Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in the desert of Southern California where we are enjoying the most perfect time of year, besides the beautiful Fall. Enjoy my latest story.
My husband, Larry, and I met because I was lost. Now we’ve been married 46 years.
It was my senior year of high school. The water polo team for my school, Downey High School in Downey, California, was going to be playing in the state championship. I’d never been to a water polo game but my friend and neighbor, Margie Tweedie, thought it would be fun to see one.
Margie and I rode the school bus to a distant school which had a huge indoor pool. Since it was a championship game, lots of people came from many schools, and after Margie and I exited the bus, we joined a mass of kids and adults trying to make our way into the pool arena area.
Before I knew it, I was lost. Well, only in the sense I suddenly looked around and couldn’t see Margie anywhere. Where has she gone? How did I become separated from her? I can’t see her anywhere.
As I looked around searching for her, I saw someone I knew. It was Frank Dawson from the Episcopal church I attended. Oh, good, someone I know. I’ll talk to him.
I went over to him and said hi when I realized the Cute Guy standing next to him was a friend of Frank’s. Frank introduced me to the Cute Guy as Larry. OK, Cute Guy has a name. Good. Larry and Frank explained to me they were both on the water polo team at Warren High school, the other high school in Downey. Warren High and my school were rivals.
After chatting a while, Margie still hadn’t appeared in the mass of humanity, so when everyone started migrating to sit down, it just felt natural for the three of us to climb up the bleachers together. I found myself sitting next to Larry and I quickly hatched my plan. Since I’d never been to a water polo game, I put 2 and 2 together:
2: keep Larry’s attention
2: ask him questions about water polo
4: make Larry want to ask me for a date.
I’m a good question-asker. I’m a very good question-asker. And I proceeded to literally ask questions the whole game—about water polo and about his life. I knew I was being successful because he seemed to thoroughly enjoy my interest in him. I just knew we’d reach 4!
When the game ended (I can’t remember who won but Larry remembers), we climbed down from the bleachers and the magic moment arrived for 4! Larry turned to me and I knew the magic words would come out of his mouth: “I’d love to see you again. What’s your telephone number?”
Instead, he said, “Thanks for the nice time. See you.”
I weakly replied, “See you.” I felt the blood drain from my face.
Wait! Where was the 4? I was so dismayed and disappointed. Yes, that’s just like you, Kathy. You always get the fish on the hook, but he jumps off.
I didn’t know until later (yes, obviously, Larry did call and ask for a date later) that he was afraid to ask me for a date right then in front of Frank. He didn’t want to be embarrassed if I told him no. Hello! I had just paid rapt attention to him for several hours! And he thought I wasn’t interested?!
I had lots to learn about understanding a man–and 46 years of marriage later, I think I understand his motivation some of the time.
I’m so glad I got lost in that crowd. I’d like to tell Margie the result but I can’t find her. Wouldn’t that be fun to tell her?
I didn’t know it but God was arranging our meeting all along. Although I knew I was lost in that crowd at the water polo game, I didn’t know I was spiritually lost. I attended church and thought I was a Christian because I was trying to become perfect so that God could love me. I wasn’t assured of going to heaven–I thought I could only find out after I died if my good deeds had earned enough favor with God for Him to love me.
But because I was lost in that crowd, separated from Margie, I met Larry. I started dating him, attended his church, and I heard the clear message there that I didn’t need to earn my way into heaven. Jesus’ death on the cross and spilling His blood to cover my sin was sufficient for me to be accepted by God. But I did need to receive Him as my Savior and Lord. And I could be assured of going to heaven. Talk about the lost being found!
Psalm 119:176 describes me at that water polo game: “I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.” (NIV). How fascinating that the Psalmist says, “God, seek me!” It’s God’s work.
Kathy’s recent book.
We met because I was lost. That applies to Larry in my life and that applies to God in my life. I hope you can look and recount multiple times when hindsight reveals God was working in you all along. If you haven’t recognized it lately, ask God to reveal how He has been seeking your attention. I guarantee He has.