02 July 2010

Becoming "Us"

I was visiting with a friend yesterday who mentioned to me that I should blog about how Eric and I met and became "us." Since it is one of my favorite stories to tell, I can't resist the prodding to do so. If you are a blogger, then I challenge you to do the same thing! I'd love to read about it! 

Some of this story may have been posted on my blog in the past, but here it is in it's entirety for your reading pleasure (or not). I realize how lengthy it is, and if you take the time to read it, then please know that I am completely honored!

In high school, on more than one occasion, Eric and I were in the same place at the same time. We know this not because we met while we were in high school but because we've put two and two together and made this fun discovery. I was actually at his high school in the summer of 1993 (technically, right after he graduated) for an all-state band rehearsal, and he even knew the host family with which I stayed overnight. You may find this information to be pointless, but it made us laugh when we realized it. Of course, Eric wasn't there that time, but we know for sure that we were at some other band events at the same time when we were kids. 

In January 1995, I transferred from Otterbein College to Indiana Wesleyan University. Otterbein was a great music school, but for many reasons, I needed to transfer to a school that was further away from some negative influences in my life and that had a stronger focus on spiritual things. At the time, I knew that God was orchestrating my move from Westerville, OH to Marion, IN, but I had no idea what he had in store for me! That semester, I sat just a few chairs from Eric as he was trying to learn to play the bassoon in our university's concert band(for those of you who may be wondering, Eric does NOT play the bassoon). I didn't actually "know" him then, but I knew of him. 

During the next school year, Eric and I had several classes together. Music Theory, Ear Training, Ed Psych and Principles of Teaching. We sat in the back row of Principles of Teaching with Eric Scott, a fellow music ed major, and learned very little. I don't say that because we weren't dedicated to the cause of our education, but because the class was dull. Dr. Larson was a great professor, and it was always nice to listen to him go on and on about his 8th grade science students in Maine. He just belonged in the science department, NOT the ed department. It was that semester in Dr. Larson's class when a friendship sparked between the two of us. We began studying together, though I never considered those study sessions to be dates. I don't know why. I suppose you could say that they were, but, in my head, we were just studying. I really enjoyed our late night study sessions and talks that semester, but I gave little thought to anything romantic developing between us.

That summer, I found myself near Denton, NC teaching at a Salvation Army summer camp while Eric worked on campus for IWU's Conference Services. I do remember him coming to mind a time or two, though we weren't at a point in our friendship at which we stayed in contact over the summer. We were really just study partners.

When I arrived on campus in time for new student weekend, I discovered that Eric was one of the students in charge of new student orientation, and I was a small group leader for the new freshmen that year (this was funny to me because I had never attended new student orientation at IWU having transferred in January). My roommate, Jessica, and I were palling around that weekend with and without our small groups having a good time getting re-acclimated to campus life. I was enjoying the frequent hellos and conversations with Eric, and only a very, very small part of me began to notice other things about him. One evening as we were heading to bed, Jess, who was dating someone at the time,  mentioned to me that she had someone picked out for me. I truly was completely clueless. When she said the words, "Eric McEvoy," I was a little stunned. I thought about the idea, decided I liked it, and then I decided to see if I could make something happen.

Not being the kind of gal who had really spent a lot of time pursuing boys, I put my efforts into building a friendship. Much to my delight, Eric was doing the same thing. If he saw me in the dining hall, then he would sit with me. If we had class together, he would try to sit near-by as well. Once the semester was in full swing, we started spending our evenings together at the McConn Coffeehouse. We studied and did homework, played cards or other games, and drank a lot of coffee and hot chocolate. We spent many extremely late nights at the coffeehouse. Sometimes friends joined us, but we were usually there together without other friends. We were NOT dating during that time, though it looked eerily similar to dating. Haha! Ask Eric he'll confirm this for you.

On October 16, 1996, I got an email from Eric saying that he thought we needed to talk about our relationship. People were starting to talk and ask us if we were dating. I wasn't sure what to expect from our conversation, but I have to admit I was pretty disappointed that night. We walked around campus and ended up sitting on the administration building's steps. It was a quiet, secluded spot perfectly suited for important conversation. I was sitting on those steps looking down at Eric who was standing toward the bottom looking up at me when two things happened. First, Eric said, "I want us to be 'just' friends." Second, God told me that Eric was His chosen husband for me. An oxymoron, you think? Maybe, but I have the journal entry to prove that it happened this way.

This is when I had to learn patience. My friends were, quite frankly, rather astonished that our conversation went this way. I wasn't exactly expecting it to go that way either. We had been spending a lot of time together, and it seemed only natural that we would become more than friends. Eric just wasn't ready and used the "I just got out of a relationship" excuse, which was technically true since he had broken up with a girlfriend at the very end of summer.

I was undaunted. When you hear the voice of God in such a powerful way, you take it more seriously than a boy who is telling you the opposite of what God has just revealed. I had never heard God speak to me in that way. It has happened few times in my life. It still surprises me when I think about it. God chose to speak to me in such a powerful way. Any relationship that has such an incredible moment must be meant for great purposes, don't you think? Even if our great purpose is to merely be seed planters, there is no doubt in my mind that we were always meant to be a couple.

The last half of October flew by quickly. My dad called to ask who the boy in my life was because I wasn't calling home as much as I usually did. My wisdom teeth were removed by emergency surgery. I headed home to Ohio for Fall Break, and so did Eric(we grew up about 90 minutes from each other). My plan was to attend state marching band finals to watch my friend, Amanda, who was the field commander for her high school's band with hopes of catching my high school band marching as well. Upon discovering this plan, Eric decided to join me. Upon discovering that Eric was going to be joining me, several of my friends from home decided they needed to join me as well. It was a memorable afternoon and evening for sure! Scott, one of my oldest friends, was certain that he needed to fulfill his "big brother" role and get to know Eric as well as he could because he had never known me to gush over any boy like this.It was cold and rainy, and I was nervous about what might be said to me "friend" Eric during this little interviewing session.

I remember my dad prodding me over Christmas break that year, trying to get me to call Eric while we were on vacation in Florida. I refused to do so. Dad offered to pay for the call. Still, I refused. Eric was not my boyfriend, and I wasn't about to pretend that he was or to make Eric think that I was some crazy girl calling him from FL because I wanted to be with him so much when he was still sticking to his "just friends" clause. When I returned from FL, Eric ended up inviting me (and a couple other friends) to spend New Year's Eve at his parents' in Columbus. You know I said yes! 

The next semester began much like the previous semester ended. Valentine's Day came and went. I attended the campus Valentine's banquet only because my friend, Ambre, asked me to play flute duets with her. I was sad that night. On the 17th of February, I decided I was over this "just friends" thing and needed some space. Sitting on a couch near the door of the coffeehouse, I shared this with Eric. What I didn't tell him was that I was becoming too attached to him if he was going to be just a friend. Instead, I told him that if he wanted to be friends, it was fine, but we needed to not spend so much time together because I didn't feel the same way. I think this must have taken all the gumption I had because I am so not a bold person when it comes to things like this.

That was the night that things changed. My boldness paid off. Faced with the dilemma of being without me altogether, Eric shared with me that he was also wanting to be more than friends. Shoo! There was much relief in my heart. I didn't expect him to say that at all! I'm certain my eyes were as big as saucers, and he was grinning from ear to ear. 

I would like to tell you that everything was peaches and cream after that, but it wasn't. We both went on tour for spring break two weeks after that. I went to the Gulf Coast with the Wind Ensemble, and Eric headed somewhere else with the Chorale. When we returned, I couldn't wait to see him. Eric, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with me!!! He actually ignored my existence until I tracked him down after one very long day of trying to reach him. I told my roommates that he was going to break up with me. They didn't believe me. Unfortunately, I was so right! That's exactly what he wanted to do! As much as I love Eric McEvoy and loved him then, I must admit that he broke my heart that day.

The next two weeks were pretty difficult for me, but I had some great friends and professors who were supportive. It was obvious after a week that Eric knew he had made a mistake. He began to call and started trying to spend time with me again. He wanted to go back to being "just friends" again, something I was not up for at all. Those supportive friends and professors were cautioning me not to take him back easily because even they could see what was happening. Maybe I should have been more cautious, but I knew I loved him, and I knew that God had told me I would marry him. I have always been the kind of girl who doesn't like to stretch-out things. 

After two weeks passed, we went for a drive and had a long chat. Eric shared how scared he was of his feelings because he had never felt that way about anyone, and so he ran away from the relationship. I shared how hurt I was by his actions and the way he chose to deal with his feelings. We talked about what we wanted in a relationship. Somewhere in that conversation, Eric mentioned the word, "marriage" as being a part of our possible future. I remember the way my heart jumped. He knew I was the one, and I took him back with all my heart.  

From that moment forward, there was no looking back. We were engaged on August 22, 1997 and married on June 27, 1998, a year sooner than we thought would be possible until my parents suggested we could marry and then finish college. I was all over that plan, and I'm glad we married when we did! I am a blessed woman to be married to such an incredible man. We have had some difficult times in our marriage, but I know that God chose him for me. That's all that matters. I can't imagine what my life would be like without Eric, but that's probably because I don't even want to try. I love the man. I am elated  that God gave us to each other so that we could spend our lives together. Eric McEvoy is the perfect match for me, and, as I mentioned in a previous post, it doesn't hurt that he can sing.

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