5 defining moments

There's some meme going around the blogosphere right now that challenges folks to write about 5 defining moments in their lives.  I decided not to wait to be tagged.

1. Confirmation

I was confirmed in the Lutheran church around the age of 15.  I've always had a strong faith and felt comfortable discussing 'issues' that plague theologians without ever getting into doctrine.  Confirmation classes were my first exposure to 'we believe this' and 'we believe that' and I didn't have a very good reaction to it.  I had trouble with the idea of standing up in front of the church and confirming that I agreed with everything in the doctrine, so I made my speech more about confirming my FAITH rather than my BELIEF.  I operated out of that mode ever since; and that is what began my journey away from denominations as well as my own personal examination of my beliefs - my 'religion' - rather than relying on simple faith.

2. Day before classes began, freshman year, UNC

This was huge for me.  I was scared of college, but I was there.  The day before classes began, I decided to pull out my map and find my classrooms so that I wasn't 'that girl' wandering around with no clue.  This was my first real opportunity to walk around campus alone and take everything in, on my own, at my pace, without a tour guide or a parent or a place to be in 2 minutes.  I had appreciated Carolina's beauty before, but I'd never really absorbed it.  On this day, during this walk, I got absorbed in the details.  And then, as I was passing between Carroll and Hanes, something happened.  It felt as though my Papa Jim were with me, walking beside me.  I could feel his presence - it was calming and reassuring, as if he were telling me to cherish all these moments because they would lead to something great.  It was so cool.  The greater significance of the time and place when I felt him was that he went to UNC (as did his daughter, my mom, a few decades later) in the late 40s and early 50s.  He was a good man and loved the University, so much so that he was a construction volunteer helping them build Hanes Hall.  There aren't many pieces of my heritage that I've been able to salvage, but this is one of them.  I'll always have that memory and I'll always love my University - our University.

(also...seems volunteer construction runs in the family!)

3. Chartered bus, UNC Pep Bands, Syracuse, NY.  March 2005.

Remember how Papa Jim told me that my time at Carolina would be great?  I always believed that.  And that's why I suffered through hours and hours of marching band wool-uniformed hell...because I knew something great was coming, and I knew it had to do with basketball.  My payoff for the aforementioned wool-enshrouded agony was basketball.  Namely, I was in the travel band that went with the mens basketball team for the NCAA tournament in 2005.  And need I remind you, we won the tournament.  The entire time I was at UNC, I knew I would be traveling with the team and I knew we were going all the way.  I would have been hard pressed to convince anyone of this during my freshman year (we went 8 and 20 that year) that we'd be on top just a little ways down the road.  But when we were in Syracuse, on the bus, in the dark, heading to the hotel after winning the regional championship in the Concrete barn, I knew I had been right all along.  Our (awesome) bus driver had called his buddy at the radio station and got him to play 'We will rock you/We are the champions' for us to listen to.  And we (the pep band) sang along, all 31 of us, at the top of our lungs.  We knew that we were going to St. Louis, that we would watch our team from 10 feet away, that we would be on TV an have parties and all the other fantastic stuff that comes along with the Final Four, and we knew that the following weekend, WE WOULD WIN.  We were on top of the world.  It was a fantastic moment.  Another one I'll never forget.

4. The big break-up

I dated a guy on and off (mostly on) for about 4 years, spanning my last 3 years in college and the one following graduation.  My family didn't like him, his family (for the most part) didn't like me.  We had a really hard relationship, mostly due to a lot of outside pressures.  We were even engaged at one point, until he called off the wedding.  That was a very bad time for me...I couldn't handle being alone, I didn't want to without him, so when he came to me a couple months later and asked for a second chance, I gave him one gladly.  Months later some things came to a head and I realized I was way better off without him.  It ended immediately.  I grieved for about 2 months, and then I was over it.  The moment I realized that I was better off, that I deserved better, and I would find better and be truly happy, was possibly the best moment of my life.  Once again I had the luxury of knowing that things would end well, and having that to fall back on was what got me through something that otherwise might have led to very dark times.

5. Chapel Hill, February 3, 2007

Let's review:  I had no boyfriend.  My place of employment was relocating in a couple of months.  My lease was ending at the same time.  Six weeks earlier I'd learned that my church would be dissolving at the end of February.  I was the freest I'd ever been - no strings attached to anything, no reason to stay where I was and EVERY reason to go somewhere else and do something different.  I narrowed my potential new homes of choice to four places: Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta.  I had friends in each of these cities, and they all sounded exciting.  Plus, Indy and Phila came with GREAT built-in excuses to knit all kinds of cute winter clothes and accessories.  I decided to try to get a visit to all these places to decide where to move.  Richmond came first, because I owed my friend there a visit anyway.  With my intense desire to be at church as much as possible, I planned to make it a Thursday-Saturday visit, leaving me with basically nothing to do on Friday while my friend worked.  And then I remembered that I knew someone else in Richmond, so I hopped on facebook on a Monday and sent him a message saying 'hey, I'm thinking about moving to Richmond and I'm coming up in a couple of weeks.  I have nothing to do on the Friday during normal business hours - would you want to get coffee or something and we can talk about life in the city, catch up and get reacquainted and all that?'  He jumped on the opportunity.  We exchanged phone numbers; he called me that night.  We've been best friends since then.  

After 5 consecutive nights of staying up talking until the wee hours of the morning, he couldn't bear to wait another 2 weeks, borrowed a car, and literally drove all night to see me.  We've been in love ever since.

And once again, I just knew.  He was my happy ending.

(sidenote, for those of you doing the math: we started 'dating' in late january or early february, depending on who you ask; we were engaged in august; we were married dec. 1.  we'd been married 2 months by the time we'd been a couple for a year.)

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