On June 27th, 2008 I got a call from a friend about meeting up with the group for a movie and some drinks. I politely declined as I was determined to spend the next few months holed up in my house and have no resemblance of a social life. Well, I guess you need the backstory on that...
Just one week prior, my girlfriend of over two years and I decided that it would be best to go our separate ways. We had a good relationship, no real issues to speak of, but we knew that it was not a forever type of a thing and continuing the relationship would be futile. I was more sad about losing a friend and someone I enjoyed hanging out with than I was about losing a girlfriend.
After breaking-up, I did a lot of soul-searching and praying and something became very clear to me - I wasn't dating the way God would want me to date and I wasn't dating the type of girls God would want me to date. It's very clear that God wants us to be equally yoked, meaning that both the man and the woman are going in the same direction towards the same God. Even though I had been a part of the church my entire life and had been in relationship with Jesus since my youth, I had yet to date or be in relationship with someone I was equally yoked with. I dated plenty of nice girls, just never the right girl. Ultimately, I knew that if I wanted a life-long successful marriage I would have to find a woman who was in-love with Jesus as much as I was.
I vividly remember humbling myself before God and asking for forgiveness by the way I had been dating. I knew I wasn't dating His way. I also knew that if I ever wanted true success, I would have to date His way.
And now back to June 27th...so I declined to meet up with my friends that day because I had a history of not being able to be social, without meeting someone. I know that sounds stupid, but I very rarely had no one around. I pretty much had a girlfriend, someone I was "dating" or "just a friend" from 1994 to June 2008. I was pretty sure that being alone for a while was exactly what God wanted me to do. Well, He of course had different plans.
After repeated calls and requests from my friends that day, I finally said "yes" to going to the movie after I was promised that I could show up when the movie started and leave when it was finished. Sounded pretty harmless to me, and since you can't talk through a movie, I figured I was in the clear.
I showed up to the movie theater with about 5 minutes to spare and found my friends who were already sitting in their seats. I gave the obligatory wave and hello and sat down next to my buddy Bryan at the end of the row. I knew everyone who was there, except I couldn't quite pinpoint who the girl sitting next to Bryan was. I had met her before, but only briefly and had no idea what her name was. Being the gentleman that I am, I introduced myself to which she responded, "I'm Mandi and we're going to get married one day." Just kidding. She just told me her name and reminded me that she was Bryan's roommate's little sister.
I honestly don't remember if Mandi and I talked before the movie started, but I do know that she laughed at basically anything I said to the group or to Bryan. At the very least, I was happy to have her around because I'm pretty sure my friends were tired of my jokes. In my mind, anyone who made me feel like I was funny deserved a spot in the group :)
After the movie was done (I have no idea what movie it was), I decided to join my friends at a little wine lounge close to the movie theater.
To be continued...
Ronnie decided a he said-she said was in order after a little discussion unfolded on a picture he posted on Facebook. The picture was of how hideous his face was the first 6 months we dated. HA! I kid…eh actually I’m not kidding. It was ridiculous. But the conversation wasn’t really about that. It was between my mom and Ronnie about what in the world they must have been thinking the weekend we met. Ronnie and my parents got off to a “rocky start” (kind of, not really)…and Ronnie thought it’d be good to share the happenings of that first weekend. To really spice things up, we should ask my mom and dad to each write their accounts of that weekend. Hm, now that I think about it…that may be needed.
So, onto that first weekend. And apparently, I’ve just been informed just that first night…for now.
June 27th, 2008th I was home for the summer. I went to school at Syracuse University, but my parents and brother all lived in Arizona, so that’s where I spent my breaks.
My parents moved to Arizona after my freshman year of college and my brother happened to get a job here after he graduated from Penn State. I didn’t know anyone here, but since my brother lived here and had made friends, I tagged along with him. His friends soon became my friends. My brother is an incredible guy. I always loved him when we were younger, but as I grew up, I learned to appreciate my brother even more. He’s a man of incredible character. He is endlessly funny. He is compassionate and fun to be around. He is his own person. He always has been. What you see is what you get when it comes to Josh. It is probably his most endearing quality. He is a social guy, but not a guy to hang out with people just for the sake of being with people. He has always been the type to hold friends near and carefully select who he spends a bulk of his time with. I knew anyone he chose to surround himself with would be a person that was worthy of friendship. In a way, he did all the work for me. I would come home from college and knew that I was spending my days with some of the best people to be found in Phoenix. He doesn’t know this, but one of my favorite parts about college breaks was the fact that I would come home, and get to spend time with my brother in a way I never had before. I got to spend time with my brother as my friend. It completely transformed our relationship in a way I cherish. But anyways, that’s not the point of this blog, I can love on him in another blog. The point is, I came home from college and hung out with my brother and my brother’s friends…who I knew must be good people if Josh was choosing to spend time with them. Fast forward…
That Friday night, June 27th, we decided to go to a movie. It was my brother, my brother’s then roommate, Bryan, and maybe one other friend (how’s that for memory?) Bryan mentioned that maybe one other friend of his would be joining us. We saved a seat for him…whoever he was. I didn’t recognize the name, but figured if he was friends with my brother’s friends, he must be a cool guy. Bryan’s friend showed up after the previews started. He sat down next to Bryan, who was sitting next to me. Killing time waiting for the movie to start, he began chatting with all of us. For some reason he was throwing out brainteasers, not my strongest area. I kept my mouth shut. My genius brother (I am not being sarcastic, he’s really smart…), on the other hand, ate them up. Bryan’s friend cracked jokes as the conversation unfolded. He was funny. Really funny. “What was his name again?” I thought. I hadn’t really paid much attention, until he opened his mouth and was one of the funniest people I had ever met. I love a sense of humor. Every girl has an Achilles heel when it comes to guys. For some it’s looks, for others it’s money…for me, it’s a sense of humor. If you can make me laugh, you are a winner in my book. I’ve dated guys about as varied as you can find…some short, some tall, some rich, some poor, some smart, some really, really, really dumb (yes, it was that bad). But they all were funny. So anyways, as soon as I realized how funny he was, I took notice. It was too dark to really tell much else about him. I couldn’t really tell if he was tall or short; he was sitting. I couldn’t tell if he was good looking or ugly; it was dark. But he was funny. I got nervous. Really nervous. I’m not sure why, but I clammed up and was afraid to talk because I didn’t want to make a stupid joke. I’m not not funny, but I’m not the funniest person you’ll ever meet, which means I fall right in the sweet spot where I make a lot of really, really, not-funny-at-all jokes. And I’m cool with that. I own it…once I know someone. But this guy was really, really funny. Really, really funny people hate stupid jokes. So I shut up.
….then the movie started.
To be continued...