This post was originally published on Feb 14, 2011.
Often times, we find ourselves imagining the perfect kiss, the perfect date or the perfect relationship. We make all the plans in our minds, prep ourselves to receive them, but often these dream scenarios never come to life and we are left feeling disappointed and wondering what went wrong. Why? Because romance, by nature is uncontrollable and works without rhyme or reason. How do I know this? First-hand experience, of course! Here is my story of unlikely, but endearing romance.
Of Love and Ice Water
Before I met my husband, I worked during the summers at a local amusement park taking surveys of guest reactions and other odd tasks. I’d make my rounds as usual and if I had idle time I would bring water around to the food cart stations for thirsty co-workers. I did this almost every day, just a regular habit, but something that made me feel good because I knew that these stations often went without breaks. You wouldn’t think that this little act of bringing ice water to a co-worker would have anything to do with romance, but without it, I would never have met my husband. It just so happened that one of the days I went out to take water to a couple of booths, his just happened to be one of them. It was that small action that caught his interest and inspired our friendship. Each day, he would track me down, hoping to get a few minutes of my attention and a laugh or two from his cute and corny jokes. His eyes sparkled with excitement whenever we were together and I could see that he was the one. Our friendship grew and eventually we took the leap into love.
Subway Sand Trap
Fast forward a few months…we are officially an item. Ricardo, my then future hubby, plans a romantic outing and asks me to close my eyes and wait to be surprised as we approach our destination. It was difficult, but I managed. Lol! Suddenly, I heard a whir of tires and his voice cracked when he asked me to open my eyes. His face was filled with disappointment as he looked over at me and said, “I’m so sorry! We’re stuck.” Huh??? That caught me by surprise. When I got out to inspect the situation, I found his little two-wheel drive Cavalier axel-deep in sand. He had taken a construction road on his way to the beach and kept pushing through until finally, there was no means of escaping. I’m still amazed how far he got on that road! We spent that Sunday afternoon eating Subway sandwiches on the hood of the car and laughing, despite the expense of two tow trucks that had to pull us out of our mess. Through this seemingly botched date, we were able to realize just how much consideration we had for each other and discover that romance could thrive in unlikely situations. I wouldn’t trade that sunset dinner with tow-guys Phil and Jake for anything because it opened my eyes to the possibilities of love.
Two years later, we’re busy with the business of getting married…knee deep in wedding plans. I asked my honey to pick up a pizza for dinner. “No problem” he says proudly, but when he finally arrives with the pizza I can see that something is wrong. “Ummm…I had an accident,” he tells me. Ok…here I am, worried, thinking he’s hurt and he carries the pizza box over to the table and points to it as if there’s something dangerous inside. I open the box cautiously and find a tangled mess of crust, toppings and cheese. “Is that it?” I asked him, still wondering if he was ok. “Yeah, I’m so sorry. I fell on a patch of ice on the way in.” I could tell he was disappointed. We sat there looking at the pizza in silence for a few moments, wondering what to do. “I’m pretty sure it taste’s the same,” I said suddenly. He cracked up laughing! We sat down to watch our movie and devoured the pizza ball and toppings with relish. I realized that sometimes you have to look beyond the toppings in order to appreciate the pizza. Not unlike love, which comes when we choose to embrace the “imperfections”.
Beauty or Beast?
Let’s go forward another two years, I’ve just had our daughter and I’m about to be released from the hospital. I wake up suddenly in the night with this terrible heaviness on my face. Looking in the mirror, I can see that half of my face is completely nonreactive. My heart was racing, ‘What’s happening? Am I having a stroke?’ I had no idea what Bell’s Palsy was at the time and I was so afraid until the next morning when the doctor was finally available to offer an explanation. After we returned home with our daughter, I could only think that my disfigurement would be permanent and I wondered if my husband would eventually admit how frightening I now looked. To my surprise, the experience deepened our appreciation for each other. Even with my beastly appearance, which drew public stares, he was able to look at me with that same amazing glint in his eyes. He had so much love and compassion for me that I had never realized I’d deserved. I get choked up thinking about how supportive he was during those months. My heart overflows because he has been there though it all, and found beauty in me when I thought that no one could.
Looking back, I realize that love comes when you least expect it. It doesn’t come in a ‘perfect’ package or aligned with our schedule or plans. I can see now how God gives us these strange and unexpected circumstances to help us to realize a full and pure love. Love is something best discovered through adversity.
Do you have an experience of ‘unlikely romance’ that you’d like to share? Thanks for reading and I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day full of love, family and with plenty of chocolate (and maybe a pizza ball)!