I will never forget: The autumn day I first learned your name was the same autumn day that countless people on our cherished campus learned His.
I returned from the dewey grass and the center of campus where our Lord sat with us all night, hidden yet present in the form of the Holy Eucharist. For the first of what was hopefully many times ever, we had the honor of processing across the campus of our public liberal arts university the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ and praying to him in All-Night Adoration.
So many new people came to adore Jesus that night. Perhaps it was simply in their hearts as they curiously looked out from the library window, up from their school work with tired eyes, and up at the man who was just as weary as he was nailed to the cross for them. Perhaps they wandered over to physically join not just their fellow Eagles, but their fellow brothers and sisters on this walk of life, in the tent under the stars, thanking and praising him for enduring all of that just for little unsuspecting and seemingly undeserving us.
That night was also when he brought me to meet you from afar. How awesome that the place that I did wasn’t at the house of someone I didn’t know through my dimly lit party-induced haze, but in the quiet breathlessness of the Garden of Gethsemane, keeping watch with the One who we both knew before we even knew what we were knowing. You bore the torch and lit the path that Jesus made throughout campus before coming to rest in the very center of countless hearts … It was awe-inspiring to me that on your first day with our campus ministry, you brought strangers and wanderers alike to Christ that night, knowing exactly what it’s like and what it takes to take that first step.
The next morning I entered the dining hall for celebratory breakfast just Him and I, trying to ignore my impending Decision Analysis class and knowing that all I would be thinking about was the entire evening I just spent with Him. Suddenly, my heart stopped, not at the thought of Him but at the sight of you, rounding the corner from the other side of the first floor landing. All thoughts of my actual Number One Guy vanished as your blue-eyed cuteness came my way, and the battle that only introverts experience of whether or not I should actually say something, what that something should be, and how that something should be said, began as usual.
Having two different types of “the feels” in my brain at once (the giddy school girl crush kind and the crippling, shy introverted kind) kind of caused me to lose track of exactly how the next part happened, but suddenly, I found myself doing something I never quite have the courage to do, and probably only did due to the time I spent praying in the presence of the Eucharist:
Unsuspecting and significantly underdressed me was beheld by you in all her glory: bags under her eyes as the after effect from the best all-nighter she’s ever had at college, not a trace of makeup painted on, hair in a bun, and in her incredibly carefully chosen outfit of a Flash tee from TJ Maxx’s boys’ section and a seven-year-old pair of soccer shorts. The girl who never usually squeaks out such a sentence and is an old soul forever waiting for the guy to make the first move, even when it’s just the first hello, did the thing! In waiting for you to say hello, hoping you’d notice me or maybe that you already did, I took notice. Taken for a minute and trying to place where you remembered me from (not mad about it since that meant you were focusing on Jesus) you managed a friendly “hey” back, and I felt triumphant. As I continued on my way, I liked to imagine that your gaze was trailing after me.
And I realized something as I sat in the booth for two, just me and my Cinnamon Toast Crunch:
I BET JESUS GOES THROUGH THIS EXACT SAME THING!
Catching sight of us from afar, waiting for us to notice him first, to remember where we first caught sight of His gorgeous face, to utter His name and a gentle good morning greeting … He yearns for us to take notice, and His gaze is always trailing after us like a man who is taken by us, wanting nothing more than for us to make the first move just so He can squeak out a gentle hello back. But He’s an old soul in the sense that he waits for us to make the first move, never imposing, almost reminiscent of the quality that is an endearing shyness, always the classy gentlemen. It’s our choice whether we’re brave enough in the end to say hi first.
So in the constant waiting and wondering which one of the guys God sends my way might possibly be my “the one”, I want to work to take notice of The One always there for me in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. In continuing to prayerfully study His gorgeous face in Adoration, I experience some of that same rest the Apostles experienced back in the garden under the stars. I can only hope that journeying to that garden under the stars by spending time together in the Adoration chapel is something my future starry-eyed one won’t mind sharing with me in.
Because in the end, I choose to say hi to Him. In the end, He is my The One.