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Of Crazy Clothes and Campers, Fish Frys and Fair Trade Festivals: A Love Story (Part 1/10)

Updated: Apr 3, 2022

There was a knock at the door. He was right on time. This was the moment of truth. Either I was going to feel like a complete fool, or . . . I wasn’t ready for the ‘or’ yet, but I admit it was a possibility in the back of my mind. When he said crazy, what exactly did that mean to him? I was taking a serious risk here. What if he was several levels of crazy less than me? I wished we had one of those little peep holes in the door of the apartment I shared with four other young women. I flipped the deadbolt—click—and wrapped my hand around the cool brass door handle.

I had already told God, six months prior, that I was not interested in marrying any of the guys I had ever met up to that point. I came from an enormous high school, was on staff in a big church, and currently attended Biola University, a Christian school with plenty of social opportunities. I knew a lot of guys—three of them as boyfriends and a few others as short-term crushes. Nope. None of them felt like marriage material to me. I had high standards, but not in the traditional sense. I had weird standards, actually. Though I didn’t necessarily look it on the outside, in my heart I was a bit of a rebel. I didn’t buy into many of the values and priorities of the culture around me. I was a misfit on so many levels, but I was happy there, and I wouldn’t want to marry someone who wasn’t as weird as me. None of the guys I knew made the cut. I told God I really did want to marry and have a family, so if he wanted to grant those desires to me, he would have to bring someone from the outside, Someone I had never met. Someone as quirky and weird as me. And I was in no hurry.

A short time later, the church gossip train began to hum with the news of a new intern coming down from Santa Barbara to work with the high school youth group at our church in Long Beach. I was the junior high ministry pastor. So a new guy was coming. No one but me knew about my recent conversation with God. I kept it between us. Before Andy ever arrived in Long Beach, however, our mutual friends got busy trying to set us up.

“Sherry, I went to a party in Santa Barbara over the weekend and I met Andy, that guy who is coming down to be the new intern! He’s so great! You guys would be perfect for each other!”

Ugh. I was not actively looking for a boyfriend at that time and I definitely wasn't into being set up. If God indeed had someone for me eventually, he certainly didn’t need the help of these busy-bodies.

Meanwhile, Andy was hearing the same thing: “Andy, I went to a party in Long Beach over the weekend and I met Sherry, the junior high pastor up at the church in Long Beach! She’s so great! You guys would be perfect for each other!”

“Really? You think so? Cool! I can’t wait to meet her!” Andy was significantly more enthused at the prospects.

My friends wouldn’t give up easily. “So, remember that guy Andy, the new intern I was telling you about? Well, I told him about you and he is excited to meet you!”

“Oh, great. Please stop. I really don’t need a matchmaker.”

When Andy finally arrived in Long Beach, we met awkwardly in my boss’s office on a Sunday night after evening service. The door was propped open and I walked in. I saw someone I didn’t recognize and suddenly remembered this was the day the new intern was scheduled to arrive. I steeled myself: courteous, but neutral, Sherry.

“Oh, hi. You must be Andy.” He stood to greet me with a hopeful smile. I extended my hand formally. “Nice to meet you.” We shook hands. Then I immediately spun on my heel and walked back out of the office.

And THAT is how we first met.

(for Part 2, click here)

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