The Summer of Tim: A New Beginning

Among the greatest comeback stories in history, prepare yourselves to be wowed by one that will be remembered for generations to come.

Hold on to your seats.

The Summer of Tim has returned!

For the next two months, you are invited along as I find things to occupy my time during the summer break from my work in public education. I realize that blogs are about as relevant these days as a MySpace profile, a rousing game of Snood, or a classy GeoCities website -- yet I still find myself drawn to this platform more often than you’d expect. Typically, though, those urges to write something “profound” fall victim to my ever-dwindling attention span. Still, whether or not anyone even opens these pages and reads anything I write, I enjoy putting my thoughts out there and sharing the joys and struggles and experiences of daily life with others as a way to keep myself accountable and prevent life from passing me by during the summer months.

With the 2018 Summer of Tim cut short, and then the 2019 Summer of Tim cut short, and then the 2020 Summer of Tim never started, I’ve come to terms with the fact that…

...well...

...I actually don’t know what fact I’ve come to terms with, but here I am again...pecking away aimlessly at the keyboard. Needless to say, plenty has happened since the last time I sat here.

. . .

In countless ways, 2020 was a year like no other. I’d be lying if I said I’d had any sort of idea that my life would head the direction that it has! It’s no secret that my fifteen-year marriage ended in divorce in 2018 (legally not until 2019, but whatever). Throughout that experience, I never once doubted my belief that God had something great in store for me. I had no idea what that would be -- a reconciled marriage? a life of being single and content? a new relationship? -- but I knew I was staring down the barrel of an amazing new chapter in my life. Through the burdens of divorce, I found myself regularly turning to Galatians 6:9:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Faced with adversity, I continued to do what I knew to be right and felt a daily confidence that someday I’d reap a harvest. Much to my surprise, that harvest came sooner than I expected.

. . .

I started college in the fall of 1994 and had a class -- "Fitness for Life" -- with a girl named Jamie. At one point in the fall semester, along with a few other classmates, I was invited to Jamie’s dorm room to study and I was very briefly introduced to her roommate, Trisha.

Trisha was friendly, funny, and quickly caught my eye. She had probably been a cheerleader in high school. I was the dude with an orange bowl cut.

  

Unfortunately, when I asked Jamie about the “social status” of her roommate, I learned that Trisha had a boyfriend so my hopes were dashed. At some point later that year, I threw caution to the wind and reached out to Trisha through this new communication called email and expressed my interest to her. As I should have expected, she politely declined my advances and explained that she had just ended a pretty lengthy relationship and wasn’t interested in anything new.

Whatever. That’s cool, I guess.

At the end of that year, Trisha transferred to a different school a few hours away and closer to her family.

You’d think the story’s over, but it’s ready to begin.

Over the next year or so, Trisha occasionally crossed my mind as our college years continued a hundred miles apart. There was just something about her that had me curious. Through the wonders of the internet I easily found her current email address at the school to where she transferred. I dropped her a line and casually reminded her of my piqued interest.

I guess I'm persistent if nothing else.

Maybe Trisha was curious. Maybe she was bored. Or maybe she had spent those few years deeply regretting her decision to shoot me down in 1994 and longing for another chance. No matter what her reason, this time the interest was mutual and we made plans to get together.

A couple of times over the next few months, we’d spend weekends together either on my campus or hers. We hit it off wonderfully sharing a common appreciation for the finer things in life like Billy Madison, Empire Records, and Counting Crows.

Eventually, though, having come off a lengthy relationship of my own prior to reconnecting with Trisha, I explained that I wasn’t ready to jump into anything serious and our weekend visits came to an end.

. . .

Another year or so passed before Trisha and I crossed paths again. She was on campus visiting some friends in the fall of 1998 and, although I can’t recall when or how, we ended up together at my apartment with several other people. Trisha expressed an interest in possibly reviving the casual relationship that we’d had but, again, I wasn’t interested.

The following semester -- spring of 1999 -- Trisha spent time studying in Spain and I was back home completing my student teaching requirements. One day, much to my surprise, I received a postcard from Spain -- Trisha sending her greetings from overseas.

Interesting. Maybe there was something to this Trisha girl afterall.

Using the last address I had for her, I dropped a letter in the mail thanking her for the postcard and suggesting that maybe she give me a call when she returned to the States. Honestly, I was pretty excited to have heard from her and looked forward to hearing from her when she got back.

But I never did.

That was the last time I heard from Trisha. Spring of 1999.

. . .

Over the next two decades, I completed an undergraduate degree in history and a master’s program in school counseling. I worked professionally as a school counselor and found myself busy with many side projects to keep my creative juices flowing. I met and married my now-ex-wife and had three amazing children. During that time, I admit that I was always curious about Trisha. Not in any sort of inappropriate way where I felt like she was the one who got away or in any way that would compromise my dedication to my marriage. Just curious where life ended up taking her.

Eventually, in 2018, I faced the realities of a failed marriage and found myself divorced. It wasn’t the direction I ever expected my life would go but I was there and I refused to let it destroy my spirit. Instead, I used that experience as an opportunity to grow as a person -- mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I had no idea where my life would take me -- all I could do was trust that God had a plan in store.

. . .

Early in 2020, I introduced my kids to the cinematic brilliance that is Billy Madison. Through swans and Snack Packs, Miles Davis and that silly penguin, it wasn't long before Trisha popped in my head. We'd watched this movie more than our share of times back in the day and watching it now made me curious where life had taken her. With no real intent of tracking her down to catch up, I did what any red-blooded human would do and snooped around online to see if I could find out what 20+ years had done to her.

My friend Google turned up little more than a photo of two kids and a dog but I was happy to know that she had a family and based on the smiling kids, seemed to be doing well.

I suppose most normal people would have stopped there but curiosity got the best of me. Through a series of events I'll keep off the record for the sake of staying free of stalking charges, I'll simply say that I realized that Trisha had experienced a divorce of her own on a timeline very simliar to my own.

Interesting.

A social media message led to an exchange of phone numbers. The exchange of phone numbers led to several days of text messages. Text messages led to dinner.

It was nuts. On one hand, we hadn't seen each other in over twenty years. On the other, it was like no time had passed. Through reintroducting ourselves to each other, we learned that our core values in 2020 were very much in line with one another's. We learned that we both had a desire to keep God at the center of our lives and greatly valued our families above all else.

Plus, we learned that after all these years, we still shared a bit of an interest in each other.

In a photo album, I still had a picture of the two of us from back in my college dorm room (seen above). Come to find out, Trisha still had the same photo as well as some of the letters we had exchanged over two decades ago.

It was becoming clear that this was something more than just two old friends catching up as we both began to recognize there's a certian point where you stop believing in coincidence. There was no doubt we were about to reap a harvest. I've often described my mindset at that time in these simple terms: "When you know, you know. You know?"

And we knew.

So on August 8th -- at 1:43pm -- we exchanged our vows and our two families became one.

Do right. Don't give up. And you'll reap a harvest when the time is right.

Welcome back to the Summer of Tim...

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