When I first met Frank Hawley, we were both sophomores on the campus of what is now, Southeastern University.
I walked into the chapel to rehearse for the upcoming Christmas musical which would combine multiple singing groups. Frank sat on the front row. He had both arms stretched out and draped casually over the back of his bench.
On his left sat a giggling little brunette. And on his right sat an adoring blonde. The silly girls hung on his every word. Laughing a bit too loudly at each slightly funny thing the handsome ministry student said.
I was appalled!
Turning to my friend, I spat out these words - "What a flirt! That's exactly the kind of guy I would NEVER date!"
Ummm.........anyone ever hear the phrase, "Never say never!"????
Fast forward one year.
Friends had urged Frank to ask me out. The same friends had urged me to say yes.
We started dating in October. And just twelve months after my sarcastic statement, I was the giggling brunette sitting beside the handsome ministry student. (One major change - the blonde was GONE!)
Dating in a college environment gives you the chance to observe potential spouses in many different situations. How do they handle pressure? Are they hard workers? What are their financial habits? Are they consistent; honest? What's their spiritual life like? Are they good with people? Respectful of elders? Respected by peers?
Answers to all these questions helped to define the Man of My Dreams.
On one of our dates, Frank and I were confined to the middle of a long, slow, sweltering line of people. In front of us, an exasperated mom struggled with an exhausted baby boy of about 18 months. The little guy screamed miserably.
(Remember this was 35 years ago.) Frank tapped the mom on the shoulder and asked, "Could I hold him for you?"
The mom never even hesitated. "YES!"
Frank took the little one and started bouncing and singing softly; oblivious to everyone else around. Within less than ten minutes he returned the baby - now sleeping peacefully - to the grateful mom.
"Note To Self!! One more example of the kind of guy a girl dreams of!"
Fast forward twelve more months and we're standing at an altar in Pensacola, FL. My heart knew that he truly was the man of my dreams! What a glorious day of celebration; launching our life together as husband and wife!
But eventually, everyone wakes up from dreams, right? Life happens! Sometimes in very large doses!
Bills. Disappointment. Lost jobs. Premature babies. Sickness. Set backs. Failure. Deaths.
Fast forward thirty-four years - today is another birthday in the life of Frank Hawley.
I probably should say, "Happy Birthday to the Man of My Dreams." But I'm too honest for that. I just can't! You may be shocked by my admission. And I certainly don't mean to sound unappreciative or disrespectful.
But all this water under the bridge has highlighted that Frank wasn't really the man of my dreams..........
He's the Man who has Exceeded My Every Dream!
Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!