Prayer for True Love
Prayer for True Love
A lonely woman relies on the power of prayer when she meets a man who may be "the one."
It's just lunch, I told myself. Not a real date. I slid the hangers across the bar of my closet as I rated each outfit. Too stuffy. Out-of-style. A date? I hadn't had one of those for two years. I'd sworn off dating after my last marriage fell apart—my second marriage to fail. I just didn't trust myself. Things had gone so terribly wrong I didn't think I could even make a choice anymore. One afternoon two years later I confided my disillusionment to a friend.
"Write down on a sheet of paper all of the qualities you want in a husband. Pray over it and put it in a special box. Then trust God to choose someone for you," she suggested. So I did. I made my list, folded it up, put it in my cedar jewelry box and prayed without much hope. I'd always seen myself happily married, chasing kids around a backyard. Here I was, 39, alone and about to meet a guy I barely knew, for lunch.
Friends said I was a "young-looking" 39, but your age is your age. I stepped back from my closet with a dark-olive top and silk pants, brushed my hair, freshened my lipstick and wondered, What am I doing?
As I drove to the restaurant, I thought about the guy I was meeting. We'd been introduced a few weeks before at a friend's place. We only chatted briefly, but he seemed nice, with dark eyes and an easygoing manner. I didn't think much of it until a week later when the phone rang. "It's Michael," he said. I was a little surprised to hear from him, but his friendly manner quickly put me at ease.
A few calls later, he suggested we get together. "I don't date," I said. I took a breath and laughed nervously. "I've had some bad experiences. I want to build a friendship first."
"Then let's be friends," he replied.
We talked every other day. He seemed too good to be true: He had a promising career in counseling. He sang in the choir at his country church. He didn't drink. All the qualities I'd put on the list. But I tried not to get my hopes up. There was an unknown: I'd only seen Michael that one time, but I remembered he looked younger than I was.
I pulled into the parking lot and glimpsed him standing in front of the restaurant, with a boyish grin. Yep, I thought as I walked toward the breezeway, definitely younger. "Good to see you," he said. He held the door for me. "I'm glad you suggested Bellini's. It's my favorite."
"Mine too," I agreed. "Let's go dutch."
"Out of the question," he said. "Since I invited you, it's on me."
His manners impressed me, but I still wasn't sure what I was doing there. I picked at my shrimp piccata. We talked about a lot of things—music, books we loved, even spiritual stuff. I'd never met a man who was so comfortable talking about his faith. I felt relaxed around him. When we finished, he paid the tab and left a generous tip.
"Let's do this again," he said, walking me to my car. "My 10-year reunion's coming up this weekend, but maybe we could do something next weekend?"
I did the math. Ten-year COLLEGE reunion? That would make him 32. Maybe 35, if he got a graduate degree. Or 10-year HIGH SCHOOL reunion? He'd only be 28. I ran the numbers over and over in my head. Best case scenario, he's only a few years younger. Worst case, 12. I could've been his babysitter!
"Call me," I said. "Thanks for a great lunch."
I sighed deeply as I slid behind the wheel of my car. How could he be the one? He would want a younger woman he could start a family with. Not me.
That evening I slipped on my pajamas, curled up on the couch and flipped channels aimlessly. After the news, I padded into my bedroom and dug into my closet for my cedar jewelry box.
Nestled inside under a silver band my grandfather had given me was a sheet of paper. The list. I unfolded it and reread the qualities I'd chosen for a mate two years earlier: "honest, loyal, sober, happy, enjoys singing, shares readily, generous, educated, financially secure, emotionally open, churchgoing, laid back, interested in building a family, and within three years of my age." Michael had all the traits—but one. And that would end up being the deal breaker.
He called a few times the next week, but I made excuses to avoid him. Finally, he caught me on my cell Thursday afternoon. "Meet me at the movies tonight? The new Shrek is playing."
I tried to make myself say "no," but the truth was that I really wanted to see him. We got tickets, got some popcorn and found seats. "So, was it fun to be back on your college campus?" I tried to sound nonchalant as I sipped my diet soda.
"Nah. I decided not to go," he confessed. "And it was my high school reunion." The lights dimmed and the previews began. I couldn't concentrate. The calculator whirred in my mind. In the dimness I could see him laughing at the screen, that nice easy laugh I liked, but the confirmation of our age difference soured my mood. Besides, it was a cartoon. Movies I liked had human actors.
"I always catch the new Simpsons episode on Sunday evenings," he said as we walked out of the theater, stunned that I wasn't into animation.
"Everyone likes The Simpsons ."
I wanted to shout at him. "Next time, you pick the movie," he offered as we walked to my car. Next time? What was I doing?
Everyone your age!
That night I reread the list, again. For two years, I'd prayed for God to send me the man of my dreams. No, not even the man of my dreams. Just a man who made sense for me.