Friday, November 4, 2011


Who would have thought that a discussion of a character from “To Kill a Mockingbird” would be the start of a romance?

But there I was, immersed in a conversation at the home of the youth pastor, discussing my roommate Cindy’s cat named “Boo.” Out of the blue, I heard a male voice ask, “Boo Radley?”

I peered over the sea of teens and young adults to see a long-haired, bespeckled man with a moustache and an impish grin. I returned the smile.

“You know Boo Radley?” I asked in surprise. Here was someone who knew the full name of one of my favorite characters in my all-time favorite movie. Who was this guy?
This guy named Steve quickly grabbed the opportunity to engage in further conversation.  A reporter for the local newspaper, Steve was witty, funny, and nothing like other guys I’d known or dated before. He was also a brand-new Christian. I was less than a year old in my walk with the Lord. We were babies in our spiritual growth but I had already learned enough from Bible studies and sermons to know that Christians did not act like unbelievers. We were supposed to have standards of behavior.

So when Steve asked me out to dinner soon after our meeting, I was both thrilled and scared to death.

How are Christians supposed to act on a date? I pondered this with a certain amount of fear and trembling. Brushing my waist-length hair in preparation for our first time out, I remembered guys from my pre-Christian walk. It was the 1970’s and social mores had “freed” many from the traditional constraints that God-fearing individuals knew were nothing less than sin. And the Bible says that sin makes you a slave, not free. My new freedom in Christ meant that I was no longer “free” to sin.
But how to keep things restrained in our new freedom in Christ?

I’ll bring my Bible, I thought. I was impressed with my brilliant solution!
Steve looked at me curiously as I picked up my Bible and carried it out to his little turquoise Honda. Slinking into the small car, I set King James in between us, right on the console. He never complained about difficulty using the stick shift, but I’m certain it was a little awkward. He never balked once about the Word of God sitting there between us.

Our dinner was wonderful. And there were many more dates after that, although I relaxed enough to trust Steve’s intentions without the Bible set between us. That date was the start of our long and fruitful romance. A couple of years later, our good friend Lloyd Simpkins laughed when we told him about our first dinner together. By now we were married and we visited with Lloyd and Emma Simpkins regularly. They were a wonderful couple from church that opened up their house for a home-cooked meal every Sunday.

“Well Steve,” he said to my husband after hearing the account of that first date, “I guess she figured you’d have to jump over Matthew, Mark, Luke, AND John to bother her on that date!”

That unforgettable date led to the marriage of two Christians committed to the Lord and to each other. And Steve and I still carry the Word of God with us—literally and in our hearts.

Elaine Marie Cooper lives in the Midwest with her husband Steve, her three dogs and one huge cat. She has two married sons and triplet grandbabies, who are often referred to (by her) as “the most beautiful grandbabies in the world.” Elaine’s only daughter, Bethany, passed away in 2003 from a brain tumor. A retired registered nurse, Elaine has been a magazine freelance writer for many years.

Thanks so much for sharing, Elaine. I wonder if our readers have had a funny experience with a first date?

1 comment:

Margaret Lepke said...

What a brilliant idea! Taking your bible and placing it right between you. I would have never thought of that - and had no occasion to because I was married before becoming a Christian - but I will pass that choice bit of advice on to today's young people whenever I get the chance and am rather curious to see how they will react to it :)