(Part of) my precious family: Me, Sam, Sean and Brian  


Not 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.

I met 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.

We started 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.

I found 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 was Brian.

I waited.

A few days later, I talked with my mom on the phone. “Did you like the picture?” I asked.

“What 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.

A day 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,” he wrote.

My face flushed bright red. I squealed. Sam looked up from the show she was watching. “What’s wrong, Mom?”

“Oh my, oh my, oh my.” You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought to myself. Only me. Only I could do something so goofy.

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.

Sorry about that.

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 three years!

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