It was a Saturday night in June of 2009, the night before Father’s Day, and a couple girlfriends and I had decided to go to our usual spot – Coach House. Yes, I had been there the night before, but it’s one of those bars that is so relaxed and mellow that it makes it hard to want to go anywhere else. Besides, I needed to make up for the night before. We sat inside, plugged the jukebox and caught up on our singlehood.
I had woken up that morning clothed in full protective gear. There was a shield protecting my heart, a screen blocking my vision, and an invisible fence around me that would keep everyone at a distance. I was not looking, not trying, and not wanting anything but a night out with the girls. I didn’t want to make small talk and have someone get to know me because the chances of them following through and really getting to know me were slim. I didn’t want to give anyone my number because the chances of them actually calling were unlikely. I didn’t want to show any interest in anyone because it was draining and I was tired of the empty investments.
My two girlfriends and I were sitting inside the bar when one of my co-workers walked in. We were surprised to see her because we had never seen her there before. She got our attention and told us that her boyfriend and a couple of his friends were outside. She really wanted us to meet this boy of hers that she had been telling us about for a while now, so we got up and went outside. I introduced myself to her boyfriend and started talking to his friend that was the closest to me. After about three minutes, I realized this guy was only going to talk about himself and I was only going to get to stand there and listen. I kept up with the small talk, quickly becoming annoyed.
I went inside and got another drink. I contemplated just going home and getting in my comfortable bed. I questioned why I still come here every weekend when it’s the same thing over and over.
When I came back out, the guy I was talking to and the other friend had switched places.
We exchange names and what we do for jobs and then he asks, “So what else do you do?”
This is the part where I normally just say that I hang out, go out and don’t do anything too interesting. However, I had just become a Young Life leader and I felt this tug at my heart to mention that. I ignored it because I don’t like mentioning that part of my life in a bar setting because of how some people react to Christians being at a bar and talking about Jesus. (Jesus isn’t just in the four walls of a church, but that’s for another time, another story.) I told him anyway and next thing I know he tells me that he had been involved in Young Life in college. From there, we talk about what churches we go to. And then about God and our faith.
I leave to go to the bathroom and feel different. Something had just happened and I didn’t know what it was. I sit down to do what I had to do and I hear a clear, distinct, solid voice.
To which I replied, “What? I don’t even know this guy.” The voice, which I now recognize as God's voice, kept booming and repeating itself in my head because He knew I was already thinking of my escape plan. Apparently, He really does speak to you at unexpected times and in unexpected places.
I didn’t have this overwhelming feeling when I was talking to Chris at first because I hadn’t let myself. I still had the screen, shield, and force field up and I was standing my ground to not let anyone else in. I walked back outside and we continued our conversation. There was something different about this guy, but I wasn’t about to get my hopes up. As far as I knew, he was like every other guy out there.
The night came to a close and people were winding down. He sat across the table from me and asked, “Do you think we can hang out sometime?”
“Sure,” I said.
“Can I get your number?”
I gave Chris my number followed with, “We’ll see if you actually call.”
“Of course I'll call,” he said.