How We Met Part Six--the long awaited account

Okay, I am just tickled at the response our story is generating. The sweet comments and notes have made this very, very fun.

Two things fueled the speed of the first five posts. First, Tuan was out of town all last week which left me with long and winding and empty evenings to write my heart out. Second, our laptop was working which was the equivalent of writing with the perfect pen. Our laptop screen bit the dust this week--alas--and I am now hacking away on this keyboard that is so difficult to type on my arms are aching. But, the story must go on.

It was spring of 2001 and my heart was leaning towards this sweet, cute guy who was a very, very good friend. God had opened the doors wide open for me to go and work at my beloved Twin Lakes and Tuan had realized that Christian camping was more his calling than computer engineering. (Go figure!)

He was applying to work at Ridgehaven along with several of my good guy friends from church and stumbled in the application process when it asked if he agreed with the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Oh, how cool is God's providence! Here I was, liking Tuan but still doctrinally different enough that I could not entertain the possibility of him as a future spouse, when along comes this question and the door is opened.

"So, what is the Westminter Confession of Faith?" he asked.

I talked a bit about it, but he (in his wonderful Tuan-ish way) had already printed it out from the internet and was planning to read the entire thing before his interview.

I realize many of you are familiar with the WCF, so I am not going to delve further into the details of it, but you can find a copy online if your curiosity is raging.

Mack, Ridgehaven's camp director was down in our area and stopped in Hattiesburg to meet the guys and conduct interviews. Tuan had read the WCF and while he was still digesting much of it, was definitely hung up on limited atonement and made that clear to Mack. Nevertheless, he got the job and was all set to go off to North Carolina for eleven weeks with four guys he'd barely met.

School had ended and I was getting ready for Twin Lakes and saying good-byes. Tuan was back home preparing for Ridgehaven and wanted to get together before he left.

"Want to go to the Drive-Inn and watch Shrek?"

At that time the vintage Beverly Drive-In was playing movies and it was quite the novelty in Hattiesburg. Now, I realize the story could go in a very obvious direction here. Heh. The "drive-in". However, our story never went in a very obvious direction and I will comfort you all right now with the forewarning that there was no smooching in the Jeep that night. Oh, no there was not.

Tuan came to pick me up with Sonny, John (the once-despised, purported baseball player turned good friend and skit buddy) ,and another guy we'd worked with at Harvest named MIchael Schepemaker.

We piled into the Jeep and head to the Beverly. Tuan backs into the parking space so the rear of the Jeep faces the screen and pulls out the back seat and turns it around so there is a very convenient viewing spot. He indicated to me that there was a spot for me on that back seat and as I sit down--FULLY expecting him to join me, nay, hoping he would join me, Fourteen year old, sweet, oblivious Sonny flops down right beside me leaving Tuan out in the cold.


Tuan is such a nice brother that he did not kick Sonny out and settled for an awkward perch on the fender in front of me. We settled in to watch Shrek and the whole time I was wistfully wishing that he was beside me. Halfway through the movie, I randomly reached out and touched his head and let me tell ya folks,


I'm sure everyone in Hattiesburg saw them in the sky that night. My breath caught and then, more than ever I knew I was starting to fall for this crazy cute, hottie friend of mine.

We saw each other once before he left and only for a few minutes. I went to Twin Lakes, torn because he was not "reformed" (even though he was beginning to think about things) and I still had Mr. "X" the wonderful magical PCA man who fit my list floating around in my head.

I had also learned my lesson from previous heartbreaks and even though I liked Tuan, he did not have my heart. My prayer still was, "Lord, please keep me out of a relationship until it is with the right guy."

So . . . Twin Lakes. At last! It was great and really really hard. I was with some of my best friends in this wide world and loved being a counselor and had so much fun with my girls, but it was a hard summer. Being a counselor is emotionally difficult and physically exhausting and Twin Lakes had doubled in size, making it very different from the small camp of my LIT days. There was much leaning on Jesus that summer.

One of the most restful parts of the week was the counselor hunt. We were sent out to hide in the woods and wait for our campers to come find us. The forty minutes or so of sitting in the somewhat quiet woods was the perfect time to write long letters to Tuan about my summer and to also read and savor his multi-page missives.

Tuan got a fun and lovely introduction to the "Carey guys" the night before they left for Ridgehaven and on the way up to North Carolina. One of the first things he wrote to me was, "Do you realize how flatulent your friends are?" He was also thrown in to a very different place than he'd ever known, the world of the PCA and it's culture. He loved Ridgehaven, but was in a great deal of culture shock and still grappling with reformed Theology.

Much of our letters from the summer deal with those issues and especially limited atonement (dum dum da dum!). However, by the end of the summer, Tuan was loving Ridgehaven and the dear friendships he'd made and, yes, had reconciled himself to Reformed Theology! I rejoice at how God used those circumstances to bring him to that point and to bond with Troy and Josh who are still such dear, dear friends to us both.

Meanwhile, back at Twin Lakes, I had completely let go of the "wonderful magical Mr PCA idea" and by the time camp ended, was pretty ready to see Tuan. Oh, was I ready to see Tuan! I had no idea at all how he felt about me, but I was feeling it.

Did I mention Twin Lakes ran for seven weeks and Ridgehaven for ELEVEN. I wasn't going to be seeing this boy any time soon.

My parents were living in Florida, so I very casually invited anyone on staff who wanted to to come spend a week with us. Twenty-two people signed up and THEN I called my parents and ask if it was okay. Thank goodness they were laid back about those things. We had a lot of fun that week and then four folks ended up staying an extra week due to car trouble, leaving one more LONG week or so. I was getting pretty antsy and so I called Mrs. Dorothy.

If I couldn't talk to Tuan, I could at least talk to his mom. This was before everyone had a cellphone. I had one at that point, but it NEVER left my car. My roomate would get so mad at me for never carrying it. It was so expensive to talk on one--when you could get near a tower and Tuan certainly did not have one. We only talked once that summer--when he finally got to a pay phone and it was a super short conversation. It's funny how much things have changed.

I don't remember seeing him for the first time when he returned, but Tuan, Josh and Troy were very excited about their summer, had all these great stories and games to share and were talking non-stop about how wonderful the staff had been and there were these great girls and fun guys they'd worked with.

Wait a minute. Great girls?

I did not want to hear about "great girls" from Tuan. Oh, no I didn't. And these "great girls" (and guys--I was filtering out "guys") were coming to Hattiesburg. For a visit. They couldn't wait for me to meet them.

Josh's parents had moved to Hattiesburg that summer. His dad, Mr. Andy had diabetes and was suffering many complications from it. Being in Hattiesburg would be good for it's access to hospitals and doctors. They had bought a great house that they had plans to use in some sort of ministry way and all the Ridgehaven crew was going to gather there. The guys wanted me to join them.

Sadly, the day of the gathering, Mr. Andy passed away. Mrs. Les, in spite of it all, encouraged us all to come on over and be with Josh. Josh called to see if the girls could stay at my apartment that night and Tuan picked me up to go over to meet everyone and see Josh.

It was sobering, honestly. Mr. Andy, Mrs. Les and Josh were so dear to me and had been for many years.

On the way over, I was upset for Mrs. Les and Josh, but also very, very nervous about meeting these girls. I had really and truly convinced myself that Tuan was in love with on of them and that he was taking me to the Fortier's house that night to introduce me, his dear "friend", to the girl he was one day going to marry.

I was a nervous, emotional wreck as we knocked on the Fortier's door.


Gracie said...

Thanks for continuing the story despite the bad keyboard. I am still totally into it and again cannot wait for the next part.

You are a really good writer by the way!

Joey and Elizabeth said...

I agree with Gracie!!! Can't wait for the next part :)