Although Mike and I attended the same church since childhood we lived in parallel worlds. We grew up in the same youth group, hung out with people from the same circles, and yet managed not to say more than a few words in passing to each other until my senior year of high school. It’s an oddity I may never understand, but we each have memories of certain shared moments in time with ironically no memory of the other being there.
My earliest and clearest memory of Mike happened the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school. Mike was getting ready to leave for a year of Masters Commission (a type of ministry trade school) and spoke to our youth group on one of the last nights he was in town. What I remember most as I listened to him preach was a thought that flitted through my mind.
“I want to marry someone just like Mike Trevino someday.”
A peculiar thought, especially given my previous comments, but one that clearly held more gravity in my life than I could possibly understand at fifteen.
It wasn’t until the summer before my senior year of high school, when Mike returned from his second year of training at Masters, that our separate lives met. Mike came back home to be a volunteer youth leader at our church. Throughout my entire senior year I watched him, admired him, and without even realizing it myself, began feeling deep feelings for him. No one else knew, and because I was fairly certain the feelings weren’t mutual, I intended to keep it that way.
Mike became the interim youth pastor after I graduated from high school. He was fast becoming one of my closest friends, but I was earnestly hoping he might notice me as something more. I was aware he had a girlfriend, but I also knew it was long-distance, and I had something she didn’t have – face to face time with Mike on a regular basis.
I showed up for every event he planned with the youth. I stuck around the church for as long as I could, whenever I could, volunteering for anything he might be working on. When he offered rides, I accepted. I signed up to take notes for his youth leader meetings – not because I am particularly fond of administrative tasks – but because I wanted any excuse I could have to be near him, hoping someday he would wake up to notice the girl sitting next to him.
There were days I expected my efforts would go unnoticed, unacknowledged and generally un-returned indefinitely – but I always hoped it might turn out differently.
Then one day I had a conversation with my Pastor that changed everything.