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  • Writer's pictureBethany Lynne

Worth Men-tioning Ep 2: The One Who Impressed Me

To the man who has long held my highest respect.

By his own admission, he was small in stature. Due to complications at birth, he was the runt of his peers, a little shorter compared to the rest.

We were a part of a friend group: 2 girls, 2 boys. It was the first close knit friend group I'd been a part of. From the beginning, I had been ignoring romantic interest from one of the boys - my best friend my first year of college (another story for another blog). It wasn’t until the second boy's disposition shifted towards me, I became irritated.

In order to convey my lack of romantic interest in him, I implemented the classic indirect-communicative tactics, to (surprise, surprise) no avail. I stuck to only spending time with him within the confines of our group, but after weeks of my avoidance tactics yielding no change in his flirtation towards me, he finally asked if we could meet one on one to talk.

I rolled my eyes, as I explained to my roommate the sheer inconvenience of having to reject a boy on a perfectly good Sunday afternoon.

As I left my dorm, I rehearsed how to let him down gently. I would begin with something like, “I’m flattered, but no thank you." "Flattered" being the word I'd been told to use when turning down a man. Or, “I want to focus on my relationship with Jesus right now.” Jesus was always the ideal excuse to use, because a good Christian boy couldn’t argue with it.

I sat across from him in the abandoned student cafeteria. He fidgeted nervously. I adapted an air of ignorance so as to make him feel more at ease.

He started in, as I had predicted, stating his thoughts and feelings towards me, and how he very much valued our friendship. I straightened in my seat, preparing to give my carefully rehearsed rejection speech.

“I’ve been praying about it, and…”

Oh boy. I thought. This is where he’ll tell me he’s had dreams of me being his future wife, or God gave him a sign I was The One. (These types of statements were not unusual at what we called the “Bridal Institute”)

He simply said, “I’ve been praying about it, and although I very much like you, and would like to pursue you, I feel like God is telling me it isn't the right thing to do, so I won't."

I was stunned silent. My, “thanks, but no thanks,” caught in my throat.

“Oh?” Is all I could muster.

My brain was sent into a whirl of confusion.

No man, or boy, for that matter, had ever been mature and selfless enough to:

1) Confess his feelings plainly

2) Genuinely put God or me before his own desires.

Suddenly, he was the tallest man I’d ever seen, with a sacrificial heart of gold. I walked slowly across the soccer field back to my dorm, feeling speechless, conflicted, and something I hadn’t felt towards a boy before... impressed.

Suddenly, I questioned all of my previous convictions. My attraction to him had suddenly risen. I wondered whether he was the man intended for me, if he truly had such wisdom, and connection to hear from God.

For being the smallest in stature, among a school of lumberjack and jock built boys, to me, he showed the most strength and maturity of all of them.

I remember, at 18 years old, feeling humbled. He had taken time out of his Sunday, to communicate something that he never had to say. He could have saved face and let it go, and I would have "never known." But he told me he cared about our friendship, and wanted to make sure I understood his intentions, which was to respect me and be a good friend. What a gift that conversation was.

I talked to myself as I re-entered my dorm. Don’t ever settle for anything less than a man who will do what he just did - convey himself with honesty, humility, and sacrificial love.

It was such a small moment, an honest conversation, that lasted no more than 10 minutes. He showed such courage to put aside his fear or insecurity for the benefit of our friendship, and I always felt safe with him after that. In just 10 minutes, he had earned my total respect and trust. #impressed

We didn’t really keep in touch after I transferred to another college the next semester. I started a letter to him, a couple years later, to let him know how much those 10 minutes impacted me. I never sent it.

But maybe he’ll read this, and know; he set the bar high, and for that, I am grateful.


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