Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chapter Nine: I can only imagine

Sometime between the night at Wal-mart and the car-washing afternoon, I had coffee with some of my dearest friends. I vividly remember the topic of conversation, which would normally be about school, work, or the bible, and my sweet friend, Sheena, quickly put the spotlight on the Omar and Allie saga.

the coffee girls, 2006

For some reason, I spent at least an hour adamantly explaining how much I didn't like Omar, and how this was "THE. WORST. IDEA. EVER," while my wonderful friends tried to reason with me. Nakomi, who was Omar's best friend's girlfriend at the time, told me that she had been praying for Omar to find a "good girl" like me....which I absolutely hated being labeled as. After a lengthy conversation on how Nakomi would have to keep praying because I was definitely not that girl, one of my best friends, Sarah Zimmerman, grabbed me by the shoulders and said,
"Allie! Omar is really nice and really good looking and it is obvious that you DO like him. So stop saying you don't."

I would like to say that I had an epiphany at that moment, but I most certainly did not. However, I did keep Sarah's words in the back of my mind and was eager to keep getting to know him, just to see if he would prove my misconceptions to be incorrect.

So, Omar and I met at the car wash. We washed both of our cars, and he detailed them while I talked his ear off. Then, he got a phone call from one of our mutual friends inviting him to go hiking at Lake Mead through abandoned train tunnels. He accepted and asked me if I wanted to go. I told him that I was already planning on going, and he asked if I wanted him to pick me up. I agreed.

And we made our first public appearance.

the tunnels of love, 2006

We met up with 20 or 30 of our wonderful friends and were interrogated by many of them for the amount of time we were spending together. We laughed it off. We held pinkies. We enjoyed the company of our friends on the two and a half mile hike into the tunnel. I made Omar skip with me, and he did so gladly. We made it to the end of the tunnels in the company of our friends. Then, we slowed down a little bit. While everyone else was starting the 2.5 mile journey back to our cars, we held back. We fell behind everyone else, and with pinkies still hooked together, we started talking. We talked about our hopes and goals and dreams and how we came to know Christ. Then, we had a conversation that will go down as the moment that changed our lives forever. Omar took my sweaty hand in his and said,

"I was serious about wanting to marry you. You are everything that I have ever wanted in a wife. When I watched you with your sister at the park, I knew that I wanted you to be the mother of my children. You are the most beautiful girl that I have ever met, and I can't find anything wrong with you. I can see myself spending my life with you, and I know that God gave me these feelings for a reason."

Of course, I told him how sweet that was, and how much that meant to me, and that I didn't really feel the same way, and I spent the next mile telling him all of my reservations about him, to which he had perfect responses.
"What do you want out of life? Like, why do you want to be a lawyer?"

"I want to help people, I want to change the world. I want to have the power to do things that would please God and make an impact on the system."

"Okay, but I want to have twelve kids."

"Thats awesome. Me too. I've always wanted alot of kids."

"But... but...but...."

And sometime between my apprehension and the end of the tunnel, something happened. I had a paradigm shift the size of the grand canyon, and rather than thinking about the many reasons why this didnt make any sense, and why this is THE. WORST. IDEA. EVER, I started to think about the many things about him that I loved.

Like, the fact that I've always found him ridiculously good looking, or the way i've prayed for a husband with a big heart and one dimple. The fact that he followed through with the things he said and he boldly pursued my heart. And that after trying my whole life to write my own love story, this was the opposite of my idea and maybe, just maybe, this is what God wanted for my life.

So, I asked Him. I asked God if this was His idea, and not a total lapse of judgment on my part. I asked Him to show me.

What happened next is forever cemented in my heart. There is a song by a band named Mercy Me called, "I can only imagine." It is the song that played the night that I decided to become a Christian. It is the song that has miraculously come on in cars and malls and subways when I needed God the most, and the song that played when I asked God if I should become a YoungLife leader. As we walked out the tunnel, and my question lingered in the night air, music started BLASTING from one of our friend's cars. The song? I can only imagine.

the lake mead tunnels, 2006

It was evident to me at that moment that God had ordained this wonderful man in my life who exceeded everything that I ever imagined about the person I would marry. My heart burned with confirmation as the undeniable voice of God spoke into my heart. This is it. And I squeezed Omar's hand, and told him that I might be starting to like him. I also told Omar that I did not want to kiss him until I was absolutely sure he was the person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. And that he would have to wait.

Here is my journal entry from that night:

so theres this tunnel, and theres all these other people going through the tunnel, and theres sweaty hands and theres beating hearts. and its dark, and you cant see whats ahead, and your only options are to turn back or to keep walking and to trust that you are going towards something good, something really really good. and there are all these questions without answers and you cant figure out where this came from but you cant wait to see where its going and there is no where else that youd rather be but here.

to be continued...

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