Nathan and I met shortly after he moved to Denver from his hometown in Idaho. I was heading up our parish’s Young Adult Softball team and we needed more guys before tournament weekend, so he and his brother-in-law signed up for our fledgling little team. Maybe it was an answer to prayer? Nathan really hit it off with some of my friends who were also on my core team for the youth group I ran, and they asked him to join our core group of Young Adults. Join he did, which was the answer to prayer #2, because we really needed some male core members for our youth group.
Over the next few months, he got closer with the three girls that I lived with. He was always stopping by the house, driving them around, taking them swing dancing and snow boarding. He came to our house’s epic ping pong tournaments and game nights. But through all this, I kept my distance. I was the leader of the core team he was on and he seemed to act weird around me anyway. I figured he thought I was either overwhelming or annoying.
Then one night over Christmas break, he had gone back to Idaho and we happened to be on Facebook at the same time. I started a chat and he pretended to not know who I was. “Allison who?” he wrote. I was confused and frustrated, but he finally told me he was kidding. As we chatted, I found out that he thinks “there should be more Allison’s in the world.” Well, if anything, that was my proof he didn’t think I was annoying!
That winter, one fateful Thursday I was supposed to have jury duty but my number wasn’t called. So instead, I went skiing with a group of friends. Four of us loaded our gear into Nathan’s truck and he drove us to Copper Mountain. Nate seemed uncomfortable as John was blaring Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” from the passenger’s seat the whole drive there.
Now, I am not a skier, but I recall feeling safe and protected with Nathan at the wheel, driving us up the mountain. He helped me rent my gear and navigate us on the mountain. At the end of the day, just he and I took the free bus to return my skis and sitting next to each other on the bus, that feeling of security again washed over me. I felt he was taking care of me and I liked it. I playfully threw a snowball at him signaling my level of comfort, which surprised him, since I had previously been so standoffish towards him. Each winter as I look back fondly on that day, I recall the day I fell in love, and the answer to prayer #3 to find my spouse.
For me, that was it: I had to find someone who I could follow. My younger years were full of a choleric disposition, leading the way with my own ideas. Years of bullying had led me to distrust men, and I was finally in a place that I was learning to trust and follow in the Lord. Nathan was a constant yet gentle presence. He was there for months, jumping in on our house activities but never pressuring me for company or conversation. I felt could trust him. I learned I could let him lead, allowing him to take care of me instead of insisting I do everything myself.
Finally I had let down my walls. I allowed him to love me and I gave him my love in return. “Love is to want the good of another,” wrote St. Thomas Aquinas. Nathan and I are on a lifelong journey now – a covenantal vocation – to serve each other and help each other to be the best we can be.
In the end, Nathan got what he wanted: more Allison’s in the world. According to my mother, if you want to know what I was like as a kid, just look at our daughter Lily.