Adventure. It was a yearning that Shawn and I shared, and we would often take last minutes drives out of town. This time in life, Shawn was married with two little girls, and I was still single at age 34. I always thought I would get married at 27, but I was wrong.
Sometimes in life we are wrong.
I was in the middle of my masters in fine arts (MFA) in visual arts degree at Azusa Pacific University, and art was on my mind. There was an art show opening in Chinatown, which was one of the Los Angeles art districts at the time. Some of my APU professors were going to be there, along with two gallery owners who became friendly acquaintances.
Seeking last minute adventure, I texted Shawn, and we cruised down the 5 to Los Angeles on a Saturday evening catching up on all of life’s little details.
It was September 5th, and the fall season was introducing itself with the slight change of weather and the coming county fair with the anticipation of Halloween following shortly.
We decided to take a detour and check out a Halloween super store in Los Angeles. Shawn and I roamed down the towering aisles packed with all genres of costumes, yard decorations, masks, toys, etc. It was a world of make-believe awaiting the cooling season. We examined it all. I remember the swords. We took up the plastic weapons and wielded them in the middle of the aisle.
It was a short flashback to childhood.
And then we moved on to the couple’s costumes.
Examining all the different themes—some funny, some stupid—I told Shawn, “Someday I would like a girlfriend who would want to dress up with me for Halloween. Someone who I would want to dress up with too.”
Once again, I was 34, and I was beginning to wonder if I was being too picky about who I should marry. Some people would tell me, “You’ll just know when you meet her.” Others would tell me, “You can’t be too picky; nobody’s perfect.” I knew no one was perfect, but I still had expectations. I still had a list. And I felt that God told me to hold onto that list.
But I was 34.
I told Shawn, “Maybe I need to ignore a few items on my list and just get married already.”
I could tell Shawn was in a difficult place to answer; he wasn’t for sure what to tell me.
Back on the highway through the downtown city lights, we arrived at the art show. We viewed colorful art, ate authentic Chinese food, but mainly talked to a bunch of different people. I made some helpful contacts in the LA art community, and we called it a night.
At one point of the night, Shawn took a break from the gregarious groups of art enthusiasts and wandered around the area to capture some creative photos. Shawn had a deep passion for photography. Later, he showed me one of his photos and tagged me on Instagram. He titled it, “The Vagabond.”
Honestly, I had to look up that word: “A person who wanders from place to place without a home.”
I appreciated the photo.
It was me taking a break from the crowds.
The late drive back to our hometown was long and full of tiring thoughts: I need to just commit to a decent girl. I’m being too picky. I’m not going to meet a girl who fits every expectation on my list.
I wrestled with my newly found conclusion on my way to church the next morning.
I walked up the stairs to my Bible study life group.
I went in and greeted everyone with a smile, trying my best to be encouraging.
I opened up the Bible, and we started reading.
Verse by verse we studied and discussed the Word of God.
Then she walked in—the complete list.
I knew I was no longer a vagabond.