Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ask and ye shall receive...

After my last attempt at a relationship, I was praying one night and I said something like this:
"Um... here's the thing, I really can't see myself finding the right guy in Utah. I'm not saying I think I need to move, and who am I to put geographical limitations on Your plan, but I'm just saying... I'm at a loss, so can You please help me figure out how to find this elusive man?"

Not kidding. That's about it, word for word. About a month later I booked my flight for DisneyWorld. My parents and I were going down to see Emily. While I wasn't a Disney enthusiast, I knew it was probably the only time I'd ever go to DisneyWorld, so why not when I could get in free, see my darling baby sister, and stay in a hotel someone else was paying for?

I got in Wednesday afternoon and enjoyed a lazy day by the pool while Emily and my parents played at the park. As I watched all the families and retirees hanging out I thought to myself, this is the last place a 32 year old girl would meet someone. Everyone here is vacationing with their families, and it's not exactly the place single people my age go scouting out dates. Not that I was hoping to meet someone, it was just one of those passing thoughts.

Later that night I met up with the family and we headed to Downtown Disney for a little dinner and shopping. As we were sitting at dinner, Emily's friend Brad decided to stop by to say hello (I'm pretty sure he just wanted to show off how cool he was to Emily's family, and to show Emily his new watch). I was immediately impressed at his wit and humor, and his sweet glasses. He was also incredibly friendly. He offered to take his free time to drive us to Universal Studios because we didn't have a car, then managed to hang out with us for another hour, wandering around and shopping with us. I thought nothing of any of this because he was WAY too young for me, but as he walked away I mentioned, "He's such a cute guy. Why aren't there guys like that my age to date?!"

Emily explained he was 25, which was still too young but suddenly the idea of "Brad and Rachel" became a little bit of something to joke about for the next day. Except that throughout the next day Brad was sending texts to Emily asking questions about me, and I found myself really wishing we could run into him again...

By the end of the day Brad had invited himself to hang out with the family that Saturday, and I was more than happy with that idea. I managed to see him for a few minutes in the car ride to Universal, and we spent a few hours together at the Magic Kingdom on Saturday. That was the last I saw of him that weekend, and I figured by the end he'd realize I was old and boring and not even into Disney, and that would be that. And there were no opportunities to spend time together without three other sets of eyes and ear. So I figured that might be the end, but at least it was fun to feel a bit like a teenager with a crush again.

That wasn't the end... completely undeterred by my "old age" and lack of enthusiasm for Disney, Brad managed to acquire my phone number and immediately started texting me the first night I got back to Utah. We were texting non stop the entire week, and within a few weeks we were talking twice a day on the phone. I flew back to Florida in December to figure out if all that was happening was just something I was creating in my head, or if this guy was really as perfect for me as he seemed.

Brad picked me up at the airport for our "first date" and we drove to Planet Hollywood for dinner. As we got to the top of the steps a friendly "cast member" was there to take our picture. As we got into our pose he asked, "So are you boyfriend and girlfriend?" There was a slightly awkward pause, and then Brad very decidedly looked at me and said, "Yes!" I was impressed he was willing to jump right in and make the decision for us, even if I was a little nervous we both might feel differently by the end of the weekend. We didn't. It was a perfect 4 days, even with its imperfect moments. Brad told me he loved me as we watched the fireworks in front of the castle (and of course I reciprocated). We didn't let go of each other the entire weekend, and we laughed and played and maybe even kissed once or twice (it might have been a few more times than that).

There have been many moments when I've wondered how this could possibly work. Especially as I dropped him off at BYU-Idaho for the first time and realized I am 32 years old and I am dating a boy in COLLEGE! But it does work, and it's amazing.

As I look back on that prayer I realize that God is so good. I don't believe that I met Brad in Florida simply because I prayed to meet a boy out of Utah. But I was finally truly open to whatever opportunity it was that God had in store for me, no matter how illogical it may be. I definitely didn't think that one brief encounter at a sidewalk table would change my life forever. But that's what makes life so beautiful. It never goes according to plan, and yet... it goes just the way it should...