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...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Chapter Eight: Promenade

There is an artist named Marc Chagall, and he is my very favorite. I am relatively passionate about fine arts, particularly of the 1900’s. I spent the majority of my trip to Europe in art museums, mostly on a hunt for Marc Chagall’s works. The night we watched the movie at Tommy’s house, I was looking through Omar’s camera and he had picture after picture from art museums in Chicago. Apparently I had no idea that he was so cultured, and when I landed on a picture of a painting by Chagall, the deal was sealed. I wanted to give Omar a chance.
Promenade, my very favorite painting by marc chagall.

I asked him if he had ever been to “First Friday,” a monthly art exhibit downtown. He said that he had, and that he really enjoyed it. And…he asked if I wanted to go. Just us.
He and I, alone, on a…date.
I hadn’t been on a date in quite sometime, and I was still trying to sort all of it out with God. Omar was tending to our Nano Pet so carefully, and he was so sweet about holding pinkies, and well, I gave in.And we went. And it was…memorable.

He picked me up, and we drove downtown. I invited my friend, Tommy, to meet up with us, because I was fairly nervous about going on an actual date with Omar. We looked at art, we listened to poetry, we drank lemonade, and held hands. Of course, we did not interlock fingers, or anything else.
cross-dressing nuns at First Friday, 2006

Then, we went to an empty roller hockey rink and Heelyed around.

omar has perfect form, 2006

Afterwards, he drove me home. When we pulled up to my house, Omar turned towards me, looked into my eyes, pulled me near and….

Asked if he could wash and detail my car.
How could I say no to that? We decided to meet up the next day at the carwash. At this point I was still questioning where I stood as far as being in a relationship with anyone, especially Omar. I spent a lot of time praying, asking God to guide my heart and protect Omar’s. And He did. In fact, after we washed our cars, God changed everything I had ever known about my heart in the tunnels of Lake Mead.

to be continued...

p.s. thank you to all of you who are following our story. told you it was long :) it means so much to us that you take the time to read the love story that God has written for us.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chapter Seven: Happiness is a wheel in your sole

On July 5th, Whitney, our good friend, Tommy, and I were holding Ultimate Heely Training by using carts and the flat ground at Walmart. I hadn’t talked to Omar at all. To be honest, I hadn’t thought much about him and did not know the next time I would see him. My phone rang around ten o’clock that night while Whitney and I were still Heelying through the aisles. Much to my surprise, it was Omar. And, he asked to talk to Whitney. From the other end I heard a lot of “no way” and “uh huh” “uh huh” and finally, “see you soon.”

My first thought was that I did not look my best, by any means. Secondly, I still did not want to date, and Omar’s presence in my life was making that exceedingly more difficult because I had always thought him to be somewhat charming and extremely good looking. So, I was infuriated when Whitney told me that she had invited him to join us. In fact, I mildly freaked out until he called again saying that he was in the parking lot and would be inside in a few minutes. A few seconds later, Omar glided down the Barbie aisle in his brand new Heelys and took my tomato-red face in his hands.
“I told you I would get Heelys”
our Heelys, 2006

I found out later on that he had left the 4th of July party the night before, gone home, and bought a pair of Heelys for $180.00 and had them overnight delivered. I was shocked and amazed, because my number one qualification for my future husband had just been met:
A man who does what he says he will do.

Afterwards, we invited Omar to join us at Tommy's house for a movie. On the way there Whitney found one of these wonderful inventions in my car:
nano pet, later known as "Vladimir," circo 2006

And Whitney, in all of her typical Whitney glory, had a brilliant idea,
"Lets make Omar take care of this for 20 days, and if he can keep it alive, you'll INTERLOCK FINGERS WITH HIM!"

So, we did. And he agreed to it. By the way, having a Nano pet to care for is like having a small child. It beeps when its hungry, when it poops, when its thirsty, and when it needs attention. It beeps in the middle of the night and all day long, and if it's needs arent met, it dies. And a dead Nano pet does not qualify you for finger-interlocking.

I let Omar hold my pinky for the rest of the night, in spite of my many reservations. Despite the fact that i've always thought Omar to be attractive, hilarious, and quite lovable, there were many things that I did not like about him. I thought the fancy, fast car that he drove was stupid. I hated the fact that he wanted to be a lawyer, which would obviously mean that he is money hungry. I really didnt like that he had pictures on his myspace from bars and clubs. I had an impression of who he was in my mind, and I was having a hard time differentiating between my opinion of him, his actions, and what was going on in my heart.

That night, Omar asked me to go on a date with him.

to be continued...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chapter Six: Seeing Fireworks

July 4th, 2006, Young Life had a leader party. Omar hadnt really crossed my mind, except for another Myspace message, written cleverly in Spanish, claiming that he had my ring. I was passively annoyed, to say the least. I realized that he liked me, and I had hurt so many other guys in my life because I couldn’t reciprocate the feelings. I wanted to avoid hurting him, especially since he was someone that I was in ministry with. So, at the Fourth of July party, I began to strategize how to approach him without reinforcing his possible feelings towards me. Luckily, he completely ignored me…which totally got on my nerves. Like, how dare he say he wanted to marry me only three days before and now act like I didn’t exist? This went on for about an hour, then he walked up to me, got down on one knee, and pulled out a ring box. As I rolled my eyes, a million frantic goldfish started playing dodge ball in my stomach.

my chest gets red when im nervous, july 4th 2006


Fortunately, he wasn’t. Unfortunately, his actions had already gathered a crowd of 20 or so of my closest friends. The box contained my “Jesus” ring, reshaped, shiny, looking brand spankin new, and a bible verse from Hebrews. Actually, verse 10:24, to be exact; “Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.” Told you, the boy’s got game.

My mentality shifted a little bit at this point. I was intrigued, to say the least. So, when my little sister called, begging me to take her to the park to watch fireworks, I opened the invitation to everyone. Guess who immediately volunteered to join me? Jose, our fellow Young life leader, who I vaguely knew and would have felt very awkward spending fourth of July with. Eventually Omar volunteered to go with us.

Jose, Omar, and I, July 4th, 2006

We picked up Olivia and the four of us set out to see fireworks. Olivia and I also brought our Heelys with us. Heelys are shoes with wheels on the heels, and are my greatest investment since The Beatles “White Album.” We watched fireworks, took lots of pictures, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. On our walk back to the car, Omar grabbed my hand. I immediately yanked it away from him, and explained to him that I don’t interlock fingers. This started out as a joke between Whitney and I, but it played a major roll in our relationship because I feel like there is an element of commitment when it comes to holding hands.

Holding pinkies= I like you but I don’t want to date you.

Holding hands= We are in a committed relationship.

Holding hands and interlocking fingers= I want to spend the rest of my life with you.

After the lengthy explanation, I offered him my pinky, and he gladly looped his pinky through mine. When we got back to the party, I had my Heely debut. Omar offered his arm in assistance as I desperately tried not to fall on my face. I made him (and everyone else) promise me that he would invest in the great joy that comes with owning a pair of these magnificent wheel-shoes. What happened next changed my life forever.

Oh man, July 4th 2006

to be continued...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chapter Five: Bite your tongue

The next time I saw Omar was July 1st. I know this because every year, on July 1st, the nursing home behind his neighborhood shoots off fireworks. I happen to love fireworks, and my boss at the time, Jeff, was having a fireworks party. Jeff lives across the street from Jon (Omar’s neighbor/ my gay ex-boyfriend and best friend). You have to pass Jon and Jeff’s to get to Omar’s house. That night I got dressed, picked up Whitney, and drove to Jeff’s. We hung out for about an hour, then Omar showed up. He had been driving home, saw my car, and decided to come party. I didn’t notice his presence until he walked up to me and asked me to swing dance. Which I did. Then, we all went outside and lit sparklers. He lit some in his mouth to impress me, which it totally did.

we took pictures like this with everybody that night, 2006

Omar followed me around for a little while, to the point of annoyance. People over 21 started drinking (including Omar and Jon) and Whitney decided that she wanted to go home. I was her ride, so we left.

Omar, cleverly positioned, 2006

I got about half way home, but I couldn’t shrug this nagging urge to go back. I felt like God was telling me that I needed to go back to Jeff’s. I went, because I assumed that I would need to drive some drunk person home or something. When I got there, Omar and Jon had had a few beers, and Omar ran up to me saying that he knew I’d come back. He then proceeded to try to hold my hand 23,438 times. I refused. He told me he wanted to marry me. I declined.

Then, he stood up on a chair, in front of my boss, my friends, and several dozen respectable strangers, and said, at the top of his lungs,

“Everybody! I swear that someday I’m going to put a ring on this girl’s finger!”

To which I quietly responded, “I swear, that will never, ever happen.”

Later that night, he asked me my ring size at least 50 times. When I told him, for the last time, that I had no idea, he yanked my “Jesus” ring off my finger. And, with the sacred ring that I had bought to symbolize my devotion to God and my vow not to date or kiss anyone, he ran inside his house and closed the door.

The next morning I went to the GVR pool with my friend Tracy, and some of the other people from the party. Jeff thought it would be funny to ask me, in front of 10 other people, where my ring from Omar was. He also interrogated me about our wedding date, to which I replied,

"I would not marry Omar if he was the last person on earth, not even for ten MILLION dollars."

to be continued...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chapter Four: Collide

Omar's riveting, beautifully written, ultra-romantic, comment that was left on my myspace while I was at camp:

Jun 20, 2006 7:39 PM Hello friend!! I saw a kangaroo and thought of you....

Which I ignored completely. That Sunday, at Younglife leadership, I shared about my experience at camp.

My girls and I at camp, 2006

I was wearing an old church t-shirt, some gym shorts, and no makeup. According to Omar, which he explained to me later on, he had a “Maria” moment…where the whole world stops and everyone else becomes a blur and you “just know.” Apparently he had been praying for his future wife and had felt the desire to pursue a relationship with me, and then that day sealed the deal. Omar has a way with women, and has since he was a small child. He has dated many beautiful girls, and some would say he has more game than a Playstation.

So, clearly, when the God of the universe revealed his ultimate plan for Omar’s life, he followed it in a way that completely captured my heart:

So, uh, Allie, umm, did you get my myspace comment? You didn’t say anything back…

Ya, I’ve just been kinda busy, something about a kangaroo right? (and then I walked into the kitchen)

(following me) Ya, so, I really like your outfit tonight. You look really good.

(realizing that Ive probably never looked worse) Oh thanks…

(by this time im sitting on the counter in the kitchen of the YL house, and he has me cornered) So, do you still want to get married?

(walking away completely, wondering why Omar is giving me more attention than he has ever, ever, given me) Ya, sure, I’ll pencil you in.

and then I left, and that was that.

to be continued....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chapter Three: A sign/ small piece of paper

Between Pioche in 2005 and March 2006 there isn’t much to tell, apart from a few random myspace comments here and there, oh yeah, and the sign from God Himself telling me to marry Omar, which I laughed at and totally ignored. See, we have leadership meetings every other Sunday for Young life (which was about how often Omar and I saw eachother).
One Sunday, sometime between August 2005 and January 2006, I was sitting at leadership, next to Whitney, and I was playing bible roulette. I am of the belief that this is a completely inaccurate way to determine God’s plan for your life, however, I prayed for him to show me “something about my future” as I randomly shuffled through my bible with my eyes closed. Expecting a verse in the old testament on not touching defiled sheep or something, I was shocked when I opened my bible to…..

the piece of paper with Omar’s name on it! (which I hadn’t seen since Pioche).

I laughed hysterically to myself, and told Whitney the story, to which she replied…

“HAHAHAHAHAHA! You have to marry Ooooomar!”

That night, I went up to Omar and told him that God wanted us to get married and explained the story to him. I think he mustered up a little chuckle and walked out of the room. It was very romantic. I do remember him saying, “Bye Whitney, Bye Wifey,” when he left.

But neither one of us were really phased by the whole ordeal.

australia, 2006

In that time, I went to Australia for a month, came home, and dated Omar’s childhood best friend and neighbor of 16 years, Jon. Jon is a nice guy with good morals and exquisite dental hygiene, and we dated for four months. Its probably important to point out that Jon is one of the coolest, most Jesus loving guys I know and he also happens to only be attracted to men. That put a damper on our relationship.

Jon and I, February 2006

Once we broke up in April, I took a vow to myself and God not to date. At all. And for the first time in my life, I was completely content with my relationship with God and found so much joy in just being His child. In June I went to Young Life camp for the first time and had one of the most life changing experiences of my life. And something, apparently, happened to Omar too.

Because when I got home, I found a, riveting, beautifully written, ultra-romantic, comment on my myspace from him…

to be continued...