Back in 1997, I was a free-spirited, deep thinking, determinedly independant gal who spent her time either in the halls of Denver Seminary, on the streets working with homeless youth or in the mountains as a backpacking guide with Young Life. That did not leave a lot of time for ummm...guys and that was probably a good thing as I did not have a great record of choosing gentlemen who were very good for me. But deep inside, I longed to someday be married, to be a Mama...I longed for that soulmate.
I'm in there...see if you can find me!
So, to really tell the story, you have to understand that I grew up on a pretty small island in the NW. You can still only get there by ferry boat. Everyone knew everyone and if you did something wrong your parents knew about it even before you got home. It was a tight-knit community and I grew feeling loved and known. I also was still in contact with many of my coaches and teachers from years past. Even though I lived in Colorado and had a life far away from the island, as soon as I stepped upstairs on that ferry, I knew that I was truly home.
Back in the Christmas 1996, I stepped upstairs on that ferry and ran into my second grade teacher! We sat down on the wide green leather seats and spent the ride catching up and remembering life so very long ago. The ferry docked and I headed on my way not thinking a whole lot about the conversation again.
So...back to 1997. A certain group guys calling themselves "The Three Amigos" decided to quit their jobs and head off on an adventure of a lifetime. They were going to sail around the world in on of the guy's dad's sailboat. Well, the boat caught fire and they spent a lot of time fixing it up and in the end decided to sail around Vancouver Island instead.
Still good friends today, the "Three Amigos"
In one of the anchorages, these three by now hairy and sun tanned guys ran into my second grade teacher! She and her husband were sailing around Vancouver Island as well. They all wound up in the same anchorages each night sharing some meals and getting to know each other. She watched as Doug tried out his first pair of rock climbing shoes on the giant boulders onshore. One of my teacher's hobbies is setting people up so as they went their seperate ways she promised to find each of the guys a wife. The guys promptly forgot that conversation and headed into the next leg of their adventure carreening around the US in a very old and rickety RV owned by Doug's grandpa. Parts of it were literally cinched together with grandpa Ralph's belt and other's liberally duck taped. They bravely headed off for a month of seeing as many National parks as they could.
I think the RV looked something like this...
In the meantime...my second grade teacher came home. Low and behold, in the produce section of the grocery store she ran into my mom. The lightbulb went on and she remembered that I was in Seminary and a backpacking guide during the summers. She remembered Doug talking about his faith and rock-climbing onshore....and she was just sure that we would be a perfect fit!
So, while Doug was preparing that crazy RV for his trip, I was getting calls from my mom after she had received calls from my teacher. She would play her answering machine for me (yep, I'm that old). My teacher would leave these long messages about how wonderful Doug was and all the details that she rememered about him. A few days later she would leave another message with more details she had forgotten. So she would leave the message, my mom would call and leave it for me, and I would pass on a message back! It kept us all pretty busy for a few days!
I told her that she could pass my # on to Doug which she did. She called his parents house and he carried a tiny slip of paper in his Bible all around the country. It said, "Shannon, blond, Christian, likes rock climing." He had never gone on a blind date before but he held onto the number!
A month later when I had pretty much forgotten about the conversations with my teacher via my mom...the phone rang! It was Doug calling to ask me out! I will never forget seeing him walk into the hallway of my apartment for the first time, his smile was like none other, so genuine and real. We talked and laughed all evening and then came back and had tea in my little apartment. We sat up late talking about the deep things of life and faith and what our dreams for what God could do in our lives....
...and on August 5th, 2000 I walked down the aisle to marry the man that I had no doubt God had moved serious mountains to bring into my life. God's timing had been perfect and precise right down to the same two boats being in the same achorage on the same island....we honeymooned by sailing around a part of that very island!
I don't have our wedding photos scanned...this is one a friend put on facebook!
That woman hugging me? My second grade teacher!!!