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  • Writer's pictureBethany Lynne

Worth Men-tioning Ep 5: Sculpted Abs, the Hippie Van, & The Lord’s Intervention

I often ponder the theology of intervention. Knowing the omnipotent power of the Almighty to send a pillar of fire to roadblock some chariots, or catching the sun to hold it still like Mr. Miyagi catching a fly with a pair of chopsticks, is not outside the realm of possibility, yet more often the free will of man is left to his own devices and consequences. 


A boy liked me in high school. He was ripped. The first time my insides halted at the sight of a man taking his shirt off, was at the base of a mountain with this boy's six pack gleaming in the New Mexico sun. Aside from his chiseled, tan midsection, he had little to no attractive qualities to me. I observed him as hyperactive, a total punk, and possessing blue eyes. 


For the life of me I can’t date a man with blue eyes. When I peer into them, I see my mischievous older brother, the unemotional gaze of my father, the motherliness of my sister, and the sarcasm of my eldest brother. I see family and all that encompasses, and what that encompasses is not romance. 


The boy with the six pack lived a neighborhood over. We were in a play together and had some sort of chemistry, and by chemistry I mean we had a good back and forth banter of sorts. (I apparently have a gift for speaking punk, as I’ve dealt with many of them in my life). We carpooled to rehearsals in his hippie van. 


Yes. Nothing quite speaks punk like an 18 year old adrenaline junkie driving a large, brown hippie van. 


We hung out, we texted, he flirted, we joked during rehearsal, we were pals. 


One day we carpooled from the parking lot of a Dions, a staple pizza chain in Albuquerque. I don’t know where we went from there, but I remember vividly when we returned. As we pulled into the lot alongside my car, my nose started running. The boy wanted to keep hanging out. I walked to the driver's side of my car. He slid the side door of his van open next to it. 


“Come on, let’s just sit for a while.” He grabbed my slender hands in his massive ones and pulled me into the door way, the built in bed exposed behind him, waiting to be occupied. It was two in the afternoon. 


I laughed nervously, and sniffled. My eyes had started to itch. I sneezed and pulled one hand free to rub my irritated nose. In two minutes, an allergic reaction of stable-of-Clydesdale-horses-and-hay proportion had overtaken my body. 


“Come on,” he coaxed, pulling me further in towards the back of the van. I sneezed again. 


“I… should get home and take some allergy meds.” 


His eyes squinted. He looked from my eyes, to my reddening nose, to my lips and back to my nose. His disappointment and slight disgust at the snot threatening to drip down my upper lip was apparent. He gave a fake smile and released my remaining unsullied hand. 


“Fine.” He said through tightened lips, over-acting as though he hated to see me go. He didn’t hug me goodbye, probably fearful of becoming a Kleenex. 


I pulled out of the Dion’s parking lot and within a minute down the road, my allergies started disappearing at a miraculous speed. By the time I reached home twelve minutes later, there wasn’t a trace of itch to be found and the bottle of Claritin remained untouched on my bathroom shelf. 


I imagined some guardian angel deployed, holding a chapstick sized tube under my nose labeled, “cat allergens” as we had entered the Dions parking lot, and a syringe of immediate antidote injected in my arm as I drove away. 


Of all the situations I’ve found myself in, the Lord intervened between 16 year old me, a pair of sculpted abs, and whatever grave misfortune could have taken place in the back of that van.


The boy asked me to the M88 prom. M88 was the local edgy Christian radio station that put on an alternative prom every year so that homeschoolers could feel like they were really in high school and Christian public schoolers could attend prom without their parents fearing they would get knocked up. 


I said yes, because how else would a 16 year old homeschooler get invited to prom? But I made it clear we were going as friends. I bought a dress, paid to have my hair styled, and selected between six of his blue dress shirts so we could coordinate outfits. He bought a corsage. It was almost like the real deal. We went to prom in his hippie van that smelled of dog and the 1970’s. 


As we entered the courtyard, I was greeted by some of my basketball teammates. 


“You came with him? Don’t you know he’s with a new girl every week?” The center on the team snidely commented, her eyes sparkling with judgment and jealousy. 


“We’re just here as friends.” I answered quietly, but her words stung. 


We entered the venue together, and danced through half of one song. He whipped me around aggressively and stopped short, declaring dancing was stupid. He just didn’t know how and wasn’t humble enough to let me teach him. Soon after he disappeared with a group of guys.


I didn't see my date for the next two hours. He had been up since 4am, worked a ten hour shift that day and had caffeinated his ADHD mind with four cans of Monster. When I saw him next he was running around the dance floor, his tie wrapped around his head, pushing his body in between dancing couples shouting, “Leave room for Jesus!” 


At the end of the night he drove me home in silence. The fourth Monster high had worn off and the crash was severe. He didn’t walk me to the door. I don’t think he even said goodnight. 


That was enough for my 16 year old brain to recognize foolishness. We didn’t hang out again. 


A year later I met up with a theater friend, a girl I called my little sister. In and out of giggling she told me about the boy she had been seeing. The one she had been making out with in the back of his hippie van. She was three years younger than me. I prayed for intervention for her. The same intervention that God had extended to me. 


Though I don’t imagine ever knowing the “why” for the intervention with the boy and the van and not for the other hurts my soul has endured, my gratitude for that allergic reaction has never dimmed. 


-B

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