In the words of my friend Fr. Tim, Felicitations! Happy Feast of St. Therese (and Happy First Anniversary to my friends George and Brittany)! I've shared my love story with you before, but I don't think I've ever told you much about the time Andrew first asked me out. I said no.
We were having coffee in the campus dining hall at one of those small, narrow booths where only two people can fit, sitting across from each other. I'd been broken up with my first serious boyfriend for all of a week. That morning, my best friend's little sister had entered a cloistered religious order, meaning that God willing, the two of them were essentially saying goodbye until Heaven. Andrew was doing this cute thing he does where he sits on top of one foot and leans forward to listen as someone's talking. I hate those might-as-well-be-dating type friendships where you're a little more emotionally invested than is prudent with the opposite sex, and I'd wanted to bring it up to him that day. Before I could open my mouth, though, Andrew looked right at me and said, "Stephanie, look. I really like you. I'd like to date you, but I know now's not a good time. I just wanted to know if you'd want that sometime soon."
I was floored by his honesty, his directness, and his willingness to make himself vulnerable for my sake. I wanted so much to say yes right then, but thank you Holy Spirit, I had the distinct feeling that there was no reason at all to rush this, because it was going to be for real and I wanted to make my heart as ready as possible (have I ever said that I used to see him a few desks away in our English classes and think that I knew I'd end up with him?). I knew I wasn't prepared yet, so that's what I told him. Andrew was such a patient gentleman.
The day I did say yes was the day after the Feast of St. Therese. She's famous for saying that she'd spend her time in Heaven showering roses upon the earth. So, in honor of that promise, the Campus Ministry group at my school always gave out single-stemmed roses to random students on her feast day. I loved the tradition, and I'd been feeling a pull on my heart that it was time to give Andrew a real answer. I prayed to Therese, telling her that if I was given a rose, I'd know that moving forward was the Lord's will for us. I was so scared that the answer would be no, and almost started to cry. Later, though, I realized that if we were, in fact, on the cusp of the rest of our lives, it really would happen in time. Just because I didn't receive confirmation of it tomorrow didn't mean it would never become real.
Wouldn't you know, Stephanie Marie Kreiner was not given a rose on October 1st, 2009. On October 2nd, however, she was walking to class and stopped at a bench she never normally sat on, one a little away from her normal route, while she finished talking to her mom on the phone. When she got up to walk inside, she saw one of the roses from the day before lying in a flowerbed where someone had left it. She started laughing, uncontrollably, and then went to go talk about William Faulkner or something.
That evening, as the sun was setting in a cloudy-day sort of sunset in front of the library, she asked Andrew to ask her out again. It was on another bench she'd never sat on before. He asked and she said, "I'd love to."
Oh, Therese. She is so, so good and has come through for me in so many more ways since that day. So in her honor, please celebrate accordingly for me, and definitely stop and smell some roses!
P.S. This is my 100th post! It couldn't have landed on a better day, in my opinion!