Friday, April 27, 2012

Beauty & the Beast: A Glimmer of Hope (Chapter 10)

KIM UPDATE: Kim is back in the hospital for Round Six now. She's doing well and is eager to finish injecting mice into her blood stream. (not kidding - google the contents of Rituxan).  Please continue to lift up prayers for our friends Andrew, Connor and Brooke. Andrew and Connor are preparing for their bone marrow transplants next month and they still have a long road ahead of them. For details see Joe's blog HERE. Thanks for all  your faithful prayers!
(If you're joining in late you can read previous chapters HERE.)
Accountant Pete
After the receipt of my "rejection letter" and four months of not talking, God finally opened the door - a tiny crack. I went up to campus in October of 1997 to visit for a Praise Night and after it finished I was talking to some friends in the foyer of Foellinger Hall, when I noticed her standing nearby with her back towards me. I remember seeing her and thinking,

"Okay, this is stupid. Just go say 'hi' to her, and let her know that you have no hard feelings." 
Since she was the last one to write, I guess I felt obligated to "make the next move".  So I walked up to her and tried to channel my inner "Rico-Suave" but that was impossible. Rico would not be bothered - he was too hurt from being ignored months prior. So I only had one "character" left - "Accountant Pete". Not quite as sophisticated as Rico or nearly as smooth with the ladies but if reconciling cash flow statements were an Olympic sport he would be on the cover of every Wheaties box. So I take a deep breath, walk up to her and strike up a conversation. I remember overall it was fairly superficial - I asked her how her senior year was going and how her family was doing. She did seem genuinely happy to see me (or perhaps "relieved" is a better word). Kim was good friends with my two younger sisters and so I knew she was stuck in an awkward position when we weren't talking. I know it wasn't a huge deal but I thought it was important to at least let her know through that simple gesture that I wasn't upset or bitter about what had happened four months ago. She seemed to appreciate that. I'd like to say that the romance was re-kindled that night and her passion for me burst into a white-hot inferno of gasoline-doused "Flamin' Hot Cheetos" (or something else that is really, really, really HOT). But to be honest, I think she was just glad that we could be friends - or at least friendly with each other.

If you recall. a few months earlier, I had begun my job in the sexy field of public accounting. By the way, have you noticed that there is a television series for nearly every profession (e.g. policemen, lawyers, judges, doctors, chefs, detectives, etc) but not one single show devoted to accountants? This is a travesty! How can this be?  Imagine the weekly cliffhangers - CPA firm desperately trying to meet a month-end close or the riveting drama of a protagonist accountant at the cusp of solving the mystery of a missing credit....or better yet....debit? This has multiple Emmy's written all over it.

Anyways, since I (barely) graduated from a top-tier accounting school, I made it clear that I wanted only the most prestigious assignments. And so the partners of my firm sent me to Kirksville, Missouri (population: 17,500) to do an audit engagement at Truman State University. The assignments don't get any sexier than that. So while sitting in a dusty backroom auditing student files I just happened to come across a school application of a freshman student named Lois that went to the same church as Kim (Calvary). What are the odds? In her application essay she described a missions trip to Africa that she went on that changed her life. I realized right then that Kim had actually gone on that same trip as she had shared things with me about that trip - back when we were talking. Well, I had another friend name Sarah from my home church back in St. Louis who was an upperclassman at the school and thought both girls might benefit from an introduction. Was this just a coincidence or was God opening a door?

I wasn't looking for it, but it presented a fairly benign opportunity for me to email Kim and ask her is she in fact knew Lois and if she might be open to meeting my friend, Sarah, who could act as an older sister to her on campus. Well, long story short, I introduced Lois to Sarah that week and they became great friends and I believe still keep in touch today. But more importantly (to me), Kim and I were talking again. I guess "talking" might be over-stating it. We were "e-mailing" again. Nothing big. But after four months of radio silence the Truman State audit job led to corresponding about once every other week. I never had the guts to call her on the phone, because I didn't want her to think I might be pushing something beyond a friendship. Her letter had made it clear that she was not looking for anything beyond that. So from October 1997 to May 1998 we just emailed each other. It was encouraging to know that we could still maintain our friendship - despite what had happened in the past.

Of course, I was still praying, on my own, for something more, but I had learned that she needed a lot of time and I was willing to wait. It was difficult but I came to a place where I was okay with just being friends - but had to keep the faith that if her heart towards me was going to change, God was the one that was going to have to change it....

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