The Blind Gift

It was the Spring of my last semester at Baylor. I was ready to move on with life and head to Kentucky to be a grown up. I was still active in my sorority and being a senior, I was present in body but hardly engaged. We had our annual pledge dance scheduled for February 15th and while I planned to attend, I was not in a rush to find a date. I was just fine winning the costume contest all by myself. I had recently turned over my officer position to a precious sophomore and because of the transition, we spent many hours together. During that time she told me that she had a “tall friend” that I needed to meet. To a girl that is 6′, this is music to your ears.

Our mutual friend arranged for us to go to the dance on Saturday, February 15th. He was a sophomore at Texas A&M in College Station which is about 90 miles from Waco. When we talked on the phone about arrangements, he hesitantly asked if I had plans for Friday night. It was Valentine’s Day. To hear him tell this story, you would be belly laughing because he points out this could have gone south. Fast. One, who goes on a FIRST date on Valentine’s? Two, if she had no plans on Valentine’s perhaps there was a reason. Romanic, this guy…

We decided he would come to Waco on Friday night and we would have dinner at my apartment the night before the party. I was nervous. I am not a cook. I am not cook. Oh, did I mention I am not a cook? Why did I decide that cooking dinner for a blind date on Valentine’s was a good plan? I still question my decision making on this, but as the future would prove, he is always prepared for anything and ate “extra” before his arrival.

At this point in my life I has 3 NEVERs. I would never date a guy that drove an oversized truck. I would never date an athlete. And I would never, never ever, date an Aggie. This is where God lets out a big gigantic laugh. Rolling on the floor laugh. When the mystery man arrived, I could hear his truck a block away. The tires were so jacked up I needed a ladder to enter. His 6’4″ athletic build told me rule #2 was gone and the obnoxiously maroon sticker that obstructed the back window of said truck was the ultimate deal breaker. And, he had bad shoes. Really bad shoes.

This sounds like love at first sight, right?

If you know this blind date of mine from 21 years ago today, you know that it worked out. But he would affirm, and I would laugh with each story, that had we each set out on February 13, 1997 to describe the attributes and gifting of our future spouse, the picture would have been different. I would have coordination with a ball. Any ball. He would like glitter. And a few other things.

But on that night, 21 years ago, there was a look. There was moment that changed everything. Forever. Into my planned and singleminded world came this man (ok, he was pretty much a tall boy) with his own hopes and dreams and goals and hurts. And while we said we were not going to “get serious,” something happened on that blind date. The NEVERS in my life began to fade away in the face of a partner. Until that moment, I didn’t know what it meant to trust someone with my brokenness.

That’s what love is. Its not the cards or the roses or even the best gifts. It’s not the moments that take your breath away. Our love story is about two people that have very different gifts and wirings coming together to form a one-of-a-kind force that enters into brokenness and says we will fight for each other no matter the darkness that comes our way.

I can assure you that if we knew all those years ago that hair and trucks would be NOTHING in the face of the life we would live, our naive selves may have balked. But we have now been a team longer than we were individuals, and I can assure you that Lucas Hilbrich was nothing that I asked for and everything I needed in my life.

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