The first round of Zone Conferences came and I went with my parents. For some weird reason for the first few months of Zone Conferences, my parents had me sit on the stand with them. At one of the first ZC's, I was sitting right in front of a Zone Leader, one Elder H who had an amazing voice. He could sing anything and it was just fun to listen to him sing. As I got to know more about this missionary, I had two impressions. First, because he was a violinist and amazing musician, he would be a great guy to line my little sister up with (she was on a mission at the time in Geneva, Switzerland); and second, that he would eventually be one of the Assistants. He was just an amazing guy.
Several months later, this good Elder was indeed called to be an assistant. His companion (and the other AP) had previously been his companion in the MTC and also was his second comp. in "the field." Elder G (the comp.) was a jokester, outgoing and full of life. Elder H was more quiet and reserved, quick to enjoy his companion and in tune with the feelings of others. Their differences enhanced their similarities and made them an excellent companionship. Because I was fluent in Spanish at the time, Elders H & G asked me to come and translate for them with a part-active family in their area. I was able to spend several evenings with them translating and helping this great family. I became even more convinced of Elder H's worthiness to be set up with my amazing little sister.
The day came that Elder H left the mission. We had become friends and I was excited for his life to continue and to get him and my sister together at some point. Elder H went home to Idaho and Ricks College in due course. A few months after that, I went back to Utah and BYU myself. Like I said...we were friends, but really not close friends...we didn't keep in touch or anything like that...we just weren't that kind of friends. There was one random meeting between us at a Utah Symphony concert about a year later (only now, we don't really consider it a random meeting). We said hello, talked for a minute or two. That was it. I saw him again briefly at the homecoming of a former missionary about a year after that. By that time, my sister was home from her mission, but unfortunately for Elder H...she was already dating the man who quickly became her husband.
I couldn't figure out what to do with my life at that time...so I went back to London and spent another 6 months there. I was in England when I turned 25. It wasn't a really happy birthday for me. I was 25, still single, still not sure about my major, and going nowhere - at least I felt then that I wasn't really progressing. I remember talking to my mom for hours. During one conversation I said, "It would just be really nice to have someone who was really great think that I'm great too." It was a bit depressing...actually, a lot depressing! I was really lost but a blessing from my dad gave me the confidence and answers I needed, not to mention the hope that everything was going to be just as it should.
I decided to go back to BYU again and push through to finish my degree. I now had a goal...to give my parents a nice welcome home present and graduate that next August (2000), a month after they would be coming home. I was happy and feeling great. I had awesome roommates and was really enjoying my college experience. One day fate (actually the Hand of the Lord) stepped onto the BYU campus.
Unbeknownst to me, Elder H had graduated from Ricks and had transferred to BYU. One day in late March of 2000, I was headed home from the library late in the day. Elder H had been at BYU for a few months now and really hadn't spent any time on the south part of the campus. He had a few minutes and decided to check things out. I remember well seeing him walking down the steps of the Eyring Science Center and saying..."Well, Elder H. How are you?" We spoke for a few minutes, I learned about his transfer to BYU and his dating/marital status (since I knew I would be speaking to my parents and they always wanted to know what was happening in the former missionaries' lives). Once again we parted company. I went home without understanding the miracle that had just taken place in my life.
A few weeks later we met again at an informal mission reunion and spoke very briefly. A week or so later, Elder H, called an asked me if I'd like to attend a jazz concert with him. I called my mom and said, "You'll never believe who just asked me out." When I told her who it was, she said, "You're right...I don't believe it." Our first date occurred in April of 2000, a week or so before finals. He would be going on tour with the BYU Chamber Orchestra to Russia and then home to Idaho for the summer. I would be finishing my degree and graduating in August. This time, I thought I had better do something to keep in touch with this guy...we were really becoming better friends and I hoped that would continue. So...I sent him an email saying "thanks for the date" and "hope to see you soon." His response to my email was..."yeah, it was nice...I guess I'll see you in August at your parent's homecoming." That was, in fact, the next time I saw him. We talked again briefly, but that meeting seemed, at least to me, a little bit awkward. I'm not sure either one of us knew what to do at that point.
The months flew by...our next meeting was at the first "official" mission reunion for my parents' missionaries. Our second date took place a few weeks later. When he called to ask me out (yes, by this time, I was living in Salt Lake and he was still in school in Provo) I was already committed to a line-up for the night in question. Luckily for me...I said, in essence, ' I can't do it that night, but you have to promise to give me a rain check and ask me out again.' I guess he thought that was convincing enough and said, basically, ' Well if this weekend doesn't work...how about next weekend.' With the second date set, I went on the lame line-up to which I was committed.
We went ice skating on our second date. I made a fool of myself and he was very patient. We met again for lunch the day he was leaving to go home for Christmas break. The next big event came at the beginning of BYU's Winter Semester 2001. Elder H, walked into a Shakespeare class that he had decided to take for fun. My little sister's husband just happened to be sitting there. He knew Elder H well (this is a long story in and of itself...I'll spare you the details just now) and my bro-in-law came up with a plan. Deciding that they would need a tutor, I was engaged to tutor the two of them each weekend. I was a slothful tutor, because I was working full time and was usually exhausted by the time my students came over those Friday evenings.
Somehow...we kept going on a few dates here and there. At this point in my life (I was 26), I wasn't about to open up my heart to getting hurt and I had convinced myself that this relationship was all something of my brother-in-law's doing and that Elder H wasn't really interested and that...on and on and on.
One evening in February...he asked me to a concert in downtown SLC. I had committed to be at a friend's birthday party, but for some reason we decided to meet each other and get a late night snack after the concert. The plan was to meet at Temple Square. We quickly realized that there was really nothing downtown we could do, so we just walked around and talked for a while. During the course of the evening, he answered every concern I had...one by one. When he walked me to my car he gave me a hug and said, "You're going to have to tell me if you're getting sick of me, because I think you're really great." I said something stupid and awkward in response. As I drove away, my earlier conversation with my mom, more than a year earlier, came back to me in living color. Could he really have said those exact words.
That, my friends, was the tipping point. My heart beats faster even now as I type about it. It was amazing and from then on...we were pretty much together. My doubts and worries all melted away and by the the next mission reunion when the missionaries saw us together...it was pretty obvious that we were more than just friends now. One of the missionaries who had been one of my roommates asked, "So...is this serious, like are you going to marry him?" My response, "I certainly hope so!" A big admission from me.
That weekend, we went to watch General Conference with his family so I could meet his parents. We held hands for the first time the day I met his parents. We kissed a few weeks after that...when I kissed him, I knew I was kissing the man I was going to be kissing for the rest of my life. I only became more and more sure of this amazing man.
Why am I writing about this today? Because seven years ago today...I had the beautiful and perfect experience of going to the Salt Lake Temple and marrying the man I intended to line-up with my little sister. The perfect man. The love of my soul. My knight in shining armor. My amazing husband. My Happily-Ever-After.
Happy Anniversary Babe!