Julie was born in Portland before moving to Saudi Arabia when she was 2 ½. When she was four, she was so excited to use the restroom for the first time on her own. But there was no seat there, just a hole in the ground with a chain above it for flushing. She “went” and then she jumped up for the chain to flush. But she couldn’t reach it. She jumped again and landed in the toilet. Her foot was stuck and she had to call out for help. She thought to herself, “my parents will never let me go to the restroom by myself again!”
I met up with Julie for some frozen yogurt the other day. I was a little late so she had already finished hers.
I met Julie a few years ago on a trip to Africa. She was known as “joyful” Julie for her contagious personality. Julie’s full of stories. One time in 6th grade, she was having a girls sleepover. They were playing “skeletons in the closet.” Julie didn’t have any skeletons so she was nervous about what to say. So she told them that she didn’t have any because Jesus had taken them from the east to the west. All the girls thought this sounded much better than having skeletons so Julie and mom led all the girls to the Lord.
Julie is a beautiful, confident, fun woman. You can pretty much assume that her relationships with boys are smooth sailing. Right? …
One time, Julie dated a man in the mafia. The man’s mother offered Julie $10,000 to marry him. She didn’t take the offer. Julie dated another guy she met on-line. He was a good guy but before they met, he had left out the part that he was missing an arm and a leg. She also dated an OSU basketball player whom she met on myspace and after dating for two weeks, he asked her for $1000, she declined and never heard from him again. She tends to cope with these situations through retail therapy. For the big ones, she usually purchases a new car and one time, even a boat…which of course required her to also purchase a 7-passenger Pilot to haul around the boat that she didn’t even know how to use.
Julie says “Retail therapy helps me recover quicker back into everyday life. However, looking at my past there is no reason I should trust and love again except that I pray everyday that God will keep my heart soft and tear down any walls I have built up. That my heart wouldn’t harden and burst like aged wine in new skins. That the mistakes of man and myself wouldn’t keep me from being me and loving God. And it gets harder and harder the older I get.”
Sometimes things don’t seem to work as we plan. You try. You try again. Julie hasn’t given up though. She’s as joyful as always. Sometime, things will work out. And sometimes, you just accumulate more stories. For Julie, its been the latter.
Julie had attended the same church as this guy for a couple of years. They weren’t much more than acquaintances.
He walked up to her one day and said, “You know, I’ve always wanted to go out with you. You wanna go grab lunch?” Julie thought that sounded great. And so they headed out to lunch. He took her to a local cafeteria. Julie didn’t want to get anything to pricey so she ordered a $2 salad and a water. At the cash register, the lady at the counter asked her, “And how would you like to pay for this?” Julie turned to her date and he politely smiled and nodded while firmly gripping his own tray with no sign of reaching into his pockets. And he didn’t.
Two months go by. Julie hadn’t heard from him at all.
One Sunday, she is at church and talking with some friends. He runs up to and pulls her aside and says, “I have to talk to you.”
He goes on to say, “I think I’m gonna have to break it off between us.”
Julie walked away perplexed at having a guy break up with her that she didn’t even know she was dating.
He said he wanted to date someone in the 12 step program and that if she wasn’t in the program, it wasn’t going to work. Julie wasn’t interested in the guy but she did look up the 12 step program. “I at least wanted to know what I was getting “dumped” for.”
As we were walking away, Julie to her brand new car and me to my mine, I thanked her for sharing her stories and I apologized for not getting there soon enough to pay for her yogurt. She said, “Don’t worry about it. It was only $2.”