Memory from 2015. (Actually from 1972, but I remembered it in 2015, and then, I found it today.)
A couple of weeks ago, Zoë suggested that we watch the movie “Signs” with Mel Gibson. I had seen it before, but it is fun for her to want to watch one with us so we agreed.
I say I had seen it before, but I remembered about as much as if I had only seen the previews. Something about the movie was stirring me on the inside. You know, that feeling you get when you see a movie that is so inspired, it touches you, and stays with you. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. I won’t ruin it for you. Suffice it to say, that I began to ruminate on small events in my life that had life-changing impact.
After my second year in college, I came home for the summer. My sister, Elaine, had just graduated, and I was looking through her Yearbook, hoping for an idea of someone that may be willing to date me. There were 600+ students in her graduating class, probably more than 300 girls. So, I began turning the pages, looking.
Now, I was not a “player” and, for me to have the courage to ask a girl out, I had to have a little encouragement first. So, I poured through the entire senior class pictures, and, when I got to the W’s, one photo grabbed me. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful hair. Wendy Wright was her name. I knew her a little. When I had worked at Safeway in Orchard Hills, she had gotten a job there in the snack bar. She was always friendly, her hamburgers tasted incredibly good, she knew how I liked my coffee, she had a boyfriend, I had a girlfriend.
As a matter of fact, my senior year, her locker was right next to my girlfriend’s locker, so we talked occasionally, mainly just chitchat. The idea of dating her just never came up.
But, that hair in the picture grabbed me!
I told my sister, “I looked through your Yearbook, and, of all the girls, I only found one I would like to date. Wendy Wright.”
I had pretty much given up on church at that point in my life, so, my family was active, and I stayed home. But my sister was in the youth group at our church.
The next Sunday, when my sister went to youth group, Wendy Wright walked in, a guest of Cathy Cooper. Now, she and Cathy were really just more acquaintances than close friends, but that Sunday, Cathy decided to ask Wendy to go to youth group with her. Wendy had always had a boyfriend, and her free time was always with him, but she had just broken up with him, and decided to go.
Elaine saw her, and said, “Wendy! Hi! Randy was just talking about you the other day!”
Wendy smiled politely and said, “Oh, how is he doing? Tell him to call me sometime.”
Elaine passed on the message.
So, in true stalker fashion, I learned where she lived, and began to drive by as often as I could, usually on my way to work. I had had to cut my long hair in order to take a job on the night crew at Kraft Foods, where my mom worked during the day. Anyway, I was just hoping for a glimpse of the this girl. Instead, every time I drove by, there were 8-10 kids playing in the driveway. I remember thinking, “Oh great, she has a ton of brothers and sisters.”
One day, I mustered the courage to stop, and I walked to the door, rang the bell. A woman answered ( I thought she may have been an older sister (did you catch my compliment, MaryJane?)) but she was not smiling, she had a black beehive hairdo, and she seemed a little mean.
“Uh, is Wendy home?”
“No, she is at modeling class. Who are you?” Still seemed mean.
“Uh, just tell her, Randy Epps came by.” And I practically ran to the car to get away.
When Wendy got home, her mom said, “Some boy came by today.”
“I don’t know, Randy something.” ( they were kinda having the typical mom/18 yr old daughter war)
“Epps? Randy Epps?”
“Yeah, that might be it.”
I found the nerve to call. She was wonderful! We talked for four hours. That is when phones were plugged into the wall.
She asked me to come see her, so I went a couple of hours before I had to go to work. I worked from 10:00 PM to 7:00 am. When she opened the door, I was a little shocked. (A lot)
She said, “You cut your hair!”
She stood in front of me, and she had one of those Twiggy short short haircuts.
I said, “Yeah, you did, too.”
We talked again for a couple of hours, then, at 9:30, I told her I had to go to work. (she told me later, she thought I was just making that up to get away, because I hadn’t told her what my job was.)
So, my point.
Our lives are made up of countless small, seeming inconsequential events, that have to be ordered in some way. God has a plan for us. He gives us countless opportunities to come along for the ride, but he doesn’t force us to do things His way. But he is always moving the pieces around.
By the way, Wendy and I were married four months later.
God knew me, knew I needed her.
Five years later, her mom finally decided that maybe I was okay.