When I met him, the first thing I noticed was a small horseshoe-shaped scar on his left cheek.
How long is not long enough to ask a new friend, “how’d you get it?”
I decided to wait.
Louis and I crossed paths working on a Habitat for Humanity house. Not a bad place to meet your future husband. A guy who takes the time to spend a week doing something good for someone else’s family is a guy who will take the time for his own family.
Good values and all that.
“Tell me about Louis,” I said to Louis that first day when we were hauling shingles to the job site.
I’m a terrible listener when I have mentally, prayerfully, pre-arranged the answer to a burning internal question I’m dying to know.
I heard: blah diddly blah blah blah…until the golden goose laid the golden egg and dropped it my waiting hands:
“I’m not married,” Louis said.
And the fireworks exploded, my heart was happy, my mind engaged, and Louis had my full attention.
With the conversation now on solid ground, I liked where we were headed.
Our work that week was productive. The Habitat house went under roof, and the foundation was laid for our relationship.
Louis and I went back to our respective homes 75 miles apart. In the months that followed, we spent lots of time driving back and forth for weekends, meeting halfway to share an hour or two together, and having long conversations in between.
I was the one to get down on one knee to ask Louis to marry me. I enjoy letting my non-traditional side have its way every now and again.
It was time, and it was right, and Louis said, “Yes!” We both wept like two old people watching the ending of Cocoon.
About that scar. Louis volunteered the story without any prompting.
He was eighteen years old. Louis and his friends were playing a pick-up game of basketball in a park near their high school. It was the summer before college. The guys they were playing looked a little older, and they played rough on the court. One big guy maliciously shoved a much smaller guy, and a fight broke out. Louis stood up to the big guy and tried to de-escalate the fight. He remembers saying something like, “Hey man, it’s just a game; let’s be cool.”
The big guy hauled off and punched him hard in the face…with brass knuckles, shuttering Louis’s jaw.
The next thing he remembers is waking up in the ER with his Mom and Dad standing over him.
Louis was permanently scarred for doing the right thing. His scar is a badge of honor. That’s the kind of man I married.
We still volunteer to build houses. Our friendship was built on strengthening communities, and it is stronger because of it. Here’s a prayer we say at the beginning and end of every project:
O Lord, You are the architect and builder of life who gives us the blueprint for a solid foundation to stand on, walls to surround us in love, and a roof to cover us with Your protection. Praise to You, who enables us to help our neighbors, strengthen communities, and live in peace. Amen
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Author Talks: This story is a work of fiction. It started with a scar, one that my brother sports on his cheek, and somehow it became a “how I met my husband” story. I love imagining the different ways happy couples could meet under Godly circumstances. Volunteering to build a house for someone is a selfless gesture deserving of reward.