From Joel’s Perspective – Part 1

For those of you who aren’t totally bored by hearing about “us” Joel is writing the story from his perspective – which is so fun for me, and hopefully you! I’m so glad we get to share this with you all, even if it is from miles away and across the pages of the internet :). Enjoy!

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I still remember the first moment that I saw her. She was walking towards the front of the church and I was standing at the front looking back. The time it took her to walk was likely no more than a few seconds, but it locked itself in my mind in that ridiculous way that you often see in movies. I do not remember precisely what she was wearing, but I do know it was a dark dress and that her hair was pulled up. What I do remember without flaw or break was her eyes…even at 40 feet away I could see them clearly, and I was instantly captivated. She was breathtakingly beautiful, and between the smile on her face and the grace in her step, I was stunned. It ended up that she was the good friend of Brooke, one of my students, and she was in town visiting. She had just recently endured a very difficult breakup, and she was here to get away from it all for a bit. Brooke has requested a little scheduling leeway so as to spend time with Shannon, and while I did everything I could (with likely little success) to be witty and winning, there was certainly no way I could refuse the request. Especially after I was told of Shannon’s current situation, I was moved with pity…after all, it was Valentine’s Day weekend! Anyone who knows me knows that I am a complete sucker for a damsel in distress, so there was really no doubt of my answer. (And after all, there is a certain benefit of being second in command and bearing the full responsibility of such decisions!)

I then had an idea that was rather unlike me. I had done Valentine’s Day cards for most of the girls in my life as just a sign of appreciation and a way to encourage those of them who were single. There was no romantic intent behind any of them, but I myself was 24, been single for a few years, and I knew how difficult and depressing it could be to be single on such a day. So, I wanted to do something to bless them. In a stroke of weirdness/boldness/friendliness/epic-genius I decided I would also make a card for Shannon, even though I did not know her at all. Looking back, it was obviously God that inspired me to do it, but at the time, I just thought I was being nice. And yes (as has been pointed out by Shannon after I admitted it), I figured 1) she was cute and 2) she was sad…what did I have to lose? So, I wrote her a card and thought little more of it. I seem to recall that Brooke probably told me she said “thank you,” but I cannot remember for certain.

And that was it…one of those girls that passed through my life for a moment and was as quickly gone.

It was a few years later that we were finishing up the last night of a Microsoft work show that I saw her again. Instantly…I knew her. Oh, I probably played it off for a few seconds (knowing me, I am sure I did), but I knew in a moment who she was. You don’t forget eyes like those…even in a moment they burn themselves into your heart and mind. Then, for the second time in two meetings with Shannon, I did something else quite unlike me. I went up to talk to her. Yes, it often comes as a shock to people that walking up to strangers (or mostly so) terrifies me. But, that is the truth. So, I eased my way over and started a conversation with her. Again, I probably played it off like I was not sure who she was…but I knew. I don’t think it last all that long, but it was enough to further show myself that this girl was something special. We left cordially, and again…that was the end of it. Although…now I knew there was the chance I might see her again…even if just a slight one.

The next summer, I was at another Microsoft work trip in Orlando when I saw her again. This time…there was no need for pretense. She remembered me finally. 😉  We spent time talking and joking around and by this point, I knew that I was becoming more and more interested in Shannon. In fact, my boss Tim was also quick to notice this, and he was subtly encouraging me to go for it. I was talking to Shannon and her friend Breanna, and I asked if the two of them would like to go out to dinner with me that night. Ok, yeah…I was asking more for Shannon’s sake, but I was determined to try really really hard to not make it seem like I was bringing Brea “along for the ride.” After all, I did not think that Shannon was interested in me, so I figured it would not be too tough. So, I drove the three of us to downtown Disney, and we went to Wolfgang Puck’s for dinner. It was such fun…we all talked and had a great time. I had a small pizza…it was pretty great. The next day something came up about the three of us possibly getting off early. When the chance came, we jumped on it. It was definitely one of those times that we really should not have left, but Tim gave me the green light…after that nothing was going to stop me. We hustled outside and headed off to our day off.

The previous night, Shannon was talking about how I needed a hair cut. The thing is…I just had my hair cut the week before, but Shannon thought it would look much better shorter. Now, there are several things to consider here: 1) I just got my hair cut, and hair cuts are things that I do not like spending money on once…let alone twice, 2) it had been ages since I had a girl wanting to help me look better, and that was something I always appreciated (I have never been a person who ever really had someone “take care of me” because I am a fairly capable person…well, mostly…but I carry myself in such a way that it appears I don’t often need much assistance), and 3) I definitely liked Shannon by this point and she made the comment that she thought that I would look cuter with shorter hair. Sold. I resisted for a little while, but whether she knew it or not, I was never going to be able to resist her charm and draw. Even then, she melted me. So, we ate lunch and headed around the corner to get my hair cut. She was so adorable the way she was watching me and smiling. I knew she was just enjoying herself and not thinking much of me in any other way, but I loved watching her smiling.

After that we went back to the girls’ hotel to swim for a while. The three of us went down to the pool, but at this point, it was mainly Shannon and me. Brea stayed out of the water mostly (or entirely), and Shannon and I spent a long time in the water together. We talked about different things and laughed, and my heart was stirring more and more for her. We then talked about future plans. She told me that she was planning on moving to L.A. to go to fashion design school, and I talked about the business I had recently started back home. I remember clearly the pang of sadness I felt at this point. I mean, I knew nothing was going to come of this…I was in the mid-west and she was in Colorado. We had vastly different lives in so many ways, and this was just another one of those times when I met a pretty girl with whom I seriously connected that would end as all the others had. It was foolish of me to have any hope of a relationship, but yet…I did. And this revelation was the end of any chance of that.

By this point in my life, I was years beyond the point when I was sure I would be married. Growing up, I was convinced that I would be married by 22-23, at the very latest. Everyone in my family expected me to  be the first married. Same with my high school class…and my MC class. I was a guy built for marriage, and I wanted that so much. But…it never happened. I would meet amazing girls whenever I would travel, but there were no girls around me with whom I could connect in that way. It was very frustrating, yet I was growing more familiar with the feeling that “here is an amazing girl that I am very interested…and I am never going to see her again in my life.”  This one was a little more difficult, though, because I truly believed we could be a good match. Of course, in my mind she was a little out of my league. I am not a bad looking guy, but I will never win any awards. She, though, was just stunning. And the beauty that radiated from her heart poured out and added so much to her exterior beauty. She was gorgeous.

But, she was going to L.A. for a few years, and that was that. Any possibility of me pursuing her was locked up, and I just had to smile and say how awesome it was that she was pursuing her dreams. Yes, I genuinely was happy for her, but I was disappointed…very disappointed. Yet, I put on my smile and determined to just enjoy the fellowship of an amazing girl for what it was. We enjoyed our time greatly, and then I said goodbye and drove away. And that was it…the end of it, as I assumed. She would just be another amazing girl that passed through my life…another reminder of what amazing possibilities exist without much real opportunity to pursue. Did it feel much different at the moment than it had at other times? Hard to say. Did I look at Shannon and think she was my future wife? Definitely not. But, I did know that when I saw her first on that trip…as when I saw her the previous time…as when I saw her when she gliding down the floor at my church with her hair pulled up…that dark dress….those eyes that seared my heart…I knew that something inside of me leaped. I knew that I had both a physical and emotional response to her presence. I did not realize it at the time, but it was likely not as much physical and not as much emotional…it was more spiritual, and my body could just not help but react along with my spirit. It knew something that I could not know. I knew that I liked this girl very much, but past that…all I knew was that it was time to go. Goodbye, Shannon. So, I drove off and returned to my life as per usual. She was gone, but she was definitely not forgotten.

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~ by Shannon on October 13, 2009.

2 Responses to “From Joel’s Perspective – Part 1”

  1. come on. that is it? I hate that you guys do this in parts. Irritating.

  2. Some of that sounds like what I experienced when Shannon came to my house the first time after arriving in Los Angeles.
    Here’s a woman who is bright, sweet, caring and frankly just down right great, and I’m now blessed to be “related” to her.
    Joel is right: When Shannon walks into a room or a life, it is never quite the same.
    Thanks for sharing yourselves with all of us.

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