February 23, 2009
Eight years ago, when I met Jared, I was living in a church. A real life, no nonsense church. It was a super steep A-frame, obviously built in the 60s, and was comfortably situated between two fraternity houses on College Avenue.
How cool was I?
I had been hired by a campus ministry to organize weekly meals, serve on their Board of Directors, and try to find somebody...anybody...who might be interested in attending a Sunday morning worship service. Not an easy task on a campus filled with marijuana-smoking-ruffians (who I spent a lot of time making out with).
In exchange for my hard work and determination to grow the Kingdom of the Lord, I was given a private room at no charge. Sure the room had an old, flood-prone shower that doubled as a closet, but really now, who's complaining? It was free.
In an effort to provide a visual for this story, I googled the name of the church this morning. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be one single picture of that church on the entire expanse of the internet. What I did find however, much to my surprise, was that picture up in the corner. Two old roommates from back in my church dwelling days.
Then I read the caption of their picture, and almost peed myself right here in my computer chair. The caption read, "Sally Dew and Ashley Grover light their daily prayer candles at the Wilson Center in College Town.
Um? I'm sorry? Daily prayer candle? What the....????
I saw internet boyfriends and ex-sailors waltz in through those church doors, but never not once did I see any sort of meditative action over a prayer candle. Sure we cursed in each others' faces as we fought over our flowered dresses and low-top Doc Martins, but trust me here, there was not a single prayer candle involved in the day. Ever.
There was however, a trampoline. A really, really, really big trampoline.
One week after I met Jared, I invited him over to my church. He was impressed that three college-aged girls had so much square footage, such a nice wooded yard, and such a level parking lot for street hockey--and all to themselves!
"Wow," he said as he walked in and admired the height of the A-frame cathedral ceiling, "you could set up a full sized trampoline in this place."
He was right. You could. So we did. In the sanctuary.
And right there, under the hanging wooden cross, we threw down some nasty flips, and some sweet grabs, and some unbelievable spread eagles. Honestly, looking back on the whole scene, if Jesus himself had been there, I don't think he would have been offended one bit. I think he would have been like, "You SO CAN'T do a double back flip in here!" And then I would have done it.
I know, I know, the whole scene is terribly irreverent. But we were young, we were dumb, we were in college. And to this day, I still maintain that trampolining inside of a church was far more righteous than smoking doobies inside of a mini-bus. So there.
As the weeks wore on, Jared and I spent a lot of time around the walls of that church--tinging hockey pucks off of the exterior brick wall, painting the bathroom walls pink with pink polka dots, and playing old-school Nintendo.
And then it happened...
One night, after a date to a go-cart track, Jared whipped his little Corolla into a parking spot of the church lot, quickly pulled the emergency break, held my chin between his thumb and forefinger and said, "Amy. I love you." And he totally meant it.
After a few minutes (or maybe hours) of blubbering on and on about how much I loved him, Jared took off for home and I stumbled up the front steps of the church in my love stuck haze.
I fancifully rustled through my backpack, looking for my key, and found nothing more than a beach towel, a flashlight, and an extra pair of flip flops. It was 2 o'clock in the morning, my roommates were out of town, and I was utterly, completely locked out. In love! But locked out.
I wandered around the building, looking for a back way in, but I found nothing. Every window, every door, every hatch was locked down tighter than a jail cell.
I was screwed. In love! But screwed.
I tried to sleep on my towel, and simply survive until the church secretary showed up for work at 9, but who was I kidding? It was way too unbelievably cold to sleep outside with nothing but a pair of shorty shorts and a towel.
Finally, after three hours of traipsing around the yard in tears, I had officially reached my breaking point. And just like that, without a moments hesitation, I hefted an ax off the top of a neighbor's wood pile, wound up, and swung it at my bedroom window, as hard as I possibly could.
Apparently my swing wasn't hard enough, because that ax bounced off the glass like rubber, and the butt end of it smacked me square on the top of the head. Turst me guys, it sure didn't feel like rubber.
"Not again" I yelled! And I swung that ax even harder than I had the first time.
This time, thank goodness, the glass of the church window exploded into my room. I scaled up the brick wall, through the window, over the glass, and climbed into bed.
It was 4:30.
The next morning, around 10 o'clock, my telephone rang. It was Jared--a nervous, love struck Jared.
"Hi Amy," he said.
"Jared? You know...if you love someone," I sputtered--brain aching from an accidental ax to the head, "then you should make sure they get inside before you drive away. That's what gentlemen do..."
Six months later, Jared proposed to me in the trampoline room of that fine, New England church. I said yes, and we've been locking each other out ever since.
Except these days, we usually do it on purpose.
The writing prompt for this week is: What made you say it? Tell a story (maybe of the first time it happened, maybe not) about a time you said 'I love you' to someone who wasn't a member of your family. Or write about someone you wish you'd said (or never said) 'I love you' to.
Good luck and be creative!
Post a link to your story in the comment section of this post, and I'll post a link to your story on Friday (or you know, whenever...)