Wednesday, September 24, 2008


(One day when Greg was teaching in Blanket, a foster kid was following him walking to the football field. Near the Ag building was a tire jack. The kid asked what it was, and Greg told him. And his reply was, "You know EVERYTHING about mechanics!" We have adopted that phrase, with variations, which is why, when I tell people Greg was installing an air conditioner when I met him, I tell them, "Yep, he knows EVERYTHING about electricity!")

So there was this handsome GI, knowing everything about electricity! Blissful sigh. Being the quiet, reticent, sweet Christian girl that I was, I waited for someone to introduce us. NOT. (I used to be [believe it or not!] VERY loud (surely there have been SOME changes in 34.5 years of sanctification!). So I went up and introduced myself and asked him about himself. 23. (I was 19.)Married? Nope. Ever been married? Nope. Kids? Nope. Debt? (Just kidding! That was for LATER.) I even asked him what was wrong with him that he wasn't married yet! He said, I think, that he had a close call. Air Force. Staff Sergeant. Physical training instructor. (At that point, I should've fallen over in hysterics, because this sweet Christian girl {that would be me} almost flunked PE because she wouldn't dress out for softball in the heat of San Antonio!) So here is Mr. All-Tri-State in football, lettered in every sport except hockey (sorry, CH), captain of many. We had SO much in common....

Our pastor, ever the joker (remember he was a youth minister once), saw us talking and said, "Hey, Greg--this is Vivian. She's been DYING to meet you!" (This is knowing I'd never seen him before.) Haha. Good old Lee.

In spite of that intro, we hit it off. Time to backtrack to "bible college." The center of life there was *soulwi**ing" (NOT the Lord Jesus Christ, sadly), and, in the semester I was there, I only witnessed to my junior high bible study kids. The surrounding adults intimidated the fool out of me--most (outside the school) were Je^^ish, as in the people whose condos I got paid to clean. So I was, by our church's standards, sadly lacking when I came home, and feeling pretty guilty about it. And here was GREG! Talk about ON FIRE! He was crazy! He would take a load of kids from church to witness to the GIs on base, and managed to never get kicked off it for doing it. He would take kids to Hemisfair downtown, which is where the poor bald, "rich" GIs went when they had liberty. I was so amazed at this--such boldness! Our pastor had taught him well in a semester, eh.

And here is the providence of God--backtracking to "eternity past." I used to go roller skating at Lackland every free moment--it was my passion. And hey--eat your heart out!--I can skate backwards! And sideways! (I KNEW you'd be impressed, but what does that have to do with "eternity past"?) One of the men who worked at the skating rink, Ray, was like a dad to me (remember my dad had left with his girlfriend when I was 16), and we used to have lots of good talks. He was a professing Christian, though he never told me. (So what constitutes "a good talk"?) I just loved the guy for listening to me. It was a good friendship--he was married and had kids my age, I believe, and he adjusted my skates well. Anyway, unbeknownst to me, Ray was also a physical training instructor, and it was HE who invited Greg to church while I was gone to "bible college." (Isn't that AWESOME?!) Thanks, Ray, wherever you are. (And he never even went to church there!) (And I should know--I was a "charter member": "It won't get you into heaven, but it will get you a front seat when you get there!"). God is fascinating!

Now fast forward from eternity past to soulwi**ing. Shy girl that I was (enough!), I asked him if I could go with him sometime (with others). So he would take a group of us, pick a street, and go door-to-door (I long for such boldness now!).

Is it needless to say that I was impressed with this young man? And he wasn't even in debt; in fact, he paid off my school bill before anything developed between us ($450, and you can believe I was thankful!). And he would let me use his truck (a shortbed Chevy with a longbed camper--go, Greg!) and walk to work. I was broker than beans--I had only my clothes and my bible. Seriously. And a job as church secretary that paid almost nothing.

So what are this man's plans? He wants to go to the same school I went to! I received this with the biggest inward groan and sigh--wait till he hits those halls full of squeaky-voiced girls quoting scriptures--there goes our friendship.... So, I helped him fill out his college application (this was "foreshadowing"; I would do almost all paperwork involved in our lives from here on out!). He got accepted (surprise). So he was going to give me a ride to college (which I needed), and oh, well....

We continued our friendship, heavily into the scriptures. I wouldn't go to his apartment (he had a roommate) alone with him, so we would ride around (before gas was $4 a gallon!) and talk about the Lord and the scriptures. Lots of questions, lots of challenges, lots of fascinating talks. We stayed up crazy late, and sometimes he would reluctantly leave, park in front of my friends' house, and pray that God would wake him up in time to go home and shower and change and go to work. (Ah, youth!) And we talked on the phone until our ears were soggy when we weren't together (blessedly, not long-distance!). It was a sweet, rich time in our lives.

12:28 AM. "Uncle" for now. Mas tomorrow, perhaps. Keep those comments rolling in (even if I have to make them!). Hugs to all!

PS "TMI" yet?


Grace said...

not tmi yet:) i think you're good until the kids start happening;) love you, mom! and i can't believe i've never heard some of this. you're too cute!

sarahdodson said...

No tmi- there's a lot in there that I hadn't realized. interesting. I wished everyone would write about their lives like that. I'm almost out of breath after reading that! I can't imagine writing it:)

Hugs right back atcha!

Heather said...

can you teach me to skateboard backwards? hehe. I love the story so far.

Put Your Faith Back into Action said...

Oh this sounds cute and good job to the both of ya in those days I mean you know what I mean. lol you know me but not in a mean way anyways love ya.