A story about how God blew my mind (a tangent)

A couple months ago, an old friend commented on one of my posts and mentioned a story about a mysterious, random picture of "S" in my college scrapbook. The story is a legend in our family circle. It's a bit of a detour from my usual home renovation updates, but I promised my friend that I would scan the photo and write about it whenever I found the scrapbook among our stored belongings. I found it today.

I actually blogged about this photo on my old (now defunct) blog on July 6, 2006, the night after a strange and uncanny event took place that rattled my bones and blew my mind... A fresh retelling is aways better than a detached one, so here is the original transcript of what I wrote almost exactly four years ago:

Last night, while packing my belongings for my upcoming move to Boston, I was looking through the scrapbook I have been piecing together the past couple years to commemorate my undergraduate experience at Brown. The book begins with a photo of the Van Wickle Gates--a photo that any Brown alum would realize I took during my class's ceremonial inward flux through the double iron gates, a time-honored tradition so hyped during one's pre-frosh phase that its significance is rivaled only by the mass exodus of the class out of the Gates four years later on Commencement Day. It's a good photo, well-timed.

The rest of the book contains a chronology of photos of beloved suitemates, airline ticket stubs from spring break trips, invitations to the English department's diploma ceremony, etc. The last page contains a photo of my now-fiancé "S" and me, capped and gowned, looking happy together, looking happy to have passed the sufficient number of classes. Though I met him the spring of my freshman year, we had begun dating only weeks or days or perhaps minutes before we graduated. (Our relationship was so gradual throughout our final semester that we have no idea exactly when it started.) Less than a year and a half after that last photo was taken, we will be married.

The funny thing about this scrapbook, though, is that first photo of the first day--I'm buried in the crowd of my fellow freshmen, lifting my camera high above my head to get a well-balanced shot of the Gates and the "us" as we go through them. The photo contains mostly the backs of heads; but that seems appropriate, since no one arrives at college with any real idea of who they really are. But as I was looking at the photo last night, I noticed that there is one face in the crowd, one person who turned his head just as my finger blindly clicked the shutter. One face that I never noticed before.

Holy crap... Holy CRAP! It's him. That's HIM! That's his profile, I pointed out to my mom moments later as I had raced downstairs to show her, that's the shape of his nose and the curve of the back of his head. He is walking with roughly 1,200 unidentifiable others, heads that blur into other heads, just a few rows in front of me. But he looked aside just in time. In August, I'll be married to that face in the crowd... So my scrapbook of Brown begins and ends with S--who snatched me up just before we were supposed to walk out the Gates and off to our separate lives. I think those four years in between were God's little joke. ¶

This is the first page of the scrapbook, which also shows that I managed to photograph a smiling Ruth Simmons (also on her very first day at Brown, only as its President instead of a student) and some other very serious, important-looking university official... but can you spot that handsome face I love so well? It seems so obvious now, but I had never noticed it before...

Don't let anyone ever convince you that God isn't real, or that He doesn't give us special gifts to romance us, or that he doesn't have one big fat sense of humor. He is, and He does. In Deo Speramus.


  1. Katie, thank you so much for posting this for me! :) I've always thought this story was incredible...I mean seriously, it's RIDICULOUSLY incredible! I remember you telling me about and it and thinking "wow, God is awesome!" It is such a cool story to tell the kids and grandkids one day. I think all of us wish we had a romantic story like THAT to tell! I honestly don't think I've ever heard a better one than yours. Thanks again for posting!

  2. That is so awesome!!!!! Gives me chills and who doesn't love THAT?! This is just great, Katie. What a picture to cherish and keep in your family forever. The picture where God showed you who your husband would be before you even knew his name! God was saying, "There he is Katie- just look closely!" Ahh I love it ;) You might inspire me to write our little love story in my blog one of these days :)

  3. This is an amazing, amazing story. I just read it out loud to Flash and it was all I could do NOT to cry. So awesome.


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