When I transferred from Azusa Pacific to Point Loma Nazarene in January of 2009, I knew it would be the true test of Jacob’s and my relationship. We had been in somewhat of a “honeymoon” phase because being two hours apart for the first 6 months of our relationship gave us enough distance to miss one another, but it wasn’t impossible to stay connected. Every time we saw one another, we were doing something unique and fun or Jacob was taking me on a surprise adventure. It was such an amazing way to get to know each other, but we hadn’t truly done “real life” together. For the first few weeks I lived there, we tried to distance ourselves so that I could make new friends. After a month or so, we settled into a more comfortable, everyday life together. We had the perfect balance of time at work/school, time with other friends, and time with each other. The only issue we encountered was what to do with our time together. It wasn’t realistic to go on an adventure every single time we were together, but sitting on his couch watching TV wasn’t an option. It just wasn’t how we operated.
One night, Jacob called to see if I was coming over. I wanted to, but I also didn’t really want to just sit there, so I asked him what we were going to do. He thought for a while and then said, “I have an idea! Come over in 15.”
Oh goodie! An adventure! I thought.
“Oh, and bring your running shoes.”
My heart dropped. We’re going running?! Anyone who knows me knows running is not my forte. I just hate it. I have hated it since the day in 2nd grade my neighbor Vanesa tried to convince me it was a really fun activity. I specifically remember her suggesting one time (as a “fun” activity) that we run around the block. To me, she might as well have said, “I know! A game of ‘who can get bit by a rattlesnake first’ would be fun!” or, “Hey! Let’s make a fire and burn our Sky Dancers” (our most prized possessions). The bottom line was that I was definitely not going on a run.
All of these feelings came flooding back. Not only was I in even worse shape than I had been in 2nd grade, but I hadn’t run more than a quarter mile (which I usually only ran so I would have time to get a pastry before class)
since that horrendous class called PE. Once per semester, we had to run a mile in 10 minutes or less in order to pass the class. I was the one who came stumbling over the finish line at 9:56 and spent the remainder of the class dry heaving and questioning whether cardiac arrest was in my near future. (I’m not dramatic at all.) Despite my fear of embarrassing myself, I put on my running shorts (which I only owned for lounging), grabbed my running shoes, and headed to Jacob’s house.
The adrenaline of needing to impress Jacob helped me push through the first 3/4 of a mile and keep up with him, but as he jogged and I sprinted farther, I began to lose my breath. He was chatting up a storm and I could barely breathe much less speak. He noticed I was struggling, and in the sweetest way, said, “Ah! I need to walk. Do you mind?”
At that moment I knew. I knew I had found a man that would love me unconditionally (lack of physical ability and all). And I also knew that our first run together, would also be our last. :)
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