First Date (kind of) …
I was just trying to be nice. It was a month after Mia passed. I knew that Terry worked from home, didn’t get out much, and probably wouldn’t get out without an invitation. So (in Christian kindness), I invited him to a high school football game. My son graduated from Mainland High School in May and had went on to play football in college. Since “Buc pride never dies”, I try to attend as many Mainland games as possible even though I no long have a player on the field. My normal football game buddy couldn’t make it that night, so I thought I’d ask Terry if he wanted to go. I started the Facebook message, then deleted it. I didn’t want him to get the wrong idea. A few hours later, I sent the message inviting him. He responded right away saying sure. I started to feel uneasy about inviting him and almost didn’t go, but finally I rationalized, “nothing is going to happen”. After all, he was not my type.
That night, I tried to not look too cute, because I didn’t want him to get any ideas that this was a date. It was a nice lady and a nice guy at a football game sitting next to each other on the bleachers. I got there early and purchased my ticket, so he would know: THIS IS NOT A DATE.
“Mainland is Mainland”, so it was a blow out and a shutout (we won). I personally like blow outs when my team is winning because I don’t have to spend the rest of the game stressing about who’s going to win. Most guys like for games to be competitive, but Terry didn’t seem too bored.
After the game, Terry walked me to my car as a South Carolina gentlemen would do. He asked if I wanted something to eat. “No”, I said “I ate already” then I went home. I messaged Terry to let him know that I made it home safely. We ended up texting back and forth the rest of the night. I’m a texter. I get annoyed when people call me, especially when a text will due. Terry is a caller, he prefers to talk, but that night, he faked it. I remember thinking after a few text messages, “Faith, stop texting him, he’s going to think you like him”. My first impression of him was that he was a “fuddy duddy” (read nerd). I was very surprised to discover that we have many things in common. I was even more surprised to find myself looking forward to his next text. After a few days of texting, Terry finally popped the question, “do you EVER talk on the phone”? Deep sigh, I paused, “do I like him enough to talk on the phone”, I asked myself. “You can call me” I responded.
I’ve never met a man so noble, or maybe I did and I thought he was too good to be true. I spent a long time distrusting all men. I didn’t hate men. I just didn’t trust them. Early last year, I took a Bible Study called “Breaking Free” by Beth Moore. There was a homework assignment in that study that asked some tough questions which allowed me to see the condition of my heart. I was raising two male sons. I prayed fervently that they would become “good men”, yet in my heart, I didn’t believe “good” men actually existed. I prayed to God to remove that distrust from me. I didn’t know it at the time, but God was preparing me to meet a man like Terry and not be convinced he was a fraud.
Terry’s Thoughts (T2):
I have had many people wonder “How did you meet Faith?” Well, I knew Faith from our church as she was the servant leader of the single mother’s small group. My late wife, Mia, knew her from being a small group leader herself and was impressed with the work that she had been doing with both the small group and her children. Around April or May of that year, Mia approached me about “helping” (read: pay for) her put together some gifts for the single moms in the church. Since we knew it was going to cost a lot, we started early and made purchases throughout the year so when Christmas came, it would not be a struggle to pay everything off. So, as the year progressed, Mia and Faith were more and more in contact with each other on the things that were needed for the event at the end of the year. The best thing about the relationship they had with each other was the simple fact that Faith respected the boundaries of marriage between husband and wife and Mia kept me informed about all communication that was occurring between them.
As the follow year began, Mia had a deepening appreciation for the things that the single mom’s ministry was doing and was dedicated to helping in any way that she could. With the help of some mutual friends, Mia began to transfer items that had been purchased, to the single mom’s ministry. Unbeknownst to us all, in her final week on earth, she transferred some additional items to the single mom’s ministry. A few days later, Mia had received her reward. As with everyone else who did not know what was going on with Mia’s health, Faith was completely unaware of what was transpiring in my home and was surprised and shocked when learning about her passing.
A few weeks later, a “little” (category 3) hurricane name Matthew came up the east coast of Florida and made things a “little” difficult (no power for 3 ½ days). For years, I had volunteered to respond to a storm if necessary and now, a storm appeared in my own backyard and I didn’t have to travel anywhere. For several weeks, I worked with clients to help them apply for assistance to help them recover from the effects of the storm. Although Matthew did not make a direct hit on our area, it did create enough issues that I was working 10-hour days during this period. The work was gratifying and was a great distraction to what had just previously occurred in my life.
So, one Friday afternoon, I get an IM asking what I was doing that evening. It was Faith. She was checking on me and said she felt that I needed to get out of the house. She was correct. All I did during this time was work, come home, take care of Momma and go to bed. I was being invited to a high school football game. I thought to myself “Hmm, I haven’t been to a high school football game in over 20 years, this could be interesting.” I asked her where the game was located. She said that it was in Palm Coast. I told her that I wasn’t going to get off work until around 6pm. She told me the game started at 7pm and the name of the school. I came home and made the necessary preparations to go.
I met her at the ticket window at the school and we went to the visitor’s bleachers. When we sat down, something interesting occurred: our knees touched. Something so innocuous as knees touching ended up becoming the start of something that would end up in our becoming husband and wife. During the course of the blowout, although there were plays that caused us to get up and sit down, our knees ended up next to each other. Even when she disappeared during halftime (she was being a social butterfly), when she returned, our knees were together. I thought to myself “What is this?” A few weeks earlier, I prayed a very simple prayer: “Lord, your Word says that a man that finds a wife, finds a good thing. This time, I am looking.” I knew what I wanted in a helpmate, but did not know whom or how he would present them to me so that I could show them that I could be the spouse that they needed me to be. When I first met Mia, my prayer was similar, but different. It was “Lord, your Word says that a man that finds a wife, finds a good thing. I’m not looking, but I am ready. You know how to make it perfectly clear to me who You have chosen for me. I don’t know what to look for, but You do.” So, when you KNOW He will answer you, then it makes it easier to accept the response that you receive.
When the game was over, I offered to take her to dinner. She politely refused (which was a surprise to me). I asked her to contact me when she arrived home safely. On my way home, I prayed a very simple prayer: “Lord, if this is the person who you have called to be my helpmate, give me the strength, courage and knowledge to show her that I can be the helpmate that she has been praying for.” This prayer was basically made because of two things: 1) I knew what I brought to the table and 2) I knew Faith was a divorcee, but didn’t know the history and believed that there could be the potential issue of mistrust that I would need His guidance. When beginning to learn someone who has had issues of trust in the past, it takes special faith (no pun intended) and patience to hear from Him on how to address these issues. One must take time to hear from God to know what to do and more importantly what NOT to do.
When she arrived home, she sent me a text. Now if you know anything about Palm Coast, getting texts can be just like playing roulette; sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. I decided to not move a muscle from the location in which I received the first text. We basically texted each other for about 2 hours (I don’t know how young people do it). Eventually, I sent her a text “Do you like to talk on the phone?” The answer was “Yes.” Finally, I could actually TALK to her and hopefully and prayerfully hear what was in her heart and on her mind. From there, we began to forge a deep friendship that turned into a deeper relationship which eventually turned into marriage. There was one thing that was paramount to our young friendship being a success: we prayed together daily before getting off the phone with each other. I credit this as being an important pillar in our foundation of our marriage as we prayed for each other, our families and that we would continue to hear from Him on what steps we should take as our friendship grew and matured.