Debbie and Abner
How We Met
It was not love at first sight…at all….
A mutual friend of ours, Tyler, told us about each other the summer before his freshman year and my sophomore year of college. Tyler told Abner I was cute and told me that he was a fun guy. I told my friend I wasn’t in a place spiritually to be in a relationship and he responded back saying “Okay but when you are, God will lead you to Abner.”
So the day came that Abner and I met. It was a casual encounter at Abner’s freshman orientation. I was working the student government booth and he came by to pick up a t-shirt. We made small talk, enthusiastically and unaware that we were the target of Tyler’s shot at being Cupid. Abner asked for my name and when I told him he said he’d heard a lot about me. Confused, and bad at hiding my feelings, Abner could tell I was a little creeped out. He responded “From Tyler!” It hit me at that moment that this was the guy Tyler was telling me about so I rolled my eyes thinking “Oh Tyler! That silly wannabe matchmaker.” I guess Abner didn’t take that well and actually thought I was being really full of myself. So he ignored me from then on. To me, he was a freshman who walked around campus with his “squad” thinking he’s too cool. So no. Not the best first impression.
Friends to Flirts
Fast forward through a year. Abner had dated and broken up from his first relationship. During that relationship we actually became pretty good friends. I was more of a mentor and I would be his listening ear when he needed to vent about his break up. During this friendship stage I would visit him at work. One day I was visiting him and I was so bored so I got on YouTube and watched random videos to fill the time. I came across this video that taught me how to make this origami square note. Being the flirt I am, I drew a couple cutesy stick figures of us with some inside jokes. Little did I know that this note would go a long way. We kept passing that note back and forth to each other, filling each little square with an inside joke or adventure.
He eventually asked me to be his girlfriend. Unfortunately it was during the summer and we were both committed to working at different summer camps therefore starting our first three months of the relationship apart. To keep in touch, we would send this origami note back and forth throughout the summer, filling it it in with stick figures of us and our summer adventures apart. If we had been together that summer, we would have said “I love you” within the first two or three weeks but we wanted to wait until we were in person to say it.
As John Green wrote in Fault In Our Stars, “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
The day Abner and I were reunited after the torturous three months apart, we decided to meet on top of this hill at a lake near our campus. It was sunset and a gorgeous one at that. Abner had finally driven into town while I was anxiously waiting on top of the hill. He accidentally parked on the wrong side of the lake so he started running to the spot where we were meeting. I remember that moment so clearly. He ran down the trail making his way towards me. He was wearing a fitted white button up with dark jeans and brown shoes. He was smiling and kept yelling “Run to me!” but my knees were locked. I was frozen. At that moment, I realized that this was the man I was going to marry. He ran straight into my arms, lifted me up and spun me around! He then took out the note we had mailed back and forth to each other and told me to read it.
I opened the note and coincidentally there were three boxes left. He filled each of those boxes with the three words I had been waiting to hear from him all summer long, “I love you.” This was two years ago.
how they asked
Some called me oblivious. I called myself coffee deprived. I had a massive headache from not drinking coffee that day (I know, I need to lay off the caffeine). I drove up to Brighton, Colorado with a group of Union College students to lead out in a worship service at the Brighton Seventh-day Adventist church. We lead out in worship and went to lunch at the pastors home. To me, Abner was calm, cool, and collective. Apparently he hadn’t slept for weeks from anxiety and excitement. I did notice that his hands were sweaty all day but he kept saying he was really hot. Good enough for me!
A month ago when Abner and I talked about this trip, he told me he wanted to bring out the worship team to the lookout, otherwise known as the Lost Gulch Overlook. I knew it was something he wanted to do and it was one of my favorite spots so I didn’t complain. After lunch we packed up and started heading towards the lookout. Abner and I drove together with two friends in the back seat and the rest of the team was in the school van behind us. We had been driving for half an hour and I realized the van wasn’t behind us anymore so I asked Abner to call them and ask where they were. He “called” them and told me they were going to catch up soon. I was worried for them though because I knew it wasn’t the easiest spot to find. My friends in the back seat kept reassuring me that they’d catch up. Good enough for me!
Once we arrived at the sight, we met up with a friend of mine who was going to bring her young adult group up to meet us there. Apparently they were never going to come up! But she told us that they were still traveling up the mountain. Abner and I then decided to take our friends to the best spot on the overlook. Once we got to the spot, my friend Jessyka suggested we take a picture because the view is so beautiful. So Jessyka, my other friend Maile, and I pose and take a couple pictures. Then Jessyka said she’d get a couple of pictures of Abner and I. While I’m trying to figure out how to pose, Abner drops a note while I wasn’t looking and turns to me and asks me how it got there. I look back really confused. How did that note get there? Was that in my back pocket? Abner picks up the note and begins to open it up.
I was getting a little impatient as he was opening the note because I already knew what it was. It was our note from when we first said “I love you.” Why do I need to look at this again? We already know what it says? But the more he opened it, the more I realized this wasn’t our love note. This note said “Will.” This note said “Will you.” This note said “Will you marry…”
My heart stopped. My legs gave out! I fell straight down to the ground!
It’s taking a lot of reflection time to remember what happened after that. What I knew was that my heart and mind wanted to gravitate closer and closer to Abner. He helped me up while laughing. I can only remember fragments of his speech. I kept leaning my head on his chest in disbelief of what was happening. Since the first time we said “I love you” I have lived every single day knowing undoubtedly that this was the man I would marry. He was my first hand hold, my first kiss, and my first boyfriend. He’s the reason I’d go to sleep smiling. He’s the reason I’d dance while I would get dressed for the day. He’s the reason my world gleams with positivity and spontaneity. My first love will be my last and I can’t wait to live a life of sacrificial and unconditional love. Abner got one one knee and asked me to choose him forever. I did. I do. And I always will.