has brought up some interesting conversations.
Teacher Man and I are... well... different from the people that we were when this picture was taken. So much has changed, but the ironies of our story are even funnier now that we sit here two graduations, six jobs, four moves, and two children later.
I guess the story started in June of 2001. I was sitting at my parent's computer at the all-knowing age of 17.A friend had sent an email, pleading for teens to serve as counselors at Camp Good News in North Webster, Indiana. With no specific plans for a couple weeks of my summer, I volunteered to be a counselor. I was picturing well-cleaned cabins in green fields. Ha! When I arrived, there were mouse droppings on the bunks, which were actually cots hanging from the ceiling by chains. To this day, Teacher Man swears those are the most comfortable beds he has ever slept in; but this city girl almost died when she arrived for staff training. The camp, though so beautiful, was surrounded by duckweed-infested water, and it was raining outside. I literally made my mom take me into town so I could walk around and decide if I could really stay overnight at this wilderness called Camp Good News. It all boiled down to this. I wanted to make a difference in kids' lives. I wanted my time to count. And I loved the people that we had already met. So she drove me back, and I stayed for the weekend of training and then returned for 2 weeks of camp.
Now we know for a fact that Teacher Man was there. The records show it to be true. However, neither of us has any memory of the other one being at camp. You see, the camp kept boys and girls completely separate. We sat on separate sides of the chapel and separate sides of the dining hall. Our cabins were on opposite sides of the camp. Our activities were at different times. And we never EVER were allowed to swim at the same times so I didn't know he existed. I was totally focused on my girls, determined in my perfectionist way to be uber-counselor...and I loved it. Kids came to know Christ as their Savior. I made relationships with peers and adults that to this day bless my life. Counseling humbled me and made me hunger for more of the Word.
Needless to say I was totally on board for another summer of counseling. In 2002, for whatever reason, I came to acknowledge Teacher Man's existence at a distance. However, I have only one memory of him from that summer. My mom came to camp to pick me up at the end of the summer when we were all having a water fight. Armed with super soakers, fire hoses, buckets, and a few ordinary garden hoses; we were having a blast when my mom and sister came to pick me up. To this day, I remember my mom saying, "Who is that guy over there? He's really good looking." I. was. mortified. "Mom! That's
Are you catching where the irony works into my story here. Seriously. And the "no way" even made sense, I was off to college in the fall and David would be starting his sophomore year of high school. Ahem... yes. I married a younger man. For the record though, he's more mature than I am so it all works out.
So this brings us to 2003, a year of huge changes for the camp. The camp no longer had a full-time director. I was asked to be the program director for the camp, planning all the activities, organizing the staff, and leading the overall schedule of camp. That staff just happened to include Teacher Man, who by this time was an almost 16 year old hunk... I mean... senior counselor. It was also at this time that God was doing amazing things in my heart and mind. I had read the book Emotional Purity by Heather Paulsen (and whoever has my copy, I want it back!), and she had pointed out the dangerous mental patterns that young girls get into that get them into so much trouble. We see a guy, and we start imagining how wonderful life would be if we were together. What our house would look like. Where we would live. In this book, Ms. Paulsen challenged me to save myself, all of myself, for my future husband. This "all" included the emotional purity of not mentally chasing after every guy I met and wondering if he would be my husband.
I honestly can't remember if it was 2003 or 2004 (because we both worked the same jobs both years), but I vividly remember Teacher Man coming into the dining hall to ask me a question... and my mind started to go "there"... and I stopped it. I remember making the choice to honor my future husband and Teacher Man's future wife. It takes my breath away when I remember this. Because I am that wife.
Just in case you're too drawn into the romance of that moment, I need to point out that Teacher Man also spent those two summers tormenting me with the help of another counselor whose name begins with an A and ends with a J. One night specifically I remember them pushing me to tears and I went running to the chapel to pound on the piano for a while in an effort to calm down. To their credit, both boys came to the chapel to apologize; but these young men were anything but romantic.
One morning, Teacher Man also organized all the boy campers to attack me with pillows at the morning flag raising. I should've made him clean the toilets with his toothbrush. What a bum. You see what I mean about torment?
But this is all build-up to the summer of 2005...
Unfortunately, I'm too tired to write more for posterity or even for you, dear reader. Part 2 shall follow when I have another 22 minutes to myself. At least you know it ends happily, right?