I made the winning shot.” He smiled. “I’m no fool. I know I’ve been blessed.”
Thank you for fourteen years of love, Joseph Lynn. You’re still the only man I dream of, the only man that turns my eye, and yours are the only arms I want to curl around me. Thank you for every snuggle, every kiss, and every memory. I love you with my whole heart, and I can’t wait to see what the next fourteen hold.