This post originally appeared in some form at my old stomping grounds, workforthecausenottheapplause. For you my friend, it’s worth telling again and again. I love you. -M
We don’t always get to choose our friends, sometimes they choose us. When God has a plan stranger and bigger and more maddening than you could ever imagine. Functionally, you may not understand it; the pieces are messy, scattered here and there. But I once heard we live backwards, moving forward into a destiny that already exists.
It was 2005 when I met my husband. We met smack dab in the middle of the Ugly Tuna Saloona (you can’t make this stuff up). It wasn’t a chance encounter. It was a semi-planned spur of the moment oh what the heck kind of event. I showed up with my friend and my friend called our mutual friend who called my husband. So it was in some fashion sorta planned, but not really.
It was one night, I made fun of him, we had some drinks, he was boring so I moved on to the next guy. That’s when he told me that wasn’t going to happen, like he had signed some exclusive contract giving him rights to me. I told him he needed to loosen up. He wasn’t a dancer, I made him dance with me anyway. He still couldn’t move. So three hours into the night, when the others had left, I drug him through a set of sprinklers in the middle of downtown. His jeans were soaked. I was soaked. I was starving, so he took me for pancakes. It was 3 am. He ate pancakes too, even though he didn’t like them.
I didn’t intend on meeting my husband that night, didn’t anticipate either that the next day I’d be sitting in a courtroom across from his ex-fiancee. It normally would not have mattered to me except I knew the night I met my husband I was going to marry him, so now it mattered. She sat across from me, the prosecutor; I the court appointed public defender. She had nothing to say to me…
She already knew. News travels fast in the system. I didn’t want her to hate me, I just wanted to get through the day. There were too many kids locked up, and too many in the hallway. We had to work together. So I pulled her aside before the morning started and told her she didn’t have to like me.
She stared. Maybe she thought I was crazy. I didn’t want to hate her. I didn’t even know her. In a crowded hallway we agreed to work together and I told her it was o.k. for her to hate me. That broke the ice…
She probably wanted to hate me. I was just trying to stop the sound of shackles. I found out that I liked her. She was beautiful. We talked as the days progressed. I bought her coffee. I still told her it was o.k. to hate me. And over a couple of years, from courtroom to courtroom, through marriages and kids, we remained friends. It wasn’t weird for me. The world thought we were crazy. But I loved her, and our friendship meant something to the both of us.
She left the state attorney’s office and I left defense work. Some time went by and we drifted apart. Life is funny that way. I missed her. We spoke from time to time but it just wasn’t the same. I found Jesus. Then I was alone.
It was through a message that she reached out to me online to ask me about my Jesus. She is also Jewish. Two Jewish girls talking about Jesus. And she almost married my husband.
So she came to my church and shook. I told her it was o.k. I prayed the hardest I’ve ever prayed in my life. It was necessary. The details are not important. But suffice it to say that I knew there was a war for her soul.
She wandered that week. To and away from Jesus. So she met me at a Starbucks in the middle of the day and I held her hand. And next to coffee and the everyday passing of people, I led her to Jesus Christ.
I could have never anticipated that almost ten years after we met I’d be sitting in that Starbucks. That God planted her so firmly in my life. That I should have hated her, that we should have hated each other. It could have all worked out so different. But there was a reason my husband loved her, because I loved her too.