Chocolate Chip Cookies
There came a day after class that both Shawn and I needed to speak with the professor. During that same week OWU was hosting a guest speaker from The Laborer’s Institute (TLI), the same ministry program I had attended a few years prior. During one of the chapel services he requested that any students who had been a part of TLI would stand up. Shawn had noticed me stand and concluded that I couldn’t be a complete ditz if I had gone on a mission trip before! This simple event sparked conversation between us after class as we both finished speaking with our professor and headed back across campus toward the cafeteria. I was surprised at the easy flow of dialogue between us. He was very interested to learn more about TLI, and I encouraged him to come to a small informational meeting to be held that night before the chapel service. I would be there with other graduates of the program to answer questions and share some of our experiences. He happily agreed to attend.
The meeting that night went smoothly, and we enjoyed another dynamic chapel service with the guest speaker, who was so energetic, funny, and spiritually stirring. Afterward, Shawn and I ran into each other again down at the campus center. He was excited about what he had learned about TLI and continued to ask me more questions. I told him that I had a scrapbook video from my summer there, full of pictures and testimonies from all members of my team. He surprised me by responding, “Can we watch it now?”
Shortly after, we gathered with a few other students in the lounge area of one of the girls’ dormitories, and I popped in the tape. (Yes, we still used VHS some in those days!) Now, before I get any further into the events of that evening, I need to give some background information about a specific story that the TLI speaker had shared previously that week. He enthusiastically told us about his first encounter with his wife as a college student years before. He noticed a pretty girl in one of the campus buildings who looked extremely down-cast and sad. In his out-going and unabashed way, he smiled at her, patted her shoulder, and tried to cheer her up sharing, “God loves you!” Hours later upon returning to his dorm, his football buddies grilled him, “Who is she?!” He had no idea what they were talking about until he noticed a plateful of homemade chocolate chip cookies and a card with his name on it. After devouring several cookies he opened the card to find a note of thanks from a young woman who had desperately needed encouragement that day. He didn’t recognize her name, so he pulled out a year book and recognized it to be the same pretty girl he had spoken to earlier. The rest was history!
After completing the scrapbook video that night, Shawn, I, and another guy friend of mine stood around outside chatting. Seemingly out of the blue Shawn suddenly turned to me and asked, “Do you know how to make chocolate chip cookies?” There was a moment of awkward silence as I thought to myself, “Is this freshman trying to hit on me?” I don’t remember exactly how I responded, but conversation moved on and we soon parted ways for the evening. The next morning I told the speaker what had happened. He just smiled and said, “I’m not saying anything!" It wouldn’t be until months later that I would learn that Shawn was not thinking about the chocolate chip story at all when he asked his strange question. Instead, his mind had wandered back to a conversation that he had with a guidance counselor who was giving him a tour of the campus before the semester started. He had encouraged Shawn to look into forming study groups for some of his classes, and he added the advice, “Make sure you invite some girls who know how to make chocolate chip cookies!” It seems that Shawn thought I could be a good candidate for this. While the study groups with cookies never materialized, something was put into motion that night that would change both of our lives forever.