So, I knew from my conversation with Becky, my assistant, that Dan was a kind, gentle, godly man who also had stature!! I felt so drawn to him but had no idea if he had any attraction to me. Was he just always so nice and kind to everyone? Maybe I was reading into his actions toward me. All I knew was that I found him attractive and God seemed to whisper in my ear that he was the one for me.
Dan led a small group in the church so his bio was listed in the small group pamphlet. I noticed that he liked to hike and was into photography, two of my top interests as well. Armed with that information and with a desire to stir up some interest, I asked him one day if he knew of any good places to hike in the area. He mentioned one or two places but said nothing else, so I thanked him and started to walk away until…. “Would you want to go for a walk sometime?” he asked. Of course I acted surprised, as if this thought had never crossed my mind! “Umm, sure. That would be nice.” And so we did, the next Sunday afternoon at the local forest preserve.
We walked for quite a while, sharing about our families, college experiences, and other stuff you talk about in those first conversations. What I wasn’t expecting was for him to tell me that he had bi-polar disorder. He was diagnosed in his early 20’s, and had a few major episodes but had been on his medications since then and never had an episode in over 20 years. Was this why God prompted me to pray for someone I could see every day? I didn’t know much about bi-polar disorder but I did know from TV shows that someone off their medication could be very difficult to deal with. Had I not been able to see him every day at work, I may have been scared off at this point but God orchestrated all of it so not only could I see him daily and know for myself that he was steady and consistent but those who knew him at the church could attest to that as well.
God also made me aware of two TV stars who had bi-polar disorder and just “happened” to talk about it in TV and magazine interviews very soon after my talk with Dan. They both were on medication and led normal lives, as long as they stayed on their medications. I myself am on medications for health issues and know that if I am inconsistent in taking them, it changes tremendously how I function. What I did come to understand is that the condition is caused by a biochemical imbalance in the body and with the right medications, one can lead a very normal life.
On our walk, I also shared with him that for some crazy reason, I was into watching the “Fear Factor” show. He made it clear that was NOT a show he would watch! Rats! Had I blown it?? But, I reasoned, I was being honest about who I am and if he didn’t like me, then maybe the voice I heard was just all in my head.
So, was that our first date? Maybe. Not sure. I opened the door of opportunity but he asked me. Does that constitute a date? I’ve never been sure. We went for a walk and talked, just getting to know each other more. I did learn that he was quite an athlete in high school. He was the high school football star, all-state, and also all-state for baseball. We were walking on a Sunday afternoon in the fall, so I figured that he would be going home to watch a football game like most men on a fall afternoon. But, no, he was going home to go over the lesson for our small group that night. Hmmmm. He was choosing to miss a football game to study his Bible for group that night. Add that to the list. A man after God’s heart who also liked to walk in the woods. I certainly was hoping to take more hikes with this quiet, humble, gentle man!