Friday, June 20, 2014

Story #3

My third story is from a friend I have yet to meet! A little over 2 years ago, I stumbled across Dorcas Smucker's blog and loved her writing instantly! She never fails to make me chuckle or agree wholeheartedly or give a matter some extra thought. I may have had an ulterior motive in asking her to share her story this month - I knew it would be a good one! :) I was right............


I was the sort of girl that guys looked through instead of at.
This isn't an easy thing, to have your big brother tell your sister that all his friends couldn't wait until she was old enough to date.
And me?  Oh. Well, my name didn't really come up.
I coped by throwing my energies into schoolwork and pretending that I was above such fluffy things as romance.  I was going to be a doctor, or a linguist.  I would consider marriage at maybe age 35.
Girls who married young and had babies were throwing their lives away.  So dumb.
I did not consult God about my plans.
My dad thought I should teach at church schools for a few years before I went to college.  First I taught for a year sixty miles from home, back in my home state of Minnesota.
I took a few weeks off in the middle of the year and went to Bible school.  There I got my first taste of the Yoder Curse.  This is an odd phenomenon that has dogged my sisters and me, and even our daughters and nieces, so steadily that we gave it a name.  Thanks to my mom, it is embedded in our souls to be nice to the outcasts.  So we chat up the greasy-haired guy with acne and high-water pants, and we are kind to the awkward stammering guy in a roomful of cool.
And then these guys fall in love with us, because finally, finally, a girl has been kind to them.
So the Yoder Curse hit me at Bible school.  "I did not MEAN it that way," I pleaded.  "I was just being KIND."  And then I was gazed at for the rest of the term with long basset-hound faces.
Meanwhile, the cool guys who were funny and intellectual and cute looked right past me at the cute sashaying Pennsylvania girls who had that mysterious something that I did not possess.
I left as cynical about romance as ever, even as longings for romance boiled in my soul.
An older student from Oregon happened to be there that year, and he also happened to be on the board of a Mennonite school.  After Bible school, he contacted me and asked if I'd consider teaching in Oregon.
I said yes.
I lived with an amazing family who modeled healthy marriage and family life in a way I had never seen it before.  They also mentored me in ways I desperately needed.
Among my students was fiery little Rosie Smucker in the fourth grade.  Gradually, I got to know her family, especially her sister Barb.  They were different from anyone I had ever known, outspoken, curious, and utterly oblivious to what anyone thought of them, which was so different from me that I was endlessly intrigued.
Barb and I got to be good friends.
They had an older brother, Paul, who taught at a school two hours away.  He came home on weekends at times and attended church and youth group activities.  I was completely smitten.  He was tall and blond and smart, with that family trait of calm confidence that was not arrogance or bravado.
He looked past me too.
I stayed in Oregon over the summer after my first year of teaching there, and I'd concoct excuses to spend time with Barb at her house, hoping to see Paul.  But he worked nights and somehow was never around when I was.
It was desperately frustrating.
This was when I finally began to seek the Lord, realizing that my conniving might not be His design for me.
But--panic--the summer was almost over and then Paul would go away again and -- wail-- I would hardly ever see him!  And what if God never did anything??
One night I knelt by my bed for a serious fight with God.  Could I trust Him with this, or not?  I was tired of scheming.  But I also wanted Paul in my life really badly, and God hadn't made it happen.
A poster above my bed said, "Sleep in peace.  God is awake."
It spoke to me of trust.  "Ok," I said, "I am done with scheming.  I am not going to pursue him.  I will not go to Barb's unless she invites me.  I will not connive to spend time with Paul."
And then I slept in peace.
One evening soon after, Barb called and suggested we go on a walk.  I said yes, happy that this was her idea and, since it wasn't at their home, I would not be chasing Paul.
We walked down the road.  Barb said, "Let's go to our warehouse."  So we walked down the dusty lane in the evening light.
We went inside the cavernous warehouse and there was Paul, sacking seed under a big funnel-like hopper.  He looked at us and smiled.  He looked dusty and handsome.
Barb showed me around and then she showed me that on the ceiling just above the hopper there were painted initials of bygone seedsackers.  There was even a footprint.
I said I thought the footprint was very clever.
Barb wondered if I would like my footprint up there.
I said yes.
She told Paul to go into the office until this operation was completed, and then she handed me the inky blacking-brush used for stenciling bags.  I took off my sandals and sat on a pallet on the forklift.  Barb started the forklift and hoisted me up and I inked my foot and printed it on the ceiling and put my initials beside it.
I knew this was not the sashaying charm that attracted guys, but I didn't care so much about that at the moment.  I just wanted to have fun.
We let Paul out of the office and he went back to sacking.
Later I found out that the footprint on the ceiling was the jolt that made him look at me instead of past me.  "She is not like other girls," he thought.
That October he called me and asked if I'd consider a date with him on the 30th.  In the wild nervousness of the moment, I said the most idiotic thing, which was "Well, if I'm not out trick-or-treating."
And then I said yes.
And later, since he astonishingly kept asking,  I said more yeses.
Today we own that warehouse and that footprint is still on the ceiling.  Paul is still full of calm confidence.  He still looks at me and not past me.  I have changed my ideas about romance.  I have learned a lot about trusting God.
I hope I will always say yes to Paul.
And to God.

Thank you so much, Dorcas, for sharing your story! Wishing you many more years of saying yes to God and Paul!! #end

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