"Should've Been A Cowboy"

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Best Weekend In Austin, Ever

this past weekend i visited my friend natalie in the city she now calls home, austin. before this past weekend i didn't know natalie all that well. we had briefly met at an MOL party a while back and have kept in touch via blog comments, emails, and myspace on an occasional basis.

back in january i invited her to come up to dallas and go to a mavs game with me in february. initially she was excited about it, but then had to decline my offer due to a starting a new relationship with a guy in austin. i told her that i wasn't inviting her to the game to put the moves on her, but she stuck to her guns, and told me that she wouldn't drive that far to be just friends with a guy. i always thought natalie was attractive, but i never had considered a "more than friends" relationship with her due to her living 220 miles away from me. it was at that time that i decided to question my position on LDRs (long distant relationships). i thought to myself....i'd be willing to try it. heck, if it wasn't for my grandparents giving it a whirl i wouldn't be here.

a could of months later i noticed that natalie's myspace profile said she was single, as opposed to the previous status of in a relationship. i figure what the heck, i'll see if she would like me to visit her. a couple of emails later i had a weekend set aside to go to austin. i was excited, and i don't get excited very often.

finally the weekend came. i woke up at 5:00am and prepared for my early morning drive to austin. i planned on leaving around 6:30am so that we could have breakfast together that saturday morning. i left my parking space around 6:40. being the type of guy that i am i was slightly bothered by my late departure, but quickly got over it because i was fired up about visiting natalie. i was so fired up that i almost forgot my clothes as a walked out my apartment door.

after driving the speed limit for two hours i noticed that i had only an hour to travel the remaining 90 miles if i was to make it to natalie's house at 9:30 like i said i would. it was at this time that i decided to dismiss the posted law and make my own. for the next 80 miles i drove 80-85 mph, and subsequently made it to natalie's only 15 minutes late. not quite the norm for me, but i knew everything would be okay.

we ate breakfast at a cool tex-mex restaurant in downtown austin, the name of which i can't recall, but i must say that it was delicious! after eating breakfast i did what any man should do and that is offer to pay for both of our meals, but natalie would have none of that. she told me that i drove a long way to see her and she would pay for my meals. though i felt awkward, i humbly accepted her offer. i mean really, when is it a good idea to argue with a woman? if you're a man, never, but for some reason we slip up from time to time and do it anyways?!

after breakfast we proceeded to walk to the art festival that natalie had scored passes to just a couple weeks before. we walked around enjoying the art while having small conversations. i had a chance to meet one of natalie's good friends lane, who ended up being an influence into natalie's biggest art purchase ever! which, i must add, she is very excited about. after leaving the art festival we decided to go for a walk at a creek near her home. 2 1/2 hours of great conversation later we were a few miles from her home and our cars. so we decided to walk to whole foods and eat lunch there. following our lunch at whole foods we agreed that we didn't have time to walk over 2 hours back to her place and instead walked just a bit further back downtown to the art festival so that we could get lane to give us a ride home. two hours later, after helping close up shop and talking with more of natalie's friends we got our ride home. at which time i went to check into my hotel and take a shower before going to watch another friend of natalie's play music at a local coffee shop.

i get to my hotel just ten minutes away from natalie's home and check-in. everything seems to be going smooth until i get up to my room. which appears to have never been cleaned by house keeping. i proceed back down to the lobby and inform the attendant of the situation. he appeared to be perplexed by this problem and looked very lost until his manager walked up to see what was going on. a few minutes later i had a key to another room that ended up being clean.

that show at that coffee shop went well and i was able to meet some more of natalie's friends. i don't know if you've notice a trend yet, but she has a lot of friends. if you met natalie in person you would understand why. anyway, following the performance we sat and talked with friends for a bit before ducking out to grab a bite to eat on the way home, which, of course, she paid for. after natalie dropped me off at my car i headed to my hotel just minutes away. i arrived at the hotel high as a kite! this euphoric state was not caused by drugs or alcohol mind you. it was caused by a woman! that's right, i was high on natalie.

the next morning i was to meet back at natalie's for breakfast around 9:30. i woke up at 7:30, took a shower, got dressed, packed my belongings, and checked out of the hotel around 8:30. why so early you ask? i had a plan i wanted to give natalie a thank you card before i left that afternoon, but i knew i wouldn't have time during the day to get one and write in it. thus, i drove to the HEB near her home, picked out a card, and started gathering my thought on a small note pad that i keep in my car. basically what i wrote was that i was enamored by the beauty of her soul, but not in those exact words because i wasn't sure how to spell enamored. so i found other words to express my thoughts. at 9:25 i had just finished re-writing all my collected thoughts inside the card, and proceeded to drive the remaining two minutes to natalie's home.

when i walked into the house natalie was cooking me the best pancakes i have ever eaten. they were apple flavored whole wheat pancakes with bananas cooked in them, and man where they delicious! post breakfast we drove to her church, an episcopalian church, located in downtown austin. i had never been to an episcopalian church before. only after experiencing the service can i tell you that it was similar to a catholic church in practice, only better. i really did enjoy my time there that morning, and thoroughly enjoyed meeting a priest, david, that natalie really looks up too.

after the service natalie and i at lunch with more of her friends at a nearby tex-mex restuarant. it was at this time that i noticed that she has a lot of older friends. natalie is a fresh 23 years of age, or at least she will be in a few days, but most of the friends that i'd met had been over 30 years of age. this alone says a lot about her maturity. post-lunch we made out way back to the church where we were going to help feed the homeless, something natalie is very passionate about and helps out with at least three sundays out of every month. we went in thinking we were going to be a part of a normal group of 10 to 15 people preparing for the meal that would feed 85 of austin's homeless. little did we know we would be the only two present that day to prepare the food.

natalie seemed a bit stressed, but she kept her cool and to our credit we successfully prepared and served food for 85 people! i truly love helping people and i felt blessed to be a part of feeding the homeless that day, and to be put at a place and time where God knew i'd be needed. i know natalie appreciated me being there. especially when you consider the fact that without me she would have been hurting for some help. when we were done cleaning up the mess we had made it was time for me to head out of town. i walked with natalie to her car in the parking garage. we said our good-bye and gave one another a friendly hug. little did she know that while she was off to play volleyball i would be on a secret mission to deliver a thank you card to her house.

that night i couldn't get her out of my head. i had met one of the most amazing women i'd ever met in my life. she might be physically beautiful, but her physical beauty is dull next to the beauty of her soul. she had unknowingly broke through a barrier that i put up a long time ago. some seven years ago now. a barrier that only one other woman has broken through since. that night i went to sleep with thoughts of natalie racing through my mind and the next morning i awoke to the same thing. what had this girl done to me? what was i to do about it? i knew she had expressed interest in being more than friends a few months back, but during my visit she showed no signs of this possible attraction. as far as i could tell she only wanted to be my friend. knowing this i wouldn't let myself float away on cloud nine. while one hand held onto cloud nine the other was clinging to a rope tied to the ground, leaving me dangling in mid air.

that night i had to call her. i had to find out for sure that there was nothing more between us than a friendship. i picked up the phone and made the call. i felt like a teenage boy calling a girl to ask her out, as i expected and partially hoped, i was directed to her voicemail. i left a message and told her that i needed help with a dilemma i was having. later that night she called me back, and i, with all the boldness i had in me, asked her the question. which should i let go of? the cloud or the rope. sadly, but not unexpected, her answer was the rope. normally, with most any other girl, i would be fearful of messing up the friendship too by revealing such feelings, but that day i felt reassured. reassured by my knowledge of natalie's maturity beyond her years. i knew she would understand that i have the maturity not to chase her around like a hormone crazed teenage boy, and she wouldn't ignore me like a teenage girl.

one could look at my past weekend as a love story with a sad ending. a story where the good guy didn’t' get the girl, but that isn't how i see it. the way i see, i found a new friend. a friend with a beautiful soul. a friend that will aid me in my walk with Christ. a friend that most anyone else would trade one of their eyes for. that is why this past weekend was my best weekend in austin, ever.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Doin' Alright

it has been two weeks since my mom died, and i'm doing alright. i give a lot of credit to God, and the countless prayers of family and friends. for i strongly believe in the power of both.

to a degree the thought of her being dead is still surreal to me. i live in texas and she lived in oregon. it isn't as if we could see each other often. a large part of our relationship over the past few years has been by telephone. we would talk on the telephone once or twice a month and it hasn't been quite a month since we last spoke. thus, my life hasn't changed much to this point.

i don't wake up every morning in an empty bed that had been occupied by two, or sit down for dinner with her as i did as a child. i'm only saddened when i think about not being able to talk to her anymore, visit her from time to time, or share special moments that she looked forward to experiencing. moments such as attending my wedding, or holding a grandchild. i believe it will be during those moments that i will be impacted the most.

right now all that has happened is that i've been told something is gone. i have yet to truly experience it. as i sit and type this post tears run down my face. tears caused only by the thought of my mom being gone, but i know the day will come when i flip open my phone to call her, or i'll want to visit her and i'll realize that can never happen. though those moments will bring sorrow it will not last forever. i think it is okay to think about the past, and laugh and cry because of it, but we must live in the present and for the future that God has in store for us.

my mom impacted mine and many other’s lives in an immense way, and it is our job to do the same. the greatest joy one can experience is being the source of another’s joy, and that is what i strive to do on a daily basis.