My work day ended and I drove to pick up my little boy at school. Our usual habit on Wednesday evenings was to eat at church before worship and children’s activities.
I am a creature of habit. I sit in the same pew, park the same place, walk in the same entrance, etc. That is how I feel most comfortable. This particular evening I pulled in the lot a little concerned about my son since he appeared to be wheezing and I was worried we would be making yet another emergency room visit. I almost turned around to go home when he reached over and touched my hand and said, “Mom, I am okay don’t worry.” Upon that statement, and feeling immense relief that he was not in distress, I did not notice that I parked in a completely different area of the parking lot.
Next, we walked into the building from a completely different set of doors. I would now have to walk all the way across the gym and around the bend in order to pay and get our meal. If I had not done so I would not have seen him. As we walked in the gym I looked across the room to see who was already eating and then I saw him...the man from my office earlier in the day! He was sitting with a couple that I knew. The man he was sitting with was my son’s football coach. I would later find out this was the football coach's brother in law.
I started telling my son that the man from my office is here tonight. He did not understand why I was acting so weird. He told me to take a chill pill and went off to be with his friends. Great! I did not know where to sit and now my son has decided to exert some pre-teen attitude! I found one of my formerly single friends and sat down with her. I was very nervous and told her I had to go say something to someone. I jumped up and went over to the table where this gentleman was sitting. I walked up and asked him if he had been in my office that day. This was highly unusual for me to do this, especially with it being a man. I am very friendly but this was a risk that I normally did not take. He replied that it was indeed him. He also had this very disconcerting smile on his face. Normally, I would have extended my hand in order to shake their own and welcome them to the church. I had grown up in this church and was very active. I knew I had not seen him there before. This time I did not extend my hand but kept them firmly behind my back. I walked back over to sit down and then I realized I had not told him what I had intended to say when I went over there in the first place! My friend Debbie could tell I was very flustered. I really could not understand why I was so frazzled. I went back over and told him that the Athletic Director is a member of the church and that I had known him for over 30 years. I then went back to my seat. I felt like a goober!
As I returned to my seat, I was asked to attend the blended families Christmas party which was being held in one week. I had known all these couples in the singles department so it was not too odd of an invitation. I said that I would try to attend.
Later I watched this man leave and asked my singles pastor who he was. I had not understood him when he said his last name and I wanted to know more. This request was not too strange since I was in singles leadership. I was not interested in him in a relationship sort of way, but he seemed to be a visitor and if I needed to send a welcome card by golly I was going to do so. The first response from my singles pastor was "His name is Mike XXXX and he is a single dad with three or four kids". He then put his arm around me and smiled really big. I told him that I was not interested in him that way but was wondering what his name was because I could not remember it. He told me that he had custody of his children. Well if I was interested at all that sealed it for me…..I had prayed that if I was to remarry it would be someone who had either never had children or who had been widowed with children. I had seen too many marriages fail because of both parties being divorced and how the back and forth with former spouses and pulls on the children caused constant conflict. I knew that I could love someone elses children but hearing those words from my dear friend and pastor, I never gave it another thought, at least until…to be continued