I love this time of year, don’t you? The wonder of God’s creation blooms around me as winter gives way to spring. Uggs are traded for flip-flops, wool sweaters for bright floral prints, and indoor evening activities for walks to the park with my family. Social media feeds fill with prom pictures, graduation announcements and college plans. Possibilities. New opportunities. Hope. There’s a renewed energy pulsing through the patterns of daily life … lingering conversations with a neighbor we haven’t seen in a while or spontaneous bike rides with our child who dreamed all winter of learning to ride without training wheels and finally achieved success. The winter storms are just a bad memory and the stifling humidity of August still feels eons away. While a new season certainly does not equate an absence of hardship, it does provide a chance to reflect on where we’ve been and what lies ahead.
This is also the time of year when my husband and I like to talk about our first date. As an inspirational romance author and long-time reader of said genre, I so enjoy the point in the story where the hero and heroine are into each other but that magical first date hasn’t happened yet. There’s excitement. Anticipation. The stakes in their fictional lives might be increasing yet the spark is evident and you just know they’re speeding toward that first romantic encounter. It’s a wonderful phase of courtship, both the fictional variety and in the real world.
I have fond memories of this season in my own life. It was late April, fifteen years ago, and we’d attended the same church for a few months. The young adult group we hung out with was composed of newlyweds, engaged couples, single people and folks like us … the initial spark had ignited but not yet given way to that first date.
Thank goodness for a proactive group leader who served in an unofficial capacity as part-time cupid. I believe the Lord orders our steps and weaves certain people into our lives for a season, and Pate’s goal that spring was to set a plan in motion and then get out of the way. Pate casually arranged a half-day canoe trip down a nearby river. He invited everyone in the large group to come, but only a few couples attended. Steve (my future husband), myself and one another single woman were the only ‘unattached’ people who agreed to go.
I’m not ashamed to tell you that I threw elbows to make sure I rode shotgun in Steve’s car and also in the canoe he paddled. Pate just flashed me a wide, knowing grin as I staked my claim on
Steve, er, I mean Steve’s canoe. The other young woman didn’t stand a chance.
We paddled happily along for the rest of the afternoon, chatting away, as though the rest of our group didn’t exist. I never once complained when he guided us under a low-hanging tree branch and a spider climbed all over me. Have I mentioned I’m terrified of spiders? It’s funny what doesn’t bother you when you’re smitten, right?
I remember very little about the rest of that day. We must’ve stopped for lunch, because Steve still points out the restaurant when we pass the exit on the interstate, but I don’t recall eating there. I do know that I went home that evening quite confident that he’d call me very soon. And he did. We’ve paddled through life together ever since.
Do you have a memorable first date? Maybe a disastrous event that you can look back on now and laugh? Or something incredibly swoon-worthy that told you he/she was The One? Tell us about it in the comments below. One lucky winner will receive a Kindle copy of my latest novel, Covering Home. Giveaway ends May 6, 2015 at 11:59pm EST.
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