I’ve been trying to think up something to write about for Valentine’s Day, and just kept coming up empty. No ideas. I’ve already shared the story of how Ben and I met, and apparently I had nothing else romantic to say for Valentine’s Day.
But then last night, a memory popped into my mind of a part of the story that I haven’t shared before, and it has to do with one of the things I love most about Ben.
So that is what I will share with you today on Valentine’s Day:
As I’ve written about before, Ben and I met at summer camp, and became good friends. Because he had a girlfriend, I wasn’t really terribly interested in pursuing a friendship after the summer was over, however. I wasn’t all that good at friendships with boys. I’ve always preferred deep relationships, which usually got complicated with boys, so it was an “all or nothing” deal for me. If he already had a girlfriend, then our relationship wasn’t going to go anywhere anyway.
However, after a few months back at Bible school, I heard that Ben was no longer dating anyone, and we happened to meet up at a volley ball game (which sounds so casual, but really I changed my plans for the evening last minute totally because I knew Ben would be there!). Suddenly it seemed like there was a point to being friends again!
Especially since he was so much better-looking than I had remembered from the summer…
We hung out a bunch of times that winter, but Ben definitely took his time. And my dad had given me strict instructions to play “hard to get”, and not let on how interested I was. (Ben was always his favorite, right from the start, and he really didn’t want me to mess anything up!)
So things dragged on far longer than I thought necessary, and I did my best to be mysterious and all that, although Ben let me know later on that it hadn’t really worked, and he always knew I was interested. Sigh.
Well, I did my best.
Anyway, after a few months of “just being good friends”, I was getting extremely impatient. Around that time, another boy entered the scene. To this day, I’m still not really sure what he wanted, as I wasn’t his type at all. He had dated millions of other girls, so maybe he’d just run out of new material, but for whatever reason, I became the object of his attention for a few weeks.
It was extremely annoying, since I had no desire to be that object. He was very forward and smooth, obviously from all the practice, and it always made me feel suspicious.
On one particular weekend, the Bible school I attended was holding a large event, and I was volunteering in the registration booth. Although Ben attended a different college nearby, he came out one evening for part of the event. I played my little “cool and calm” role, but really inside, I was outrageously excited to see him. He very casually mentioned that we should get together sometime, and I very casually agreed that sounded like a good idea.
Then he sauntered off, and I was completely frustrated with him for being totally unreadable and so annoyingly friendly and unflirtatious.
Shortly after that, along came Boy #2 to my booth, where he proceeded to fling himself over the counter and landed right in front of me, practically in my lap. He said he had come to “help” me, and then hung around, whispering in my ear and other annoying things like that.
When he finally left, and I was done working in the registration booth, I went in search of my best friend to tell her everything that had happened.
I ended it all off by wailing to her, “Why can’t BEN be the one throwing himself over counters for me???!!!”
To which she responded, “Because then you wouldn’t like him as much as you do.”
I chewed that one over for the rest of the night, and for a long time to come.
Ben never flirted with me or tried to manipulate my feelings.
Ben treated me with the utmost respect.
Ben was always kind and gentle, and would never stoop to making our friendship into some kind of silly “game”.
Ben was not “smooth”. He was sincere, and his good, good heart showed all the time. Sometimes he wasn’t exactly sure of how to express himself in the best way, but it made him even more enduring.
Ben was patient and took his time, but was definitely, without a question…worth the wait.
Boy #2 soon got tired of me, and moved on.
Ben kept his slow and steady pace. When he finally asked me out on a date, it was wonderful.
And he has always continued to be genuine, sincere, gentle and patient. With me, and with everyone else.
His good, good heart continues to show, and I love him for it.
photo credit: Morgan Braun