It was summer, and I was 18 years-old. Instead of lounging on the beaches of my hometown in Belgium, I found myself in the hustle and bustle of New York City, trying desperately to keep up with my dad, and all the while, trying to keep my mom from getting lost.
One of the reasons my dad had decided we would spend our summer vacation in New York was because he had a friend who lived there. We had never met this friend, but we knew that my dad corresponded with him regularly. My dad had known the man, whom we will call Floyd, ever since WWII. The Germans had taken possession of our home town, and at the end of the war, we were finally liberated by the Allied forces. The first tank to roll into the now-liberated town was, apparently, quite unusual. It was an American tank, and I am told that Floyd was one of the service men in that tank; but what made the tank look so unusual, however, was that it also carried… my dad! Apparently as a young man, when that tank rolled into town, he leapt onto it, and proudly rode with it up and down the streets of our town. He and Floyd were friends from that day forward.
While in New York, my dad arranged for us to have dinner with Floyd and his family. As we made our way to the meeting point, my dad took me by the arm and drew me aside. “Floyd has a daughter your age,” he said. “I hope you will talk with her. Make her feel comfortable. You know…I know you will like her!”
I understood my dad’s intent. He hoped that perhaps there could be a permanent bond between our two families. He hoped that perhaps Floyd’s daughter and I might become more than friends, that perhaps we might get married. And being the shy young man that I was, my father’s hidden message scared me to death. So did the news that there would be a single young lady of my age at the table. There was no way in the world I would ever speak to this girl! I wouldn’t have a clue what to say to her! I couldn’t tell my dad how nervous this made me, however. He was already charging ahead towards the restaurant!
We did have a pleasant dinner. With catching up on years of happenings and with telling and retelling the old war stories, these two war veterans completely monopolized the conversation, and there was no time to talk to Floyd’s daughter. It was evident that Floyd was very rich, and it was also evident that he wanted his daughter to talk to me as badly as my dad wanted me to talk to her…
This thought made me even more uncomfortable, and I was pretty happy when my mom finally reminded my dad that it was late and that we should be getting back to our hotel!
My dad was disappointed that I hadn’t spoken to Floyd’s daughter. He continued to suggest that I should get to know her; but the more he sent out these little hints, the more I realized that I didn’t want to be matched up to someone just because she was the daughter of my dad’s rich friend! I knew that no matter what, it wouldn’t work out, and my biggest fear for the remainder of our trip was that somehow I would run into her somewhere! I was pretty happy when we finally took the plane back to Belgium!
When it comes to any big decision in life, there is only One whose opinion we need to heed: That of Jesus! He will always guide us. He knows what relationships we should or shouldn’t be in, and His motivation has more to do with our happiness than the size of the wallet or the allures of a pretty face. Besides, His suggestions won’t leave us with a rock in the pit of our stomachs! We would all do best to remember Proverbs 16:9: “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” (NIV)!
This is the last of the New York, New York! series. I pray it has been a blessing to you. You can access the rest of the series by clicking here.
In His love,