I’d like to close out our blogging year on a romantic note! ❤ As you may (or probably may not) know, Ivan and I got married on December 30th, 2015. I spent our first anniversary in the hospital, and Ivan spent our first anniversary moving us into a handicap-friendly apartment. We saw each other for less than an hour that day. Anniversary #2 was another bust since I was still recovering from yet another hospital stay. This year finds us 0 for 2 on romantic December 30th’s, but it’s looking like anniversary #3 might actually be a go!
In honor of this (hopefully) momentous occasion, I will grace y’all with the story of when Ivan asked me out for the first time and I said no.
It was a dark and stormy night…well, I think it was raining…maybe.
November 2013 was halfway through my second semester at CBU, and halfway through Ivan’s seventh. I’d “liked” him for most of the previous semester – as did a surprising number of other girls in the choir and orchestra where he and I both played. Since he never seemed to notice me playing violin in his line of vision every single concert, I decided he must not be the one for me. I mean, there were other cute, godly guys out there, right? Right??? Moving on maturely must not have been too appealing since I distinctly remember telling Mom two things that summer: 1) I would never date Ivan Utomo and 2) I would never find a boyfriend among the available selection at CBU. Bitter, much?
Anyway, skipping ahead to the afore-mentioned November 2013. Ivan had finally spotted me sitting across the piano…unbeknownst to me. I was preparing to solo with the orchestra at the fall concert, and I remember getting a couple of super nice texts saying how good I sounded in rehearsals. How Ivan had my number I did not know. I also did not bother to find out since I was so over my Ivan “thing.”
What I didn’t count on was him inviting me to go with him to the school play. I had invited a group of friends over for a game night a couple of weeks before (Mom had made me put him on the Facebook invite), and this play seemed like his super awkward way of trying to pay me back. I told him several times that he really didn’t have to, that hanging out was no big deal and I was glad if he’d had a good time, etc. He still bought the tickets. Now he was making me feel really awkward about the whole affair, and I remember one extraordinarily unfortunate episode where I tried to pay him for my ticket right before a choir rehearsal. Mercifully I didn’t realize that we’d attracted the attention of the entire choir, who proceeded to make bets about who would win and whether or not going to a play meant we were “together.”
Those who bet on Ivan won. I didn’t pay for my ticket.
The play fell on the day after my orchestra concert. I hadn’t devoted much time to thinking about it since I was focused on preparing for my performance…oh, and because I was so not going down that “liking Ivan” road again. Ivan (and God!) had other plans. Somehow he found me backstage a few minutes before the performance and invited me to dinner before the play the next day.
I said no.
The school dining center was too expensive. I didn’t have a meal plan. It was fine, thanks, I’d just catch him at the theatre. He blinked sheepishly before wandering off.
My only excuse for this heartless and/or extremely naive behavior is that I was trying to get “in the zone,” and he had just played some serious interference. Preparing for a major solo performance is a lot like preparing for a major sporting event. You need those last few minutes to focus, run through important parts of the music in your head, try to get into “character” for the mood of the piece. Walking up on someone just before they step on stage is NOT helping them out in any way. Hence my rebuttal. I was already in character, not allured by the idea of spending student worker wages to eat with a guy I was trying desperately not to be interested in again, and completely unaware that he had just upped our “friendly-get-together” status to “dinner-and-a-show” date status.
All of the above occurred to me after I finished my solo. I returned to play in the orchestra for the latter half of the concert, so I had a Beethoven symphony’s worth of time to wallow in remorse. What should I do??? I’d definitely hurt his feelings, and probably embarrassed him, too. No poor guy wants to be told “no” within earshot of people who would most certainly embellish his unfortunate moment in the retelling. But what should I do?? I decided apologizing was the torturous but probably called-for end to our encounter. I then prayed that God would show me some way to patch things up without tracking him down the same night (not a very selfless prayer, I admit).
Finding no alternative to the apology, I hunted for Ivan after the concert – and hoped he’d already gone home. As providence would have it, he had not gone home. Now it was my turn to look sheepish, but at least I had the presence of mind to steer us out of reach of prying eyes and ears before I began. “Umm…” I had never noticed that intricate gold pattern on the carpet before. ‘”Umm…I just wanted to say it was really nice of you to invite me to dinner.” The pattern was really fascinating. “Well, umm, I guess you’ve probably got other stuff to do before the show tomorrow, too, but…I guess I could meet you at the dining center if you’re still up for it.” This was the unfortunate moment where my eyes had to part ways with the pattern. Now it was his turn to say “No,” but he didn’t.
He smiled and said “Yes.”
That one “Yes” was just the beginning..
6 thoughts on “To Date or Not To Date?”
So sweet, Grace!! Thank you for sharing and for all the other posts you’ve sent. You have impacted me and the life of my family more than you would ever know! God is using you powerfully in our lives, and also the lives of so many other people! We love you, Grace, and Ivan as well! Even though we’ve never met, you are a wonderful gift and blessing from God to us and to His Kingdom! ❤️❤️❤️
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I loved hearing the story of your meeting Ivan. God had it all planned for you two to be together. I used to watch him playing as he was so focused on the director. He was a wonderful accompanist. I’m so happy he is such a caring and loving companion for you. He seems so patient. May the Lord continue to lead you as you make progress in your healing and recovery. I pray you have a wonderful Christmas and may He allow you to enjoy your day.
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Thanks so much for your ongoing love and support! Our whole family appreciates you both 🙂 As for Ivan and I, we look forward to win we will be able to see meet you in person!
Dear Grace and Ivan,
Thank you for telling your wonderful story! We are rooting for some special time for you guys this year. On that December 30 where you only spent one hour together, that was a very important hour, and a very important day. Cherish whichever day you get to celebrate together, whether it’s the 28th or the 31st or anything else. I am so glad God brought you two precious people together!
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Thank you for sharing and inspiring many people in your difficult season and to stay faithful. We will keep praying for you and Ivan to be strong and moving forward with God’s grace.
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We all know that life in Christ is not necessarily what we expected, but so much better than we deserve. Hoping your Anniversary was joyful and that you will come to know how much we love you both in Him who has redeemed us. (in E-flat)