Breaking the Spell (Part II)

This entry was posted by on Sunday, 10 June, 2007 at

Part I

Let me tell you a story.

Last spring, my Bible study group decided to go country line dancing. This, I probably need not tell you, is not my cup of tea. However, a friend and I decided to make the most of it by buying some fabulously awful cowboy-style shirts for $1.45 each at the thrift store, and we looked, as they say, “hotter than a whorehouse on nickel night!” (It was important to pick up some authentic cowboy slang as well. Ahem.) Anyway, that evening, I had the pleasure of dancing with a certain young lady and discovered, much to my surprise, that I really enjoyed dancing with her. A lot.

This was quite a conundrum for me, because at that time, the very idea that I was capable of having feelings toward anyone else was both unexpected and unwelcome. Yet, in the coming weeks, I could not help but wonder if she felt any of what I did.

“You’ve had this problem before,” I told myself, “of being unable to move on to something new because of your refusal to let go of the past.” I have to admit that it seems that I have sabotaged myself more than once in this regard.
“No!” I declared, “My problem in the past has been my unwillingness to make a choice and commit to it.” So there and then, I made my choice. And I committed to it.

The results of that decision, I believe, have already been made clear. Conveniently enough, as life and circumstances would have it, I did not see this particular young lady for awhile after that. Out of sight, out of mind, and my focus moved to other things. As I have described elsewhere, last summer was bad, and fall was worse.

But in November, things started to turn around. Among other things, I started attending that particular Bible study again as well as a new church service. Toward the end of the year, as I began to see her more regularly again, and as my other hopes were crumbling around me, I could not help but wonder if I had really made the right decision back then. But even if there had been anything there, surely that ship had sailed six months previously.

That was the state of things on that solemn day in January when I challenged God for a sign. The next day was Sunday, and I happened to run into her just as I was walking into church. Is that a sign? Surely not, for we often went to the same church service in those days. So I took a seat next to the wall as was my custom, she chose the one beside me, and before long three members of her family came and sat in the row immediately in front of me, giving the distinct impression that I was now boxed in by her family. Now that seems more like a sign, no? That was still a bit of a reach perhaps.

The sermon that day was all about going through storms and at the end of the service (being the first Sunday of the new year) the pastor called for anyone who had been through a storm in 2006 to stand. Oh yeah… that’s me. This was followed by a request for anyone who was facing a storm in 2007 to stand, and a time of prayer.

After the service, her mother engaged me in conversation and eventually invited me to lunch with them. It is not so uncommon to have lunch after church… I had just never been invited by anyone’s mother before. Which in itself is a point worth mentioning. I, along with some others from our Bible study group, had been to their house for a couple of barbecues last summer. So I had met her mother before, and on those occasions, she was always so extraordinarily nice to me that I could not help but wonder if perhaps my name had come up before.

Anyway, under other circumstances, I might have declined this invitation, but on this particular day, I was immensely curious to see where all of this was leading. It then came out that we would be having this lunch not locally, but at a restaurant some thirty miles away. This prompted a discussion of how many vehicles were needed as people had to make various stops both before and after lunch. My friend, however, declared that she would not be needing her car, and proposed to ride with me.

At that, we departed. While in route, my friend received a call from her mother, saying that the proposed meeting time had been moved back. We would have been early anyway, as we had headed straight there while the others had various errands to run. Now with this, we had an hour or so to kill, which we decided to do at a nearby mall. By this point, it had become very difficult for me to dismiss this series of circumstances as totally random. I had done nothing whatsoever to bring any of this about, yet things were unfolding in a way that I could never have imagined or planned.

So, we spent our time wandering around looking at various things and talking about various things. The thought crossed my mind that she and my sister might enjoy shopping together, which, in light of this post, is perhaps the best I could ever hope for.

I’m not sure exactly when it was made clear to me that the reason we were going so far away was so that her grandparents could join us for lunch. I do know that I was aware of it by the time we arrived at the restaurant. We were still the first ones there, and as we sat waiting, I was brought back to reality. What in the world was I doing here? For, in my mind at least, if a fellow goes out to dine after church with a young lady and her whole family (minus one, but I will come back to that), then I should think that there might be certain expectations and assumptions made by that family that really were not true here. But the family was quite welcoming and the lunch was quite pleasant overall. Toward the end, my friend’s sister joined the group, and I’m pretty sure I saw a distinct what-the-hell-is-Tim-doing-here look cross her face for a moment. It was actually a relief to know that it wasn’t just me.

At the end, my friend got up to use the restroom, and before she had returned, everyone else stood up to leave. As no one else made any move to pick up her stuff, I reluctantly took that duty upon myself. So I stood conspicuously waiting for her, holding her purse and to-go box, thinking, “What IS this? I’m not the boyfriend. I’m not even a good friend. I’m just SOME GUY from Bible study!”

She would be joining the other females in her family for a shopping excursion, so we said our goodbyes and I was left to drive home alone. I could almost here God taunting me.


For in retrospect, this ought to have been a top contender for most awkward day of my life. Yet it wasn’t. I felt like I was playing the “boyfriend” role all day. It felt like a Ghost-of-Christmas-Future kind of thing. YOU WANTED TO KNOW WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE? THIS IS WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE. As I have said, when I asked for a sign, I expected something a little more subtle.

Part III

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.