There is a finite number of times in my life in which I have been so nervous that I physically shook.
Two years ago tonight was one of them.
It was a Friday then, February 13th was. And that evening I was to meet my new boyfriend for the first time. Of course we had met before, but five years of intermittent encounters had never brought us toward anything more than acquaintanceship. Until now.
Now this young man who had asked to be a part of my life was over with my dad having some preliminary chat. And then he was coming HERE at my home to see ME.
I was nervous.
I honestly don't remember what I did all of that day, but that evening certainly made an impression. I remember putting on a nice new shirt that I hoped he would notice (it's amazing how getting this kind of addition to a girl's social circle somehow demands new clothes, but there you have it). I remember running madly around the house, making sure everything looked perfect. And I remember shaking. A lot.
Have you ever noticed how nervousness sometimes comes in layers? There is an initial layer of pleasant buzz, and then a slow buildup of excitement, a "Wow, it's one hour closer than it was…" "Now, it's closer still!" This is all well and good until you reach the point, and you always do, where this thing that you were looking forward the whole time? It is upon you. NOW. I reached that point when my beloved-to-be suddenly called to tell me that he was done with dad, and coming over to the house. Straight away. Of course, there'd be no reason for him to delay, and of course I'd been wanting him to come all along. But the immediacy of the thing? Well, it gave me a bit of a turn.
I remember trying (somewhat pathetically) to put on just a last bit of makeup and thinking, "Um, this isn't going so well, my hand isn't really staying on my face." And doubtless I tried to do other things that must have looked equally comical as I quaked my way from one room to another. And then came the rap on the door and tummy butterflies were added to my limb rattles. Door opens, there he is. And after an awkward side hug, he got into the house, and finally, somehow, my nervous shivers subsided.
Looking back now, I know I could have forgone the fretting. I'm not sure if I've asked Josh whether he was as nervous as I, but there's a good chance that he was. And even if he wasn't and was somehow able to notice the flaws in my cosmetics, I know for a fact that it wouldn't have hindered our relationship a jot.
And yet I also know that there are times when this kind of jitters is just pretty inevitable. That no amount of stern self-lectures will work when one is looking such a raw new experience in the face. It's go with it, jitters and all, or go home. I'm just glad that nearly eighteen months later when I again faced Josh for a new turn in our lives, this time at either ends of a long aisle, the jitters were nowhere to be found. No, this time as I walked toward him and as he beamed back at me we both knew that this was it. No jitters, no awkwardness, no hesitations. Only hope, and joy, and love. And that makes one shaky evening two years ago totally worth it.