Thursday, February 17, 2005

black dress, white socks, and Purim

Ah, Valentine's Day weekend ... I remember when ... I thought I'd be rebellious and "cool" and wear all black in protest against the red and pinkclad damsels-in-distress who paraded around campus.  Admitedly I was only playing the part of the lemming and I could never really get into the whole bitter "i-hate-men" act ... but hey, all my friends were doing it ... so not to be left out, I reached into my closet and dusted off my black dress.

But that was then ...

Sure, upon occasion I let myself wonder if there wasn't something wrong with me.  Why am I content being single?  Why do I not long like every other girl for that certain call at 9 pm, the little notes, the walks in between classes, and the church date?  I even dabbled once or twice in wallowing in self-inflicted pity, thinking that perhaps if I mourned not having a "special friend" on Valentine's Day I'd feel more normal and be able to relate to my love-crazed roomates.  But deep down inside ... eh, I had no complaints.  I had great girl friends who were the constants in my life ... plenty of guy pals who kept me amused by sporting their white socks and darkslacks (hmph, art majors of all people should know better) ... and ...

... the annual bouquet of roses.

"Oh, christine got flowers!  ... Who are they from?"

"Read the card."

"'From: the man who loves you most in the whole world' ... Ah!  They're from your dad, aren't they?"

What was I thinking?!! ... Even complete strangers knew that there was no way that I could have a secret lover back in Argentina.

Thank you, Daddy, for all the lovely flowers over the past 2 and 1/3 decades.  Your thoughtfulness, and unfailing, unconditional love are more than I could ever dream of.  Because of you, I have an amazing picture of my own Heavenly Father.

So what is Valentine's like for me now?  Ha! I had a blast this weekend.  At work Friday night, I felt adrenaline rushing through my veins as I booked a dinner reservation for Saturday night in a city where all resteraunts were booked solid.  I even calmed the frantic souls of my two guests with my soothing, reassuring voice.  And then later, I enjoyed the fellowship of my single comrads at my pastor's house.

Saturday, felt like a flashback to PCC days helping my roommates do their hair and makeup as they got ready to meet their Fine Arts dates ... but instead of one of three roommates, I did Rebekah's hair and makeup and instead of the mandatory attendance concert, Rebekah and John were going to a dance with a room full of old doctors.  Sigh.  Wasn't I glad I was going downtown to drink tea with a friend and then see the funniest movie I've seen since ... well ... Napoleon Dynamite!!!

Monday at the inn, a couple who spontaneously decided to get married that day walked in and asked if we had a room available for them.  Later, I sat at the front desk admiring all the lovebirds leave the inn and go out to dinner.  Ah, didn't little Mr. Rumery look dashing in his Naval Officer uniform!!!

"Good night, Christine.  Happy Valentine's Day!"

And then it hit me like someone slapping me on my proverbial sunburned back.  It was Valentine's Day.  sigh ... if only ...

But what was I thinking ... why was I envious? ... that would be like me being upset on Purim that I'm not Jewish!  This holiday isn't for me!  Not yet anyway.

L'chai-im (to life!!!)

Friday, February 04, 2005

state of the 'union'

Ah, wasn't the President's speech tonight magnificent?!! My friends and I made great sport out of noticing at which points those on the left side of the aisle applauded or joined in the standing ovations. I anticipate great things for these next four years.

As I watched the esteemed members of our government tonight sitting together under the great dome of democracy, I experienced a flashback to my sophomore days in college. Perhaps the sight of senators and congressmen compelled this vision ... or was it my Pastor's constant mentioning of the search for that "special someone" (as if he thinks that is a priority in our lives) ... or maybe it was my watching the address with a part Asian girl ... whatever the reason, I was propelled back in time to a four-seater table in the brightly carpetted (the rainbow-colored carpet that supposedly hid the crumbs and food stains) Four Winds cafeteria at Pensacola Christian College sitting opposite my Chinese-American friend Stacey Tom.

Stacey: I've been thinking. I think I know how you're going to meet your husband.

Girls have the tendency to play this game by imagining their own future love stories. Having never dabbled in prophecying my future relationship with my yet unknown mate, I was intrigued ... but never was I prepared for the revelation Stacey provided me with.

After graduating from college, I pursued a career in a graphic design firm in San Fransisco. I became seriously involved with a colleague. As our relationship progressed, I woke up one morning with the realization that he was not the one for me. I packed up my car, drove to the office early in the morning and emptied my office of my belongings and made the seven hour trek south to my grandparents' house. I didn't even leave a voicemail on his cell phone ... no explanation ... no two weeks notice.

("Sounds like something christine would do," was the recent comment made by a friend of mine after hearing the tale thus far.)

The next year or two I lived with my grandparents in their aqua-colored desert home. My social life was sorely lacking--not that I noticed. However, I did enjoy the Sunday afternoons when some of the old folks from the church would invite me to their home for lunch. On occasion I would be introduced to a grandson and the four of us would spend the afternoon playing Scrabble. I never thought much of the grandsons but I adored all of the grandparents who were merely looking out for me.

Then I noticed one Sunday a young man sitting next to one of the senior gentlemen I was close to at church. He wasn't at all dashing ... tall, lanky, a sort of Jimmy Stuart/Abe Lincoln figure. I was extended an invitation to eat lunch with the gentleman and his grandson that afternoon. He was an aspiring politician who was currently assisting a fellow running for the California State legislature. I welcomed the opportunity to hold intellectual conversations once more. He made for great company over the next few weeks. I even helped in the campaign he was working with.

Later he ran for the state legislature himself, and sure enough I was on his planning team, designing posters and listening to him as he practiced his speeches. The night of the election, after hearing he had been elected, I agreed to be his wife.

Eventually we moved to Washington D.C. as he moved up the ladder of success as one of California's two senators . We had three children: two girls, and one boy (the youngest). The two girls attended Harvard and Yale and travelled abroad. One married a doctor, and the other a lawyer. Our son, a good number of years younger than his two sisters, was our problem child. When he was expelled from his private school, we decided to homeschool our son. At 17, he ran away.

Years went by without a word from him, until one day he showed up at our home with a wife and kids and a calling to be a pastor. The Lord used him mightily through the books he wrote, as well as, various ministries he helped to found.

With the house empty, and my husband still busy with committee meetings and Senate sessions on Capitol Hill, I filled my time with travelling with my husband, organizing various charities in the D.C. area, as well as, hostessing various church and social events. The "state of our union" was a happy one in our old age.

When she had completed her rendition of my future marriage, I stared at her, mouth opened in disbelief. Believe me, I added nothing to her story and I'm sure I left out many other details. I had tried to interupt her prophecy many times exclaiming that I would never do such a thing or suggesting that perhaps the story could be made better if ...

I was promptly hush-hushed and told that this was her story and she would tell it as she saw it. (But it's MY life ... I would mutter under my breath.)

Admitedly I never imagined marrying a politician ... not that I imagined who I would marry all that often. I suppose I had always assumed that it would be someone like my own father. Perhaps a military man or a pastor. Or better yet, a military man who would become a pastor. I knew and enjoyed the rigors and joys each of those professions emparted on the spouse, and felt prepared to suffer with and console my mate when the stress became too great. But a politician?!! Hmm, it had never occured to me.