The E&T Saga from E’s Perspective: (Scroll down for T’s perspective)
I was first introduced to Tania at the bottom of the stairs at First Baptist Church. It was sometime shortly after I started attending the church in 2004. Whoever introduced us told me that she was doing a counseling degree at Gordon-Conwell. My first impression was that she had a gentle smile, beautiful hair, and that she seemed friendly. I didn’t know anyone else named Tania, so I came up with a memory device to remember her name: when I would see her coming I would think about ice skating. Then I would remember that Nancy Kerrigan was an ice skater and then I would think of Tanya Harding who was accused of hiring thugs to break Nancy’s legs. By the time Tania got to me, I was able to say, “Hi Tania!” This continued for three years until I left Massachusetts in 2007.
When I returned in 2008, I ran into Tania at the bottom of the stairs on one of my first Sundays back at the church. I didn’t have time to go through my ice skating memory trick before we were face to face so she had to remind me of her name before I said it. Then she said, “Welcome back” and smiled her warm smile.
I continued to meet Tania at the bottom of the stairs after worship and slowly my curiosity about her was growing. I remember sitting on the Helgesens’ couch one evening asking questions about this girl with a warm smile and pretty hair. Shortly after, I was having a conversation about cornhole with someone and then I casually mentioned to Tania, who was standing nearby, that it would be a game she would probably enjoy. It wasn’t too long before Tania was sitting at the Helgesens’ table for lunch followed by her first game of cornhole. Immediately she was addicted and my curiosity became even stronger. And it wasn’t just because this girl can throw!
We continued to have Tania over to the Helgesens and I also regularly hosted “Corn Toss Fellowship” on Fridays at the church. Tania participated regularly. During that time, her grandmother became sick and passed away. I attended the funeral and Tania spoke. She told about how much her grandmother loved Jesus and loved her family. She ended with, “I know that the first thing my grandma is going to say to Jesus when she meets him is, ‘Where’s that husband for Tania?’”
On June 11, 2009, Tania and I went on our first date. It was dinner at The Cheesecake Factory followed by coffee at Starbucks. We spent time together during the rest of the summer doing events with our small group and serving others. However, being the dense person that am, it took me awhile to see that Tania was so much more than a warm smile, pretty face, and cornhole pro.
After a rough couple of months, I took Tania to Starbucks to talk. We hadn’t seen each other for a while and there were a few things we needed to discuss. That night we didn’t discuss the things I had on my agenda but instead, talked about us. Tania told me she felt like I didn’t know her.
That moment was a turning point for me. I realized that she was right. I really didn’t know Tania and I really wanted to. I started intentionally spending time with her after that and found that there was a lot more to her than I had realized. She’s not only beautiful but also wise and has a great sense of humor. She is also more compassionate than anyone I have ever known.
We started officially dating on December 4th, 2009 after going to The Blind Side and then Joe’s American Bar and Grill.
It was on a trip to Minnesota in June of 2010 that I realized that I would never find anyone better than Tania. I knew that I wanted to marry her. And I finally asked her just shy of a year later…
The E&T saga from T’s perspective:
My story is slightly different than Eric’s and definitely lengthier (see me for details). However, when I look back it’s actually quite simple: From the beginning, I saw forever with him. Simple does not mean easier; we had more than our share of ups and downs. Yet, no matter what challenges we faced, I couldn’t see myself apart from him. And yes, boys are slow and it took him longer than it should have to see me for who I really am, but God uses all things for his purpose and that time allowed our relationship to mature into what it is today: something I am grateful for! Side note- In full disclosure: 1.) I did not play cornhole for the love of the game (it was strictly to get to know Eric) and 2.) I did not need a memory device to remember his name.
In my very first job there was a plaque in the office which I will never forget.It said, “God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things.Right now I am so far behind that I will never die.”Perhaps you have heard that quote before.Even if you have not, you have most likely experienced the sentiment which it expresses.
For most of us, when the sun goes down, we have more on our to-do list than when the sun came up.No matter how many knots we tie, we always manage to find more loose ends.There is usually month left at the end of the money and we find ourselves in a race against the clock …and the clock is winning.
We are so different from the one in whose image we were made.The book of Genesis tells us that in six days God created the heavens and the earth.That does not just include the planet on which we live but galaxies that we have yet to discover.He did more in six days than we could ever document in even six thousand years.And then we read that after six days, “the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done” (Genesis 2:2 (ESV)).In his creation of the universe, God established a rhythm in which he invites all people to join.
But we lack rhythm and we tend to miss steps.We try to make our own rhythm and we have spent generations destroying the universe that God created in six days.Not only have we destroyed his creation but we have destroyed our relationships with others and we have destroyed ourselves.The harder we work, the more damage we do.We find ourselves at the end of the day so far behind that it is impossible to catch up.
Then someone came who knew the dance and felt the rhythm.In his thirty-three years of life, Jesus Christ healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, fed the hungry, welcomed the outcast, taught the ignorant and gave compassion to the needy.And in the midst of all of it he still had time for his family, his friends, and even himself.He was restoring the world to the way his Father intended it to be – he was re-creating the world.And he was reminding us how to dance.
But there were many who did not want to see the world restored, who opposed Jesus mission.They had him arrested and then attached him to an execution rack.
As Jesus’ followers watched from beneath the cross they must have wondered, “Why did it have to end like this?So soon?There is so much more that he could do.There are still blind, sick, hungry, ignorant, and outcast people that need to experience the love that this man has to offer.”Jesus was on a mission to re-create that earth and it ended after thirty-three short years.
But Jesus was aware that no part of his mission had been left undone.Everything he had been called to do, he had done.And now the final whip had been snapped, the final nail pounded, the final taunt from his enemies had been spoken.His mission had been accomplished.And Jesus said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.The world had not yet been re-created, but there was nothing now that could stop his kingdom from advancing.Having been crucified, the plan had been fulfilled.He would die and on the third day be raised to life and his church would advance.Having been crucified at the age of thirty-three, Jesus could say what we rarely can say, “It is finished.”And he could bow his head and rest.
And today we can bow our heads and rest as well.Not because of the work that we have done but because everything we need for our salvation was done for us by Jesus Christ on the cross.
On December 31, 2010, my sister, Angela, passed into the presence of her Savior.
Memorial gifts can be given to Joni and Friends.
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:51-56