The call came late into the night. I was already in bed when the house phone rang. It threatened to wake the whole house, so I grabbed the phone off the cradle next to my bed. The voice on the other end of the phone was one I had not heard in nearly a year. "Nesto?" It was my good friend, the eternal vagabond AC Crumpton.
"Dude?! Where are you?" Turns out, he was only 90 miles north of my home. Turns out, he had been back in the country for a month. And turns out, he had been stricken by the curse of Nabakov and needed a brother to come and bring some light into the world. So, I got out of my bed, limped to the van, and headed into the great uncharted north.
He was living in the thumb, in some place called Kingston. He gave me some directions - three turns off the main road - and said I would find it easy.
Now, this was an odd moment in my life. I was still limping from my recent wrestling match with the God of heaven, and my soul was still tender to the touch from the court battle that left my family splintered. My next step in life was uncertain, as I had failed out of college only 6 months earlier. So having a good friend show up back in my life was a welcome development. I was so pumped to see him that I didn't bother getting dressed. I just grabbed my big comforter, and ran out in my boxers.
The drive north was scary. It was foggy, and I was driving too fast on roads I did not know. But I was in a hurry. The voice on the phone was in need, and I wished to answer the call quickly. So I drove hard and true. My newly acquired Bruce Springsteen live tape wailed out on the radio, and his walk into the night matched my own.
I came to the place I sought 2 hours later. It was in middle of nowhere Michigan, and I could find little marking to tell me if I had found the right place or not. It was dark and really late... well after midnight. I was barefoot, boxer clad, and bound in a nasty old comforter of questionable origins. I approached a house that seemed too large and too wonderful to be my destination. But it had to be... so I reached out and knocked on the door. And of course, it was the wrong door.
Angie Sims was a woman of great wisdom and affection. But she too was in a moment of great transition. After graduating summa cum laude in college, she had desired with all that was in her to go overseas and give her life to serve the global church. But as she applied to various churches and organizations, she found a wall of discouragement waiting for her there. They wanted young married couples. They wanted 5 years experience. They wanted so many things that she did not have. So, after a year of searching, she had accepted that home on the tree farm is where God had her. So she picked up a tool belt and began working for her father building log homes. On her off time she served at her small country church, leading worship and the youth group there.
There had been a few suitors over the years. One fella even asked her for her hand in marriage. Thrice. But these suitors were not men she wanted to give her love to. These men were untrustworthy, immature, and without direction. Angie put on her best Jane Eyre, and sent these men packing. Eventually, she gave up on finding a man. She put down the desire for marriage and simply told God, "If you ever want me to get married, you're going to have to bring him to my door."
I knocked on the door. I waited on the porch. The door opened. And it was not AC. No. I had come to the wrong house that night. It was a young woman dressed for sleep. "Hello?," she said.
I stood there embarrassed and at a loss for words. I was all of the sudden aware of my appearance and lack of clothing. My beard was long and unkempt. The hair on my head the same. I looked like some homeless dredge wandering the woods. And in front of me stood a very respectable kind faced lady who didn't seem at all afraid to have a 300 pound mexican on her porch.
And that was the night I met the woman who would later become my bride. Turns out, it was the right house after all.