The Seemingly Meaningless Moments
My eyelids were heavy from days with little sleep, but I didn’t dare close my eyes on that bus. The cast of characters aboard the Greyhound left me uneasy, holding my knees tightly to my chest and avoiding eye contact. A woman alone can never be too careful. I was Nashville-bound to see my friend Natalie on my short stint home from China.
I looked down at the tiny little “1” on my phone screen, alerting me that I had a voicemail. I decided to listen to the message again, before I deleted it:
“Hi Ruthie. Beth gave me your number . . . and I was just calling to catch up. Sorry I missed you . . . I’ll try you again tomorrow.”
His deep voice sounded reassuring and almost intriguing, but I wasn’t much for being set up on a blind date with someone who lived in a different country. I was weary of men at this particular juncture and reverted to my high school thought pattern that marriage wasn’t for me. I wasn’t planning on calling him back. After all, I was headed back to my home with chicken feet and crowded bath houses in less than 3 weeks.
We pulled into Nashville, the sun gleaming off the peaks of the “Batman building”. Thankful to be off the bus that smelled like Chinese food doused in air freshener, I deleted the message. And that was that.
The next morning, I sat down and wrote in my journal–the same types of prayers I’d written over the past 9 months. I prayed for healing, for perseverance. I asked God to show me how to love people, more deeply and more fully. I closed my journal and falsely believed I entered another ordinary day. But I was so wrong.
For reasons beyond what I can put into words (here’s where God comes in), I called the number of the man who I “probably have zero in common with”. (I was a little cynical at the time). We talked for ten minutes and both went on with the day. It’s amazing how one phone call changed the trajectory of my life. For one call led to another, which led to putting on makeup late at night for Skype chats; one voice message led to saying “I love you” to a man for the first time; one friend’s thought to set Michael and I up led to the happiest couple in all of Nashville. Nothing is ever ordinary when we serve an extraordinary God.
August 11, 2009–was, as they say, the first day of the rest of my life. Dreams, plans, passions, and desires changed in part to embrace love. It’s mind-boggling when you think about all the seemingly meaningless moments in our lives–phone calls, traffic, changed plans, schools, friends, all of them–that might be the beginning of something life-changing. Something extraordinary. All these fleeting moments we are often in such a hurry to pass, that weave a tapestry of richness of life and fullness of joy.
On Saturday, Michael pulled me aside and kissed me and said, “Thank you for picking up the phone three years ago.”
Today, might be the day you meet your future spouse or you might make a decision that saves your marriage. Perhaps today is the day you finally do what you know in your heart is the right thing–even if it costs your job. Today, might be the day you choose life or help for an addiction. Our life is full of seemingly non-related, ordinary moments with unimaginable potential–we just have to lift our weary heads and look around.
I love you, Michael Dean! Thanks for pursuing me through all my doubts about men and slowly helping me break down the walls I built around my heart, brick by brick. I can’t wait to enjoy late Sunday evening walks with you and talks in the back of Running Bear until we are old and gray. Then, we can transition to rocking chairs on our big front porch. Love.
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