Love: A Story {part 1}

First off, I just have to thank everyone who reached out to me after my lame post yesterday.  I feel so silly that I published that when I was so emotional.  I should have let my spirit settle down before deciding to post that.  But it has helped me let people help me, which I’m not that great at.  So thank you all so much for extending your love and concern to me.  I really feel much better today.
Second off: HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!  I must say that Valentine’s Day is by far my favorite holiday.  I just love sending little Valentines to those closest to me, and making little treats for neighbors and co-workers.  I just think it is the most adorable holiday!  And I am having so much fun preparing for tonight, but I don’t want to spill the beans on this blog and spoil the fun surprises for John.  Let’s just say, though, that we have gone with the “not spending any money on Valentine’s Day” budget, so all of my presents are homemade and probably more meaningful than they could have been if I had purchased them. I’m so excited!
Third off: In leu of Love Day, I am going to be posting John’s and my love story in several installments, the first being today!  Tune back in over the next few days to get the whole thing.  This is actually an excerpt from my journal {an 11 page, typed entry..} that I’ll be breaking up into parts.  So friends, here is part 1:
“Life.  It can be so funny sometimes.  Little did I know what Heavenly Father had in store for me when I went on that first date with John H.  Turns out John did, in fact, surprise me.  And his love and compassion continue to surprise me, because it feels new every day.  That date on July 23 was the best date of my life.  To be honest, I had no expectation for it before he came to pick me up.  I was just grateful someone kind had asked me out. 
Wait…I need to start at the beginning.
            The 24th ward has been so good to me.   I have met some incredible people there and have had amazing opportunities to grow spiritually and socially, as a leader and a follower.  One of those incredible people I met was E.  We tried to date for a while but it didn’t seem to fit.  Thanks to E., though, I remembered who I am and how much I have to offer someone.  He helped me in ways I could never describe.  We are still dear friends to this day and I hope to be throughout my life.  But it was probably because of E.–and past baggage that I wasn’t ready to let go–that I never really noticed John.  My mind and my heart were preoccupied, plus I don’t think the timing would have worked until I was ready to let that previously mentioned baggage go.   I do remember one encounter with John, though, that’s worth mentioning.  Just because it’s so cute.  I was driving to school earlier this year and found myself on Foothill Boulevard.  My car was in the shop for one reason or another so I was sporting the yellow caddie.  As I was driving on Foothill I noticed John H. in the car next to me, belting some song at the top of his lungs. (I later discovered that it was Bon Jovi.)  I knew him from the ward and thought it was so cute that he was clearly so into his music. I caught his attention and when he realized it was me, he just cracked up for being caught in his moment of passion.  We laughed at each other from across the two lanes and went on our way.  Later that day when I’d returned to my car after classes I discovered a wee note on my windshield—from John H.  He had looked for my car in the parking lot so that he could leave a note on it, saying how cool he thought it was that I drive a yellow Cadillac.  I thought that was so nice and cute of him, so I kept the note in my wallet, planning to put it in my journal.  I also specifically remember thinking to myself, “Could I like John?” but nothing ever came from it.  I now feel it was because the timing wasn’t quite right. 
             Heavenly Father was still seasoning me to be ready for John.  And it turns out that He was seasoning John, too, to be ready for me. 
This is worth mentioning too—one Sunday at church I remember John tried to talk to me in the hall between classes, but I was hurrying somewhere.  As we passed in the hall he said, “Jessi, I love your hair like that.  It looks so pretty.”  I just grabbed his elbow and replied, “Thanks, John, you are so nice.”  As I walked away I thought to myself, “Oh, cute, he has a crush on me.”  But I didn’t think much more about it.
Time passed and I was getting worried that I wasn’t over the whole B. situation when I should have been.  I went to counseling, I ran away to South America, I tried to date E., I tried to date other guys, I tried to figure out what I wanted and what my type of guy was.  I felt that I was making a lot of progress in healing, but I still felt very vulnerable.  Then I found out B. was dating someone and I hit the bottom of my barrel again.  Not because I wanted him back—heck to the no.  I just couldn’t see the justice in it all.  Why was it that he got to be with someone so soon after he ripped my heart out?  He didn’t care that he had put me through so much pain.  He was supposed to be miserable for the rest of his life for putting me through all of that.  That would have been justice.  But he just skipped along through life and found someone new so easily, like I’d never been a part of his story.  It was hard for me to not think about it–to not think about him and her–all the time.  I was spiraling downward again.  I just couldn’t get him out of my head. 
For about a week it was like that.  I found out on a Thursday, I think, and that next Sunday was when John asked me out.  I remember thinking again, “Oh cute, he has a big crush on me.”  I also thought, “He is so nice, this is perfect timing.  I just want to go on a date with a nice boy who thinks I’m neat and who can get my mind somewhere else.  John H. is the man for that.”
I want to tell you how it all came about, though.  So that Sunday at church I was really down.  I had to teach Sunday school, too, and was completely flustered and ornery.  After Sacrament Meeting I went to find out what room I was supposed to teach in and ran into John in the hall.  He asked if I was teaching and said he didn’t want to miss my lesson.  I told him I was but that I didn’t know what room I would be in.   He ended up following me around until I figured out where I was supposed to be, and then he sat pretty close to front and center.  I struggled the whole lesson, but was so grateful for John because he kept making amazing comments and really helped my lesson come together.  He came up to me after and gave me some extremely genuine compliments, so I wasn’t surprised when he called me that night to ask me out for the following Thursday.  After the call, I realized that we were going to have a wee party for Joshy that night because it was his birthday, July 23rd.   I ended up calling John back to see if it would be okay if we rescheduled, but when it started ringing I snapped the phone shut without even thinking about it, and then felt a deep impression that I needed to go on this date with John.  I didn’t know why I felt like that, but I can see the beauty of it all now. 
I still felt lousy about the whole B. situation though.  But then– it happened.  And just in time. Little did I know how surprised I would be, or how good the timing really was.  John and I went out the very night of the morning I had this epiphany.  Had we gone out even the night before, it would not have been the same.  I still would have been bitter and angry that B. had forced me back into the dating scene.  I wouldn’t have been as sincere with John, or as interested in getting to know him.  I remember telling my mom that morning that it was time to forgive because it was holding me back from being in a relationship.  So as soon as my heart softened I was ready to let someone else in.  And then Heavenly Father punched me in the face with John H. {in a good way!}.  It really makes me laugh out loud to think of how Heavenly Father was just waiting for me to be ready to receive the choicest blessings He had in store for me.   Everything about this situation testifies of His love for me and for John.  Everything about it is nothing short of miraculous, as melodramatic as that may sound.  But it’s true.  It is so true.” 
Our second date, to Butler Days July 24, 2009–yes that is the the hairstyle that John thought
was so pretty, so of course I wore it when I realized I liked him:)
Tune in tomorrow for part 2!