After Summer Project, God took me on this journey of growth that was incredible. I have used the analogy that is was like I was the pinball in a pinball machine—Project took the handle and brought back the thing that drives the ball into the game, and after, the spring let go and I grew like crazy in the Lord. It was incredible. I totally fell in love with the Lord like I hadn’t before. For almost an entire year, I forgot about the little crush I’d had on this Doug person. (Even though we still wrote letters—we were still friends, as we all were from Project.)
And then I student staffed Summer Project the next summer. Mostly new faces on the Project, but all the same that we were working with. And I started thinking about the last time I walked those halls, when I was a student on Project. I reminisced. I loved being a student, it was like a spiritual greenhouse! But being staff? I re-learned what I had the previous summer, and this time, all that I hadn’t had enough room in my brain to process at the time and was lost, stayed! I learned about God’s heart for the poor. I learned about God’s intent for marriage. And out of nowhere, I started thinking about—you guessed it, Dr. Wile E. Coyote. I’d go out for coffee on days off with my friend Jill from Project the year before and ask her what to do. So I prayed. And the prayer continued after the summer ended. Dr. Wile E. and I had been keeping in touch by writing snail mail letters, and sometimes texting. Always, we spoke about scripture, what God was teaching us, our lives, and share prayer requests. We shared if God had answered prayers or if we were still praying for an earlier issue or how it was resolved. D didn’t know he had long ago “sister-in-Christ-zoned” me, and that was a struggle.
Over the NEXT year, I struggled. “Lord, I have feelings for Dr. Coyote, and I don’t want them there. Take them away!” and “God, Dr. Coyote doesn’t like me back, I know it. If he does, I pray that he will tell me!” Jill had told me, “Dr. Coyote has a sister, so he has to know that you like him, right?” But I wasn’t so sure. I thought the only way to get his attention was to hit him in the head with a 2×4 with the words “Anna likes you” imprinted on them, so that when he’d look in the mirror, he’d receive a sign to act upon. But I kept praying.
I’d pray for Dr. Coyote, and then I’d pray for my future husband separately. They were, after all, two different people. I finally came to a point where Dr. Coyote didn’t have to be the man for me—and I began praying that he would meet someone and get married. Someone who he needed, that would support him and ministered to him in the way he needed. Dr. Coyote was one of the first people I’d text if I needed prayer for something. My sister went to the ER? I texted my best girlfriends, Dr. Coyote, and my co-ed Action Group. I needed an opinion? I texted my best girlfriends, Dr. Coyote, and my co-ed Action Group.
The summer of 2013, I was living at home and working on the farm. I had been trying to finish the manuscript of the novel I had been working on for the last year, but I needed some ideas. “What is your favorite story in the Bible? And who is your favorite Bible character in the OT?” I sent a mass text and got a few answers. A couple hours later, when I was in the tractor, Dr. Coyote texted me and said he didn’t get the mass message because he did not have a smart phone. So we agreed to talk more on Facebook after he was done with CNA class that night. (We did that every once in a while, too.) When we did talk on Facebook that night, he mentioned that we should Skype or something the next day.
[Okay. At this point, I was trying NOT to acknowledge feelings for him. He was just a really good friend…And I was excited to be talking more.]
The next night, we Skyped for FOUR HOURS. I loved it! We talked about anything and everything. And the next time we Skyped, it was just as long! But let me tell you a little bit about our conversation that second Skype call (‘cuz it’s important to the storyline):
First we chit-chatted about life and stuff, and then conversation turned to the Word.
Dr. Coyote: [Takes a deep breath, pauses as he has on his “thinking” face, and then looks up.] What have you been reading in the Bible lately?
Anna: I’ve been reading…[talk about what I’d been reading and learning from it]. What about you? What did you read in the Word today?
Dr. Coyote: [Deep breath.] I read Ruth—I was trying to find somewhere in the Word where it talks about dating, and I decided that Ruth and Boaz were a good example. I was looking at how Boaz treated Ruth, and he didn’t keep anything from her—he told it all to her. I don’t want to keep making you guess…why we’ve been talking more and all this stuff. [Anna is getting very nervous here. Also, I don’t remember if Dr. Coyote said much more, because I couldn’t hear it over my pounding head.] I’m interested in pursuing you. [Emphasis mine. I could feel the redness creep up my face, I was so excited. He talked about going to med school and not wanting to mess with God’s plan for my life while I’m thing, uh, maybe God’s plan for my life is you! But I stayed quiet and listened.] What do you think?
Anna: Well, I am not opposed to you pursuing me, ‘cuz I kind of like you, too. I say….we just keep talking like we are, and see where it goes.
Dr. Coyote: Okay!
Later evening, he texted me and was excited. He was wondering what he could tell people what’s going on. I suggested we call it a “strong friendship.” [Lamesauce. Right?] I was actually surprised that he was so excited, because he was almost-dating me. That had never happened before. So we called ourselves “strong friends.” We continued to talk, and my family just shrugged and said we were dating. I would correct them, but they’d be like, “Anna! You guys talk all the time and you like each other. You’re dating.” And I agreed (in my head. Not out loud). I wrote Dr. Wile E. Coyote another snail mail letter, telling him deeper things about me that I hadn’t told him before and asking questions about his own life. I ended it with, “Sincerely, your strong friend who wouldn’t mind being called your girlfriend.” When Dr. Coyote received the letter in the mail, he read it, and then brought it to our next Skype date. He addressed things I had said, asked questions, answered questions I had asked of him, etc. We went all the way through the letter. When he got to the end, I felt my face turn red as he read out loud, “Sincerely, your strong friend who wouldn’t mind being called your girlfriend.” He looked up and shrugged. “I don’t mind, if you don’t mind!” he said. We were both real smiley. “Now what?” he asked. “Um, we make it Facebook official?” I suggested. And so we did, as we were talking over Skype. And before we ended our call, everyone in my family had liked the status.
“Congrats, Anna!” my dad said when I entered his office later that night.
From my friends at school, I received text messages: What? You’re dating someone? Who? How long have you known him? You shouldn’t blindside me like that!
And so, Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I began dating. But we lived nine hours apart. And that, my friend, is when this whole nine-hour long-distance relationship began. 🙂
As usual, stay tuned! 🙂 The next one should be up Friday (‘cuz I don’t want to post the whole series in one week!)