Jason Wells, the kid who sat next to me in youth choir did me a huge favor in my quest for love.
He left Mrs. Blankenship’s 9th grade homeroom back window open.
Not at my high school. At his. Our rival high school. Lakeside High School
I had paid him 5 bucks and a month’s supply of NERDS.
Catherine Skinner sat in the seat next to him in homeroom.
And Catherine Skinner was a recent addition to the Lakeside cheerleading squad.
We had played them the week before and I will never forget hearing the sounds of El Debarge fill my soul as she walked out onto the track with her pom poms and eyes that lit the sky brighter than the cloudless sky could ever muster.
I made a decision at that moment, I was going to be her man.
I could barely grow a mustache.
So I told my parents I had an extended soccer practice after school and hopped on my bike and rode the 6 miles to Lakeside High.
My heart was pounding.
I had written 5 love letters and placed them in a shoebox I had decorated with pictures of sunsets and butterflies.
The box read…
READ ONE LETTER A DAY AND MEET ME BEHIND THE BLEACHERS ON THE TRACK FRIDAY FOR YOUR FINAL LETTER AND MY TRUE IDENTITY.
I snuck in the window, taped the box under her desk, and made it out before Clyde the custodian got to Mrs. Blankenship’s room.
I swear the ride home felt like 3 minutes.
Catherine’s heart didn’t stand a chance.
Everyday I checked in with Jason.
“She is literally giddy as she is reading the letters dude. You are my hero. You got this.”
I was standing behind the bleachers with my Drakkar on point and a rose that lit up I paid 12 bucks for from the gas station around the corner.
I saw her about 300 yards away walking down the stairs.
With My Box!
I put my head down and prayed.
Something like this…
“God don’t let me screw this up. God don’t let me screw this up. God don’t let me screw this up. God don’t let me screw this up.”
I must have been praying for a good 90 seconds because by the time I said amen I heard footsteps coming towards the bleachers and a nervous “Hello? Hello?”
I took a deep breath.
Slowly looked up.
Walked around the bleachers and…
“Hey. I’m Catherine. And what’s your name?”
There she was.
I had no idea who this girl was.
Acne covered her forehead.
Braces protruded from her lips.
And she was about 50 lbs tougher than I.
And let’s just say that El Debarge was not filling the breeze around her.
“Um. Hey. Um. I’m . Um. Carlos.”
“Carlos. This was the most amazing thing anyone has ever done for me.”
WHAT?! WHO WAS THIS?! WHAT THE CRAP?!
“Yea. Well. Yea. I’m glad! Um. Catherine? What’s your last name?”
“Skinners” she replied.
Jason Wells. Jason freaking Wells. You told me that Catherine SKINNER sat next to you. Not Catherine SkinnerS.
Catherine SkinnerS and I had a few horrible conversations on the phone.
And she ended up helping me on my math homework.
It’s amazing what one letter can do.
What one small difference can make.
It’s almost like many of us are chasing Christ but end up not paying attention and getting Chris.
I mean no offense if your name is Chris. You are just no Christ.
Christ is waiting for your love letters and relationship with anticipation.
But we end up giving it all away to the church and ministry and family and work.
Then we look up and our mouths hang open in disbelief.