I was introduced to my husband-to-be, Zane, in June 2014. If you had told me then that I would marry this man, I probably would said something like, “HAHAHAHA!!!! Good one!” or “Yeah, okay!” (said VERY sarcastically) or at the very least, given you a really strange look.
Zane and I met at the Christian Retreat Center and he quickly became my absolute favorite counselor. I loved being around him and I always saved his hugs for last when it came time to go home that week or at the end of the summer. I just adored him. He was a lovable teddy bear, but I never thought of him as anything more than a friend. Just to paint a picture: he had hair all the way down to the middle of his back and a beard that almost touched his chest. Not something I was super attracted to. Besides, I was dating somebody else at the time and I was convinced that I would marry this guy. So why would I think of dating anyone else when I’m not even available?
The following summer, Zane and I became even closer than the year before. I wouldn’t say we were inseparable, but we were around each other a lot. This particular summer followed three months after that guy and I broke up and I was still hurting. Yet again, I was unavailable–I was mourning the loss of this 3-year-long relationship. Dating was the LAST thing I wanted.
However, for some reason Zane made it easy to get this guy off my mind. He always had this way of making me feel like the most important person in the room; whether by teasing me (which was the most common way), hugging me after all the teasing and saying, “Emily, you know I love you”, or just randomly coming beside me and putting his arm around my shoulder –sometimes followed by a tight squeeze. When in the same room, I would often end up in the same circle of conversation as him. Looking back on it, I can see that I was drawn to him. I just didn’t see it at the time.
He and I never kept in contact very well, but I would follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat just like I did any other person. Last summer, my friends Emme and Jen were going to CRC during their staff training week to visit. I took that opportunity to visit as well. I couldn’t think of anything better than visiting with two of my favorite people at my favorite place on the planet. Though, thinking back on it, Zane was the real reason why I went. I just had to see him. I missed him!
I headed over as soon as I got off work and rushed to get there. I was so excited because nobody except for Emme, Jen, and the Program Director, Zach, knew I was coming. When I arrived, I excitedly walked into the Upper Room to find it…. empty–all except for Emme and Jen. Which was strange because they were supposed to be having their “concert of prayer” and that has always been in the Upper Room. I asked Emme and Jen where everyone was and they said that Zach had made some changes and they are having the concert of prayer in the TIMS pavilion now. Which was across the camp, half way up the ridge. We didn’t want to interrupt at the start of it, so we waited a while and caught each other up on our lives in the meantime.
I asked Jen how things were going with her and her boyfriend and jokingly followed along the same path with Emme; asking if she had anyone special in her life. She surprised me with her response of, “yeah I’m dating someone now.” She then followed on that same wave length and asked if I was seeing anyone. I let loose about my frustration with dating and said that I was done with it. “When God sees fit to bring a man my way, He’ll make it known that this guy is the one.”
It was starting to get dark and nobody had come back yet so the three of us ventured over and up to the pavilion. On the way there, Emme and Jen felt they needed to tell me that somebody here had a “thing” for me. I could feel my heart start to race and not in a good way. I was very irritated to hear this. I had just decided that I was done with dating and here this guy is having a “thing” for me. How dare he! (I was a little irrational.) I had no desire to date anyone for a long while. I was quite content with being single. I begrudgingly asked who this guy was. Can you guess? Yep, Zane. I felt a surge of immediate relief. I knew for a long while that Zane had a crush on me and I loved this guy–how could I be mad at him for liking me?
We made our way across camp to the pavilion, listening to the worship music being played along the way. We quietly walked in and, me being me, I started singing along. I love to sing harmony so that’s what I sang. While singing, I began looking for him. Where is Zane?
After a moment, I saw him. He had his head down on the picnic table at the other end of the pavilion. A minute or two later, the music began to grow louder so I sang louder to match the volume. **POP** his head shoots up and he starts looking all around as if he’s looking for something.
I stopped singing for a moment to watch what he was doing but he must have found what he was looking for because he put his head back on the table. I resumed singing and **POP** his head shot up again and he had an almost confused look on his face. He was looking around again for something. Like last time, I watched him as he looked all around, except this time I continued to sing. He kept looking until **ZING** our eyes made contact. His mouth shot into a huge smile and he waved very excitedly. It took me a few minutes to realize that he had been looking for me. Somehow he heard my voice and knew it was mine. He was searching to find the body matching the voice.
That was the moment, folks. That was the moment I fell in love with him. I just didn’t know it at the time.
So, was it love at first sight? Technically…. no, it wasn’t. I had seen him and known him for 2 years before that day. However, the moment I saw his head pop up I fell for him. So in a way, yes it was love at first sight. Just not the way you or I may have imagined it.
I can’t think of exactly why I’m telling this story except for that fact that I’m getting married in 10 DAYS!!! And because I think it’s a cute story. Though I may be a little biased.
Emily Smith is now married to Zane and they are celebrating their first child. Brenda was the speaker on this “magical” night. She knew Zane’s side of things. And then she knew Emily’s. Brenda continues to be a part of their “things.”