“There was the hottest guy on the shuttle bus today” she beamed as she returned home from her classes at the University of North Florida. “Aunt Judi, no, he was so hot!” “And, I think he smiled at me.” That was the beginning of what I felt to be Stephanie’s first and hopefully only true love.
It happened in the fall of her sophomore year. She was nineteen and beautiful, a former Osprey swimmer. She had injured her shoulder swimming for the high school team and was forced to have surgery the summer she entered college. Although she gave it every effort, she never returned to her optimum physical condition and thus, much to her college coaches’ dismay, reluctantly resigned from the team after her freshman year.
Dorm life was fine for a swimmer in her first year. But, certainly not “down” for a sophomore. Most of her friends were teaming up to lease apartments close to campus. However, Stephanie had what her parents felt was the perfect alternative. We, her Aunt and Uncle lived just fifteen minutes from campus. She had enjoyed several annual visits her whole life to our Victorian home just a bike ride from the Atlantic coast. Her cousins Louis and Lindsay were just a few years older and they too attended UNF. So, it was all quite comfortable. She had agreed to move in with the family.
The arrangement was working out very well. She had settled into her room and secured a job within walking distance of her new home. Stephanie typically has a sweet and gentle spirit and fit easily into the family routine. Tom and I agreed she was a pleasure to have in our home. School was going along well although she did miss competitive sports. She continued to socialize with her swim team buddies. This made her realize what she had given up. But, she was busy with her class schedule, homework and job so, she resigned to the fact that she would probably not be swimming again.
Stephanie had never shown serious interest in any particular fellow. She would do as most college kids today, “hang out” in groups, never actually having a serious date. This was certainly not because she wasn’t sought after. Several male athletes had shown attention, however she never found any of them to be more than just friends. Besides, she was waiting for that one special guy, the one who would remind her of her Father the one that God had chosen for her.
Could this be him, the boy on the shuttle bus? Could he be the man who would sweep her off her feet and ask her to elope to Hawaii where they would spend a week honeymooning as her older sister had? He certainly had all of the physical requirements she had dreamed about. He was extremely handsome with his chiseled square chin and long curly brown hair. Did he have a girlfriend? What was his name? Could his personality match his outward appearance? It was all very exciting. And, had he actually smiled at me?
Several days passed and “he” would usually be on the shuttle bus taking them both to the remote parking where their cars awaited them. They seemed to be on a similar schedule except for Tuesday and Wednesday mid morning, when Stephanie would notice he was not in his usual seat on the bus. Except, one Tuesday when she climbed up the step and made her way down the aisle, he was there! She sat in the seat next to him and said “hello”. He returned the salutation with a smile and explained his logistics class had been cancelled. Wow, he has brains too, Stephanie thought as she considered the difficult class he was taking. They chatted about nothing for the length of the ride and then said “goodbye” as they both went on their way.
“Aunt Jude, remember the boy I told you about on the shuttle bus?” as Stephanie rounded the corner into my bedroom. Well, he actually talked to me. His name is John and my friend Lonaka knows him. She said he is really nice. We talked on the shuttle bus and he asked for my phone number. Did you give it to him? She smiled in an impish sort of way and said coyly…”yes?” I could tell she was wondering what I thought of such a forward action. “Well good” I replied. “Maybe he will call.”
Well of course he called. In fact, Stephanie is now Mrs. John Genre. This spring after both Stephanie and John had graduated from UNF, they exchanged wedding vows on the beach in Fernandina. It was simple and lovely and very meaningful for them both.
God has a plan for each and every one of us. He places people in our paths but it is up to us to make the connection. Stephanie listened the morning she ran into John on the shuttle.
Thank you Lord!