Over the weekend, I agreed to go out to dinner with an Army Chaplain who is stationed at a fort near my city. When he initially asked me out, I threw up all kind of barriers, trying to make myself sound as undesirable as possible.
I am a wounded animal, desperately trying to give myself time to heal. I thrash about any time someone gets close, seeking to keep away potential suitors, but I am bleeding out in the process.
When Steve expressed his interest in me, I immediately told him about my emotional baggage and how I think maybe I’m due for a season of singleness. I made every effort to push him away and ensure his affection for me would subside.
“If you’re interested in me,” I told him, “Be my friend. Pray about us. I will have dinner with you, but I make no promises beyond that.” So Steve drove three hours to take me out to dinner.
I quickly discovered that Steve is sweet and kind, decisive and confident, perceptive and attentive. He has a great smile and deep laugh lines around his eyes. He loves to laugh. And listen. And encourage.
I let Steve hold my hand to pray over our dinner, and by the end of the evening, he had pulled me into his lap. He has a gentle spirit, and I found him likable and easy to trust – good character qualities for an Army Chaplain. “And for a boyfriend,” I thought absently.
Near the end of the evening, I got up from his lap and, at the same instant, we saw the blood on his khaki shorts. My blood. From my period. It had overflowed, running through my shorts and onto his. And I was absolutely mortified.
Alternating between stuttering apologies and hiding my face behind my hands, I felt a flush creep into my cheeks. With a hint of sardonic humor, I thought to myself, “Well, I don’t have to worry about trying to push him away anymore!”
But Steve didn’t react the way I expected. He sat calmly, looking up at me with surprise. “Why are you so upset? It’s okay. I’ve had blood on me before.” He’s been deployed to Afghanistan and has done medical training, too. “But it’s period blood,” I thought. “Guys freak out about that.”
But Steve didn’t freak out. In fact, he soothed and calmed me as I had a meltdown, living every girl’s worst nightmare. I hadn’t just bled through my shorts. I bled onto his shorts! Is there anything more horrifying?!
Ironically, we’d talked about “most embarrassing moments” earlier in the evening. After Steve reassured me over and over that he was honestly okay and not weirded out, I quipped, “Well, I guess now I have a new ‘most embarrassing moment’!” He laughed, and I had the pleasure of seeing those deep laugh lines crinkle the corners of his eyes again.
Steve continued to sit calmly on the couch – covered in my blood – while I went to clean myself up. He insisted that I use the bathroom first. Only after I was changed did Steve put on the baggy athletic shorts I offered him so that I could wash his khakis for him to wear home.
I was stunned by Steve’s poise and astounded by his kindness. Steve has a maturity and emotional fortitude I haven’t seen in many of the men I’ve dated. I still think I should consider taking some serious time away from dating, but now I know at least one Army Chaplain who is fervently praying for me to be whole, healed and ready to date again.