this is a really long, really involved version of the beginning of our story. i feel like i should offer a prize to anyone who actually takes the time to read it. umm... how about a tootsie pop? or a mix cd? or something...
tim and i have known each other for almost twelve years. but back then, he was 14 and i was 18. BIG difference at that age. we went to the same youth group. and actually, his sister, rachel was one of my jr. high youth group girls, so we girls hung out quite a bit. timothy would hardly talk to me in those days.
after high school he went to YWAM. i would get periodic updates and such, but there were a few years in there where we didn’t see each other much. then he came back to minnesota and started attending the church plant that i was worship pastor at. he joined the worship team. and even though he still didn’t talk much, he wormed his way into my heart. not in a romantic way (AT ALL), but more of a “what a special person he is!” kind of way. he was back and forth between YWAM and minnesota for a few years. he’d come and give updates after trips and such. and he’d always play on the worship team. when he wasn’t there, we missed his quiet humor and his steadiness.
he finally came back to minnesota for good about, gosh, six (?) years ago. he joined the worship team full-time and so we saw each other twice a week. that’s when we really started being friends. looking back, i see that God opened my eyes to really "see" tim, pretty much from the get-go. most people don’t notice the awesomeness that is timothy -- his gentleness, his humor, his depth, his kindness, his all-out wackiness -- because he is so introverted and doesn't always share what he's thinking or feeling. but i somehow always had this deep appreciation for him as a person, a respect for who he was as a man, and an excited and confident expectation of what God would cause him to be in the future. that allowed me to give tim a lot of encouragement and support as well as to really care about him as a friend, way before we had romantic feelings for each other.
meanwhile, tim was being mentored by our pastor and was really starting to come to grips with the pain created by certain events in his life. he and i would have long talks about family, and forgiveness, and healing. tim also started working on getting comfortable hanging out with girls one-on-one. so (this is so CUTE), he’d take girls from our church out on pseudo-dates. he took me to a minor league baseball game once. another time we went to the art museum. he was so sweet and gentlemanly on our “dates” but i never thought of him as anything but a friend.
we lived in a community house together for a few years. we cooked for each other and had “family fun nights” and all kinds of stuff. we kept getting closer, but still, i never felt anything for him except sisterly affection. until... one summer, we were having a church picnic and tim was playing basketball with a bunch of neighborhood guys and at some point during the game, he just whipped off his shirt. i did a double-take. seriously, people... that was the first time i ever noticed that tim was an eligible, attractive man. i had never, ever, ever had that thought cross my mind before. it was like a lightning bolt. i tried to put it out of my mind, because i was a leader at the church, he and i were living in the same house, and i thought he was way (haha) too young for me. but, if i'm being honest, i would have to say that things were never quite the same after that -- at least under the surface. not so much because i saw that he was totally ripped, but because of the epiphany i had upon noticing him as an available guy.
a few more years passed and i moved out of the house we’re living in, but tim and i remained close. around the beginning of 2007, a bunch of people from our church were thinking about moving to ohio to help sort of re-plant a church there. i was close to several of them and so when tim decided to go for a visit and offered to fly me down with him to check it out, i jumped at the opportunity. we stayed at the house of a young couple in the church. he did stuff with the guys, i did stuff with the girls, but we got to spend a lot of concentrated time together, just the two of us. more than we ever had before. at one point, i was telling all the single girls (and there were a LOT of them at that church) how awesome tim is. what a great husband and dad he’ll be. how cute and athletic he is. you know... trying to pave the way for him a little. and one of the girls says to me, “why don’t YOU date him?” i laughed and said (famous last words), “umm… because that would be weird!”
the weekend we were in ohio, the men from the church went on a retreat and tim went with them. i hung out with the ladies and had a great time, but found that i was missing his company. when he and the guys came back to the house we were staying at for a party, i was so happy to see him and kept thinking to myself, “why am i so happy? i’ve never been this happy to see him before…”
on our flight home, tim and i talked about everything that had happened on the five days we were there. and then, inexplicably and with no premeditation, i started crying my eyes out. poor tim is just sitting there, like, “are you okay???” and i am just nodding and crying like an idiot and saying over and over, “i don’t know why i’m crying.” now, let me just tell you: i cry all the danged time. but i always, ALWAYS know why i’m crying. this time, i seriously had no earthly idea. and that troubled me greatly.
so my friend, bridgitte, came to pick us up at the airport. we took tim to his mom’s house and i got out of the car to give him a hug like i would always do. i got back in the car and bridgitte (who knows me better than anyone in the wide world) said, “what happened between you two?” i looked at her in disbelief, “nothing!” i say, truthfully (or so i thought).
that night, i was laying in bed, asking myself over and over “why was i crying? why was i crying?” and it hits me.
i was crying because i was sad tim was moving away.
i LIKE tim.
oh my GOSH!!!!
i seriously freaked out for the next two weeks. i talked to my friends, i paced the floor, i journaled like a mad-woman. i didn’t know what to do. it was so unexpected. and such bad timing. and i didn’t even know if he liked me back! after two weeks of spazziness, i decided to just let it go. he was planning to move at the end of february. and i seriously did not want to mess up our friendship. and i'd only had a crush on the guy for point two seconds -- it would be easy to get over him, right?
i took a week-long trip to washington, dc over valentine’s day week with some of my girlfriends. tim called me on valentine’s day (not KNOWING what day it was because, let’s face it, valentine’s day is laaame) to see if i want to hang out when i got back and before he leaves for ohio. i’m going “be calm. keep it cool, lisa. it’s just a friendly call. it will be good closure. just keep it cool.” but iwas SO jumping up and down inside. we decided to hang out the next sunday morning and afternoon before church (our church met at night).
he came over and we watched a kung-fu movie (one of our favorite things to do together). after the movie, he turns to me and starts talking about all the things he appreciates about me and how much my friendship has meant to him. i was trying SO hard not to cry. i told him how grateful i was that we were friends and how much i cared about him as a person. i told him about my hopes for him in the future and how great i think it is that he’s following God and going to ohio, even though i’ll miss him. all the while, i’m telling myself, "this is probably the last time you’ll have with him – make it good. don’t leave anything important out."
and THEN… he just leans over and kisses me.
i was shocked. completely shocked. i was even more shocked that i kissed him back. but what shocked me the most was that he was a really good kisser. TIM HEANER!
(what comes next is horrifying. prepare yourself.)
then he gets up off the couch, looking very confused and says “i have to go to church. i’ll call you.” and LEAVES!!!!!!!
i just about died. i literally kept my phone in my hand for the next 24 hours. i only put it down to brush my teeth and go to the bathroom. i just kept thinking “PLEASE let him call. PLEASE let him call.” the agony, people. the agony.
but he called me monday night to ask me if i wanted to go out tuesday, to which i calmly answered, “yeah. that would be good.” we made arrangements, i hung up the phone and then started running around my apartment jumping and screaming like something out of a cheesy teen movie.
i was so nervous he was going to say that it had been a mistake or that he didn’t really feel that way about me or that it was crazy to get together just as he was leaving. but he took my hand in his and said, “lisa, i really care about you. i have strong feelings for you and even though it seems like poor timing, would you want to date each other?” i started cry-laughing and said of course i did.
hilariously enough, he told everyone that I kissed HIM. even his MOM! we’ve since got the story straightened out and he’s rather proud, i think, of the fact that he “busted a move” as he calls it. i’m so glad he did. otherwise… who knows? we might never have said anything to each other and we would have missed all this joy and healing and growth and amazingness.