This story highlights how long we have both loved sneakers. Here is the story of how I met E.
It was the Spring of 2006. I was 18 and in my second semester of college at Andrews University, a small private university in Southwest Michigan. I was into everything except schoolwork. So, naturally I was in every club on campus. One of the clubs I was in was called S.P.A.R.K. It was a prayer ministry and one of the events we did regularly was volunteering to stand on a well traversed path in between class periods and ask passerbyers if they wanted us to pray for them. As the extrovert I was (I seem to be more introverted these days) I loved this ministry/club. I loved talking with new people.
One day, I was finishing up my fifteen minute session, when I was about to leave my post. Just then I saw one last person walking along my path. He was a little bit away, but something (Someone?) told me to stay. Thinking about it now, it would have been super weird if I waited for him to walk down this long path, asked him to pray, and he said, “no”. I would have looked super creepy. Luckily that’s not how this turned out. As he approached me, I asked him if I could pray for him and he said yes. When I asked him what he would like me to pray for, he told me “schoolwork”, which if you know Emmanuel makes so much sense.
I held his hand and prayed.
When we were done, I opened my eyes, and finally saw his face. Like really saw his face. I took in his Adidas Goodyear shoes. They were my absolute favorite sneakers on the planet. I fell in love with his North Face backpack. He was wearing a polo and jeans that were probably four sizes too big for him. His jeans were tucked into his shoe laces so they didn’t drag along the ground. He had a wide smile. I looked at him, and finally said, “Oh my gosh, you’re Anna’s best friend!”
He looked at me confused and said, “Who are you?”
“I’m Anna’s best friend too!”
Anna was a senior. I loved her so much. And she was both of our best friend. She had known Emmanuel for longer, since they were on campus for longer. She spoke about him. I remember being in her room when she called him on his birthday. I had seen his picture on his computer but I had never seen him. And finally he stood before me eyes.
He chuckled. We talked a bit more on the way towards the cafe. He said bye as he walked towards his dorm. I didn’t know then that this would be the man I would fall in love with. I didn’t know then that I was talking with my soulmate.