Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.Genesis 32:24 (NRSCVE)
Chapter 1 – The Timid Wrestler
On their first date, David was like a stone. He was nervous, you had to give him that. Five years of the book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” will do that to a man.
Hannah knew pretty quickly he was not her type. Through high school and college the guys she dated fit nicely into the wild, stupid, and fun categories. David mostly sat quietly, and when he spoke, it revolved around some topic in the Bible. She was fine with religion, but goodness, not that much.
Still, she went on a couple more dates with him. She’d been with enough guys to know first impressions are not everything. And after another and then another, his steady and attentive eyes, his soft voice, and yes, even his listening silence began to wear her down. It didn’t hurt that he would open the car door for her which, according to her mother, she should have taken offense at. “Like you can’t open your own damn door!” her mother would say, mumbling something after that about the patriarchy while sipping her Merlot.
Before long, Hannah found herself telling him way too much. Bit by bit, she wondered if wild, stupid and fun were really what she wanted.
But to be fair, there was something wild about David, and it was his faith. The guy went entirely beyond the boundaries of a normal, private interest in God to an almost fanatical obsession with him. He believed the whole Catholic thing: church every Sunday, refusing to hold her hand, saying “Let’s pray about this” whenever she told him about some knot in her life and referring to Mary as “Our Lady”. The only other time she heard that was when friend Alejandra was making fun of her grandparents.
Whether she wanted it or not, though, his faith began igniting her own. She remembered going to Mass when she slept over at Alejandra’s home in elementary school. Sure, she wasn’t crazy about religion, but her memories were warm ones – the light coming through the stained glass, the smell of the incense, the congregation singing and chanting like one great being. When she visited again with David, it all came flooding back.
A year later, he did what she somehow could never imagine happening. He proposed to her. Hannah was never one to see beyond the current week, and here was her boyfriend asking her if she could see herself spending the rest of her life with him!
She knew, theoretically that this had to happen. This relationship was going somewhere or it wasn’t. It certainly was not fair to string him along if she could not stomach joining him where he was. But was she ready for this? Could she say to him, “Your people will be my people, your God will be my God”? David’s smile faded a bit when she didn’t say yes but didn’t say no.
She knew she had to talk to someone first. So on a bright spring afternoon, she sat on a bench at Wiggin Park and waited for him. They would sort this out one on one.
When he came, he stood standing in the sun for a moment.
“Hello Hannah,” he said.
“Hello, God,” said Hannah.
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