I once prayed for a good man. I didn’t really believe the prayer would be answered. But I was a bit lonely my freshman year in college, so it felt good to tell someone who would listen and not ask a lot of questions.
The thing about prayer, though, is that God always answers. Sometimes his answers are immediate, but more often, at least for me, they take time to come to fruition.
Shortly after I said that prayer, I met my future husband in a theatre class. Of course, I didn’t know he was my future husband. I paid more attention to his umbrella.
“Excuse me,” I asked him. “Can you move your umbrella?” It was one of those long, skinny, masculine ones with a large, black handle, and it was in my way nearly every day as I tried to slip past him in the auditorium style classroom.
“Sorry. No problem.” He would reach out to nab the offending object and quickly pull it under his seat, allowing me to slide into my seat next to him. Once when I did this, I noticed an open notebook on his lap where he had scribbled some words. I tried to read what he had written but was unsuccessful.
Fundamentals of Theatre
“Are you a theatre major?” He spoke, his tone friendly.
“Yes, what about you?”
“Oh no. I’m a telecommunications major. I just took this class as an elective.”
I noticed his clothing; artsy for a guy. He looked like a theatre major. Later, I would learn that his mother, a hairdresser, bought all of his clothing, but in the moment, I just noticed it as a casual observation. I was not interested in talking, so I settled in, opening my book.
“Welcome to Fundamentals of Theatre I.” The professor began his monologue. “Attendance sheets are being passed along.”
As he spoke, the girl seated to my left handed me a white notebook. I scribbled my name and passed it along to the young man with the umbrella.
Years later, he would confess that he had memorized my name on the attendance sheet, writing it in his notebook. But he was too shy to ask me on a date. Good thing he didn’t, because I’m not sure I would have accepted. I didn’t handle attention from the opposite sex well, and I didn’t go on a lot of dates. Plus, I had just met another boy at a party, and I was a bit infatuated.
And truthfully? If God had whispered in my ear that day, saying, “I’m answering your prayer. See that boy? He’s the one,” I wouldn’t have believed it.
Just like I wouldn’t have believed if the voice said, “You will be struck by lightening. Or you will win the lottery.”
I never forgot the boy or his umbrella, though. Long after we completed the class, I would see him on campus. Each time we’d run into one another, I’d ask, “Are you taking any theatre classes?”
And he would answer, “No, Amanda, I’m not a theatre major.”
First comes love
And then, one day, the stars aligned. We ran into each other on campus and as he tells it, “It was now or never.” He finally screwed up his courage to ask for my telephone number. (This was before the days of cell phones and texting.)
And I, who had sworn off dating, but wasn’t above going out as friends, gave him my number.
We went on a few dates, which led to a few more. My future husband, I learned, had a great sense of humor and was universally liked by everyone he came in contact with. We complemented each other well. He was outgoing; I was introverted. He taught me not to take everything so seriously. I taught him how to take everything more seriously.
A few weeks later, we had a major “Back to the Future” moment. You know, the one where Marty’s parents finally kiss and his future comes to be? Yeah, it was that kind of moment.
Then comes marriage
Some twenty-three anniversaries later, we have three kids, a dwindling mortgage, and a jet ski.
Times have not always been easy. There was a period, shortly after college when we both lost our jobs and couldn’t afford a wedding. We called ourselves “the trash couple,” because it seemed like we never slept or had money to buy anything nice.
There was another time, shortly after our second child was born, when I had a raging temperature for days, while our jaundice son lay in an incubator next to me.
We survived frequent job changes, loss of loved ones, health emergencies. When I lost my two front teeth in an accident, he took me to the dentist and held my hand. When my daughter lost hers after jumping and missing an obstacle course at school, he held my hand as we watched the dentist reinsert them.
Through all of lives’ joys and disappointments, we’ve held on tight and cherished one another.
I can’t imagine going through life without him by my side.
I can’t imagine a life without him.
To those who say God doesn’t exist, I say, try praying for something that really matters. You just might get what you asked for.
And be sure to look out for the umbrella.