As I stated at the end of part one of this story my wife and I had many events that led up to the point where we headed off to our respective colleges. I attended the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas where I usually wore shorts and a golf shirt on a daily basis. My wife attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where they had tunnels that connected the school’s buildings so they could survive the frigid winters that are a part of life in this area.
My main area of study was playing golf and partying, both of which I did a pretty good job. I went to school enough to graduate in four years but to call me a “scholar” would be a stretch. I find it interesting that I learned absolutely nothing as I struggled through four accounting courses I was required to take but then used accounting and math/data extensively throughout my career the past thirty plus years.
As well, as evidenced by my many blog posts regarding theology and philosophy, you might draw the conclusion I took my many required courses on the subjects seriously and studied religion as a past time. Well… not exactly.
The fact is I never learned much in these classes either and rarely went to church from my birth up until I was married at the age of 26. My wife actually made that a requirement of our marriage which I am extremely grateful. But up to that point I knew little of the Bible’s teachings.
I think my wife took things more seriously at this time of her life than I did perhaps since she had to work her way through college (I was on a golf scholarship) to help pay her tuition. In contrast to me, she did grow up in church and had Christ and God as a part of her life. She originally desired to become a nurse but decided to change her major to become a teacher about half way through her studies. After she graduated (she is a year younger than me) many of the country’s large school districts were in major need of teachers (much like they still are today) and she decided she wanted to make a change in scenery and accepted a job with the Dallas Independent School District.
But before she could make the move she needed to work at a restaurant job she had lined up to have enough money to move down to Texas. Unfortunately, before she could start the restaurant went out of business. Immediately though a new opportunity presented itself. A job working on a road construction crew in the middle of nowhere known as western Nebraska.
So with a desperate need to make money, she drove west to the plains of Nebraska and started working on a road gang setting barrels and cones and flagging down cars and trucks on Highway 80. She had several dangerous moments asking motorist to slow down. Even more dangerous, for nearly three months she lived in a camper trailer with an older couple she had been introduced to. After putting a few dollars in the bank she loaded up her car to drive to Texas, a place she had never been to.
She made the long drive to Texas in a 1976 Chevy Caprice with snow tires on the back. She had no family or friends in the area but nevertheless made it down and secured an apartment near the school where she had been assigned to teach.
But then another curve ball was thrown at her.
She was required to attend a teacher orientation meeting a few days before the start of school and when she arrived she was given a red card and asked to stand in another long line. Apparently if you were given a red card it meant you did not have a school assigned. How could that be? She knew the name of her school and had gotten an apartment nearby. No, change of plans she was told.
After she got in line she noticed she was standing next to a fit girl who was about her age. She asked the girl if she worked out, they struck up a conversation, and the girl became her first friend after moving to Texas.
About that same time, I was living with a friend of mine about 20 miles away. I had been out of college for three years and had met my room mate through work as he was a customer of mine that I had developed a friendship with. Our weekends consisted of having as much fun as possible which usually meant drinking and hanging out in various Dallas bars.
The weekend before, we had been out to a night club called “2826” which was a trendy dance club located in the Dallas “Deep Ellum” district where I met a girl that I ended up asking out on a date…. No it wasn’t my future wife to be…. But just someone who would again figure into the chain of events that brought my wife and I together.
The following weekend my roommate and I decided to throw a party and a Texas Bar-B-Que so I decided to ask the girl I had just met to the party. For reasons I don’t know, and am forever grateful, the girl stood me up and gave me some story that likely wasn’t true. So the evening consisted of several of my buddies ribbing me unmercifully about my misfortune. I was not very happy about the situation and apparently was mad enough that I threw one of the guys into a swimming pool.
But as luck would have it my roommate had a friend that he grown up with in a small town in Louisiana who attended our party. The girl was a former college basketball player and a school teacher in Dallas. She had brought along a girlfriend who had just moved to town from Iowa.
We all had a good time, despite my buddies teasing me for most of the night and while I was able to meet the new girl from Iowa I wasn’t able to talk to her much that evening. But that next week I called the girl from Louisiana to ask for her friend’s phone number. She told me no she would not give it to me until she asked the girl first. Wow, I guess I really had a good reputation.
But she did call her and said, “Hey, that guy that was getting made fun of wants to ask you out. What do you think?” Apparently, my wife said yes “as she didn’t anyone else in town”. Gosh, I hope she was a little more excited than that but that is the way I have always heard the conversation went.
A year and half later we were married.
I have told that story about a thousand times over the past thirty years as I love my wife dearly and am amazed at my good fortune and how much my life changed – for the better – after I met her. But I also have thought countless times as to whether that was luck, good fortune, or did God intervene to bring us together. As I think back to all the moves I made across the country, the millions of choices we made, the tragedies and seemingly strange twist of events I have come to the conclusion this was not just random chance.
Really it all came down to two girls standing in line each holding a red card but it could have been any one of hundreds of things that occurred that could have altered our course. But that is the way it all played out. I think this story is just one of millions playing out as we speak, all that are a part of God’s master plan. So, take the good and the bad, as hard as that can be at times, and accept this life to be full of ups and downs that are difficult to explain. May God bless you and bring you good fortune like ours.