Will Do Crafts for a Ring
Here’s the truth …
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are things I will do; I will not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16 NIV).
Ever feel like your life is a series of red lights? Like maybe every door you try to open seems more than stuck. It’s like it is welded shut, peeling, and dented from years of trying to kick it open! We all go through times like this when we need to have blind faith that God is keeping those doors closed for a reason—whether it be for the job we want, the mate we seek, the home we crave, or the pounds we seek to shed. I spent the decade of my twenties pounding on that door, encountering red light after red light that just would not turn green. At the end of the year 1999, my best friend told me that so much could change in one year. She was right….
Back then, my brother loved being Italian. In fact, he used to wear the boot of Italy around his neck on a gold chain and eventually named his son after our two Italian grandfathers. He knew everybody and could get you out of any jam using his myriad of contacts. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think I grew up with Tony Soprano himself. To this day, he doesn’t know how to serve a meal without covering every surface of his home with plates of food. It doesn’t matter if only six people are there to partake of the bounty. Endless dishes, from appetizers to desserts—even before dinner is served—cover the coffee table, end tables, counters, and buffets. And he makes it clear that he visited the Italian grocer to obtain much of it, adding that he received more than the average person would because he knew the guy behind the counter! Despite all my jesting about his love of our heritage, it’s because of my brother that my door was about to be opened. Of course, he knew a guy….
That April, in 2000, my brother called to say that he was able to create a double date with this must-see guy from his girlfriend’s office. I was evasive. This was not my first rodeo. I was 28 years old and had been on more blind dates than I could count. And here we still were, single me listening to him try to convince me of the latest and greatest who might change my world. Please.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I drove the hour distance to the place where I grew up and prepared myself for this blind date. Everyone knows they don’t work, I thought. Why should I go to so much trouble for this? But my brother, in his thickest Italian tongue, said, “Who knows, Mare. ‘Dis could be da one!” I rolled my eyes in defeat, knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to get out of it and had to make the best of it. Deep down, though, I’d hoped he was right. God tells Isaiah: “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are things I will do; I will not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16 NIV). Perhaps this date was my chance to step out in faith, trust in God, “lean not on [my] own understanding” about my future, and let Him direct my steps (Proverbs 3:4-6 NIV).
My friend helped me to get ready, and off I went to meet this guy at a seafood restaurant with my brother and his girlfriend in tow. I knew I was in trouble when we sat down to order and my brother, looking in my direction, said, “Tell him how you do crafts and stuff.” When I protested, utterly embarrassed, he said, “I want him to see that you’re … uh … well-rounded.” I couldn’t believe it! There might as well have been a sign on my forehead like in the dark ages when a woman’s family offered a dowry: Will do crafts in exchange for husband. Knowing this guy, named David, could probably care less that I knew my way around a craft table, I immediately prayed for God to get me through the evening.
After dinner, we went to a place where we could play video games, so my brother and his girlfriend went off on their own and left me to interact more with David. We eventually sat down and just talked. If you’d hear him tell the story, he’d say that I had three strikes against me when the date began. He found out that I was an English teacher, I lived in another state, and I loved cats. He had once dated an English teacher, and it went horribly wrong. He also had a long-distance relationship before, and it was dreadful. And he loved dogs, of course. So, hearing that I did crafts certainly did not rock his world in an “I must have her” kind of way, despite my brother’s efforts. However, when we were able to talk, just the two of us, something clicked.
He asked me what I was teaching to my students at the moment, and I started talking about the symbolism in The Great Gatsby. I mentioned that my students thought I was crazy because I could take the color green in that book and create a bunch of symbols from images that Fitzgerald probably never meant for them to mean. David said nonchalantly, “Yeah, like the green light at the end of Daisy’s pier.” I almost fainted right then. I had dated men who never opened books but could certainly tell you the intricate statistics of yardage per passes on a football field; I did not think it was possible to meet a man who would actually know about the green light in The Great Gatsby! God was clearly giving us the green light, I decided. Luckily, David agreed. We were married a year later.
For years I had chased a different guy, even moved to Pittsburgh to make it easier for him to court me. I dealt with disappointment after disappointment when he pushed me away at every turn. When I least expected it, having been jaded for so long, God used my brother and his Italian antics to bring me a husband!
Don’t be afraid of darkness and closed doors. They are closed for a very good reason. God could be sparing you from a disastrous situation that you just can’t see coming. But when He gives you His green light, there’s no greater feeling! During our first dance as a married couple at our wedding reception, the verse from the song Shout to the Lord, sung by Darlene Zschech, expressed it all: “I sing for joy at the work of Your hands.… Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.”
My brother, by the way, was right; the first gift I gave to David while we were dating was a centerpiece I made for his bare coffee table! I do crafts and stuff!
… and that’s the truth as I know it!