“You need to borrow $20? Are you kidding me?” was just one of many comments made on the worst date of my life.
This was back a few years when I was living on the coast of North Carolina. I had been talking with some friends, and they insisted that I go out with this guy they knew named Billy. I was like, “A blind date, seriously? Am I that desperate? Am I that lonely? Am I that crazy?”
Well, I guess I was … because I agreed.
I got a call from Billy to confirm our plans. He asked me if it was OK to pick me up a little earlier, say 4:30 p.m. I was like, “Sure. I mean, I guess.” Hmmm, maybe he had something special planned for our first date. I could see it now: maybe a long horse ride on the beach, followed by dinner on the sand while watching the sunset. Before I knew it, it was Saturday, and 4:30 had fast approached. I waited a little anxiously to see who my best friends thought was a match for me. All of a sudden I heard this loud noise coming up the driveway. It was a large, beat-up, ugly truck, complete with black smoke spewing out of the tail pipe. I froze in mid-stare as I realized this was my date.
My first thought was which one of my friends would I kill first. This cannot be happening to me. Seriously, this is who they think I should be with? What did I do to them to deserve this? The truck finally stopped just short of my front door. I noticed that Billy decided to bring along his dogs for company.
As he got out of the truck, he yelled, “You must be Krisssstyyyyy,” drawing out my name like only a true redneck southern boy can do. “No, I’m Kris,” I said, praying that maybe he had the wrong driveway. I tried to smile and be nice to him, but clearly this had to be a joke. Maybe it was a set-up, and he really wasn’t as country as he appeared. Maybe those weren’t his dogs, and I was not about go to on this date. But unfortunately it was all true, and I just didn’t have the heart to tell him my friends were playing a joke on us both. He asked if I was ready to go, and I was like, “As ready as I will ever be.”
When I got into the truck, there was trash all over the seat — old Fritos bags, soda cans and McDonald’s wrappers. Billy quickly said he was sorry as he moved the trash to the floorboard. The whole time I kept praying that I was in a bad dream. Billy said he had something special planned for us. He was taking me to one of his favorite restaurants for dinner. Based on what I was seeing now, I could only imagine where we were going.
“Hey, do you like Lynyrd Skynyrd ?”
“Uh, well … uh, well, not really.”
“Well, how ‘bout George Jones?”
“George who? OK, you must like … um, it doesn’t matter, Billy. Just play what you like. I am sure it will be just fine.” He pushed a few buttons and away we went, jamming out to Lynyrd.
As we started down the road, I noticed the windows were all down. I had started to roll up my window as it was pretty chilly outside, plus I had done my hair. I kept turning the handle, but it wasn’t working. Billy said, “Oh, sorry, that window hasn’t worked in years. If you’re cold, you just need to slide closer to me. I can keep you warm.”
Did he just say that? I think I am going to gag. Well, I had no choice. I slid over, weaving my feet through the pile of food wrappers.
I said, “Well, can we at least close the windows to the back of the truck? Or are they broken too? Your dogs keep licking my hair.”
“Aw, shucks, they’re just saying hi. If they lick you, that means they like you.” I could feel the stomach juices turning over.
Well, to say the least, I was still cold. Billy was not able to keep me completely warm. I said, “Billy, do you not have any heat in this truck?” He seemed frustrated with the question. He sighed heavily, and the next thing I knew, he had one of his hands down near my ankles.
Startled, I started to jump out the open window when Billy said, “I am not doing anything. The wires are all interconnected. If you want heat, I have to disconnect the radio to reconnect the heater.” At this point, I was ready to hitchhike home and take my chances with a serial killer picking me up.
I can see why God never mentions dating in the Bible.
Dating can be hard. It’s like “a box of chocolates,” to quote Forrest Gump. “You never know what you’re going to get.”
When I was a young adult, dating was like breathing. I dated continuously. It was easy to me. I mean, I wasn’t dating to be married; I was dating to have fun. So when the occasional bad date occurred, I was like, “No problem. There will be another one around the corner.” But with age and maturity in Christ, I began to realize that God wants us to “date,” with purpose. I learned the dangers of dating to only meet my needs. I learned over time the value and meaning behind dating God’s way. I learned to wait on God for his best, for his purpose — even if it meant being set up by friends. And even if it meant going through some really bad dates. And even some great ones.
Oh, and did I forget to mention Billy’s favorite restaurant? It was Golden Corral. If we got there before 5 p.m., we qualified for the the early-bird special.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. –Psalms 130:5