Boy and Girl Meet (Part 1)

10 Jun

Well, I might as well start at the beginning.

If someone had told me that one summer in college would change my life, I wouldn’t have believed them. I never saw that summer coming. I didn’t see myself sleeping on the top bunk in the basement of a dust-layered cabin for 3 months. I didn’t see myself giving piggyback rides and swimming lessons all day under the scorching Texas heat. But most of all, I didn’t see that I’d have to get lost in the woods to find something that would change my life forever – him.

Five months prior to that summer, I had completely written off guys. I was in my second semester of college and had recently broken up with my high school sweetheart. I needed space, freedom, and time to focus on the woman I wanted to be. And for the first time in a long time, I was content. I even went so far as to tell God I would be completely happy if I never married.

At the same time I was experiencing this personal growth, a boy my same age went to visit his friend at his new gig – training horses on a ranch in East Texas. The friend was living in an 8’x8′ tack room in a horse barn with large water-filled Ziploc bags suspended from the ceiling (for those of you not familiar with rural life, the bags keep the flies away). He was up before the dawn and crashed each night from exhaustion well after the sun went down. Seeing his friend’s living conditions brought 3 words to the boy’s mind: No, thank you.

The entire 2-hour drive home from the ranch, the boy shook his head and thought to himself: Who in their right mind would volunteer to live like that?  The days were long. The work was hard. The pay was low. But something kept gnawing at the back of his mind. Then, as he approached home, he had a sudden moment of clarity, and he was equally as disappointed as he was excited to admit to himself what had been bothering him the whole trip. He needed to be out there. But he couldn’t figure out why he felt such a strong pull to be there. It was like fighting gravity – you aren’t going to win.

A few months later, as the last frost bite of winter melted into the first blooms of spring, I was cheerfully walking across my college campus. I was buoyant that day. The night before I had begun praying about what I needed to do that upcoming summer. I didn’t want to go home to the same people and the same old life. I wanted a new experience, and I was elated with the hope that I would find one. That’s when it happened – the moment where my life’s path took a sharp and sudden turn.

A middle-aged gentleman with reddish-blonde hair was standing in the main hallway of the student center, looking out of place, and he smiled right at me. I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye, clutching my books to my chest and quickening my pace. I had no intentions of speaking to a stranger. Then he said something that stopped me in my tracks.

“Are you a Christian?”

I turned abruptly and smiled. “Yes, I am.”

Then, I noticed a marigold banner above his head with thick black letters: CAMP RECRUITMENT DAY.

He waited for it to sink in, and once understanding spread across my face, he continued. “What are you doing this summer?”

“Well, I don’t know,” I said carefully.

“Have you ever thought about working as a summer camp counselor?,” he replied.

“Not really, but can you tell me a little more about it?”

Then he turned to point at the scenic booth backdrop behind him that featured an enlarged photograph of his camp. I didn’t hear what he had to say, and frankly, I didn’t care. The beauty of the rolling green meadows and the tall pines that speared the clear blue sky above them was all in needed to see. And in the matter of a few seconds, I knew where I would be that summer.

(To read Part 2, click here.)


2 Responses to “Boy and Girl Meet (Part 1)”

  1. Shannon September 17, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    And you have to admit, the sweet face of that Alabama girl also drew you in:)

    • House to Home September 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

      Haha. You bet! 😉

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