*(Big Smile) I no sooner walked into church this morning than I started getting questions, "Where's part three?, When are you going to post part three? Will post three be up before you leave on vacation?" Goodness!! Part three - we're not even dating yet! I have no idea how long this is going to take :o * So here it is folks - part three - part four will probably not be released before next Sunday.
Philip had been at Bob Jones for eight years and had the unusual reputation of not having dated anyone. Everyone was quite interested in his singleness and the longer he was there, the more the interest rose. Philip says that he told the Lord that he was too busy with his education to be looking, observing and trying to learn to know someone. If God wanted him to notice someone, she'd have to be dropped in his lap - where he couldn't miss her. Well, God didn't drop me in his lap but he did plant me across the aisle and three rows up. But that didn't do much good at the beginning.
When I was accepted to Bob Jones there were some very definite ideas I had about what would happen. #1 I'd get an education #2 It would take me one year (I'd chosen a 30 credit Master's degree with no thesis) #3 to accomplish #1 and #2 there was no time for developing close friendships. I had no hesitancy about accepting singleness (and was excited about the possible ways God could use me in that state) and was looking forward to embracing "life on my own." And really....I was very excited about what God was doing and how He was working in my life.
The only slight shadow cast on my very bright future was Philip Brown. I knew that he was still finishing his degree and that I'd probably run into him at church (because he also attended Easley Bible Methodist) and I was apprehensive that "fresh meat" would mean I'd have to deal with the uncomfortable situation of making it clear I was not available. (*I had been in this type of situation before and had learned some very ugly lessons about human nature) Or even worse of having to deal with this young PhD who probably thought he was somebody - ugghhhhhh!!! In my mind the issue was settled before I arrived in SC and he had no idea the absolute certainty with which I was going to cut off all possible complications.
I arrived in Greenville the first week of August on a Friday and unpacked all my worldly possessions into a small bedroom that was to be my home where I was caring for a woman in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. In return for cooking, cleaning, taking her to appointments, etc. I was able to stay in the home for free. Saturday I showed up at BJU for registration and as I was driving on front campus I recognized a briefcase carrying, red-haired gentleman walking down the sidewalk and my heart sank. Uggghhhhh ...... hopefully he would be easily avoided.
Sunday I went with David and Teresa Armstrong to church and sat in their pew. I don't remember initially seeing Philip but he remembers seeing me. He had entered the church from the door right off of the platform and as he stepped through the door our eyes met. He said all he remembers was "sheer terror" written on my face and thinking, "Whoa! That girl needs a lot of space!" All I remember was going to the Sunday School class that I would be attending and finding out that a one "Philip Brown" was the teacher! Oh Great!
School began and life began moving at a pace that was indescribable! Within one week I realized that my dream of completing my degree in one year was not going to be reality. I was working on a Master's degree that didn't have the undergraduate degree to build on. They expected me to know methods, theories, people and terminology that I'd never heard of. After some scrambling I cut back to three classes that semester and tried to rearrange the plan so that I could finish by going to summer school (which also would not happen). My course load was an enormous amount of work and I was way back on the learning curve. The research class I was in required most research to be done on the Internet. I'd come from a school that didn't allow the Internet. I had to look up theories and people and information in education that I'd not been exposed to just to make sense out of what I was learning in the classroom.
That last paragraph may seem superfluous except for that fact that through this entire time - Philip Brown never spoke one word to me. Not one. He might nod and say "hi" at church but that was it! All of August and September and most of October passed with not a word passing between us. I was a little perplexed (since I had been expecting some trouble) but with everything going on ... very relieved at the same time. His side of the story is that after that initial "look of terror" he thought the last thing a new girl, in a new school, new town, new church needed was someone bugging her. He had no way of knowing how true that was and how important it would be for him to follow the Spirit's leadership.