the Big Hairy One
Brian and I met at a conference. There were no flashing lights, lightning bolts or neon
signs announcing THE moment I met the man of my dreams. He just came into a workshop that I was teaching on single parent
ministry. He didn’t even stick around to talk with me afterwards. He was hungry – it was time for lunch.
him later, when he came by my table. I had resources for Focus on the Family and I had to sit at the table in between sessions.
He stopped by. We chatted. He wore a blue sweat suit that looked quite athletic and fashionable, all at the same time. Not
that I was paying close attention. I just happened, on this occasion, to notice.
We ran into each other at the
pool a little later. Sam was with me on the trip and we were being incredibly goofy and silly in the pool. Dunking each other,
doing tricks. When I saw him that time, I looked like a drowned rat. Mascara smudged. Water dripping. I had no thoughts of
romance. Nor, I’m sure, did he.
We chatted a little more. At the end of it all we’d maybe spent 30 minutes together.
I told him to keep in touch. He said he would.
That was that.
Two months later I was working in my cubicle
on a dreary day in May. It was a Friday. An e-mail popped up into my inbox. It was Brian. He was working at home, had thought
of me, Sent me a note. He asked me if I remembered him.
I thought of the athletic guy leaning against the wall
by my table. I pictured his smile and his fashionable sweat suit. I grinned. Yes. I remembered him.
e-mailing back and forth. We discovered we had boatloads in common. Similar beliefs, interests, passions. We cared about the
same things. He was crazy about God and good to his family. He loved his kids and I so enjoyed hearing his heart as he wrote
about them. “I love going to the mall with my daughters,” He would say. “I don’t even like shopping, but I take them because
it’s just fun to be around their fun. I love being with them.”
You gotta love that in a man.
myself thinking about him. Wondering about him. Liking him a little more every day.
We got to the point of exchanging
pictures. Brian sent me a photo of he and Rupert, from Survivor. I don’t know if you know about Rupert, but he’s big . . .
and hairy. He has a beard with hair going in every direction. Brian met him at a trade show. I loved the picture and forwarded
it to my mom (who had heard about my crush). I put in the subject line “Not the big hairy one” so she would know which one
A few days later, I talked with my mom on the phone. “Did you like the picture?”
“The picture I sent of Brian? With Rupert? I wrote ‘not the big, hairy one’
in the subject line.”
“Nope,” she said. “Never got it.”
I began to get a bad feeling.
or two later, I received an e-mail from Brian. It was my e-mail. With “not the big hairy one” in the subject line. Instead
of sending it to my mom, I’d sent it back to Brian by mistake. “I don’t think I was the intended recipient of this e-mail,”
My face flushed bright red. I squealed. Sam looked up from the show she was watching. “What’s wrong,
“Oh my, oh my, oh my.” You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought to myself. Only me. Only I could do something
And so it all began. With grace and decorum. Class and dignity. With Sam and my mom laughing hysterically,
with me mortified and inventing new shades of red each time I thought of my blunder.
And God? I like to imagine
that even He giggled that day. In fact, I like to think He was part of the whole scheme. Never before or since have I sent
the wrong e-mail to the wrong person. But that’s our God. Forget eyes meeting across a crowded room. Forget warm fuzzies upon
first sight. Nope, A good belly laugh and a hairy picture misdirected in cyberspace. Yup. That’s just like our joy-filled,
loving, humorous, love-a-good-love-story God.
It was in this spot - right here, that I promised to
continue this story. "To be continued" I promised, several years back. I've kept everyone hanging since.
The bottom line? The romantic journey of our dating relationship was awesome. Brian's proposal made
me weak at the knees and our marriage has been wildly adventurous. We moved three times, changed jobs, loved our teenagers
and survived a few major health scares. We've climbed mountains, canoed on lakes and sailed an ocean or two (not on our own,
under the skilled care of family who knew what they were doing). We've served in ministry and loved on our neighbors - and
people have taken care of us in delightfully unexpected, beautiful ways when we needed it most.
And it's only been
Oh yes, there's definitely more to tell, but you'll just have to wait until we can sit over a cup
of tea, face to face. Shoot me an e-mail and lets make that happen.
The famous "hairy one" picture