It was the Fall of 1995. I had just started my college journey at Stephen F. Austin State University in the pineywoods of East Texas. I didn’t know a soul at SFA…my roommate was even potluck. I wasn’t your typical freshman, itching to rebel against parental constraints. I had little interest in parties, drinking, drugs, sex. Well…maybe the last one (wink wink). I had spent all my time during freshman orientation exploring all the different student ministries I might get involved with. That seemed safe…and not because I felt holier than thou, but because I knew my inexperience with the above “fun” would not be put to the test in those groups. I would be free to explore adult choices in a group where I was probably going to be the one that pushed the limits more than those around me. I always had a ‘little’ rebel in me.
So I spent my first few weeks at school going to class, getting to know my roommate, incessantly checking my mailbox, and frequenting some of the student ministry events going on around campus. Within a couple weeks, I landed myself in the middle of a group of freshmen who were involved in Campus Crusade for Christ. It was just the right mix of girls and guys. Every day, we ate together. We played sports together. Phone numbers were exchanged and people were calling to invite me to things. Everyone was always included. It was an easy crowd to be part of. I was having the idyllic freshman experience.
It was during those first few weeks of college that I saw him for the first time. It was in my “Intro to Communications” class (because I wanted to study radio/TV so I could be the traffic reporter in the helicopter…I had big dreams). He had a charming smile and bright red hair. He was tall and athletic and had a strong neck (don’t ask…for me, a strong neck is like a tight tushy). Anyway…I noticed him…and that’s as far as it went. I would sheepishly check him out from across the room during class but I had NO IDEA how to get his attention.
And then he showed up to our weekly Thursday night Crusade meeting. He sat behind me and during the “turn around and introduce yourself” time (you know, everyone’s favorite part of any church service), I turned around to him and asked, “how’d you do on the comm test?” Yep…I made the first move. He looked a little surprised that I recognized him…but he went with it. I don’t remember what he said, but we had a moment…and then the meeting continued.
After Cru everyone would go to Cici’s (because we were broke college students and could gorge ourselves on a pizza buffet for $4.32…including a drink). He came to Cici’s that night. We didn’t really talk directly to each other, but we were all hanging out at the same table and I could tell he was curious. When we left, everyone was saying goodbye in the parking lot. I jumped into my silver Hyundai Excel hatch back with some of my girlfriends, to head back to Kerr Hall, when he tapped on my window. We exchanged goodbyes and then he yelled, “see you later Tracy!”
Not my name man.
I had no idea that night he would become my favorite person ever. We had our first date that weekend and the rest is history.
“That person who enters your life out of nowhere and suddenly means the world to you.” -Unknown