the next three years (1996-1999)


The first three years (1993-1996)



It all began.... at the beginning.  Ours is not the story of love at first sight, or second or third.  It is more a story of two friends who seemingly tried to find love everywhere else, until the Lord through His providence said, “Hey, everything you want is right here!”

Todd and Jenn both entered Bryn Athyn College of the New Church (then the Academy of the New Church College) as freshmen in the fall of 1993. The first activity was an orientation weekend at Mount Misery, NJ. That was where they first met - but it was hardly a done deal: Jenn caught Todd's eye, but Todd eluded Jenn's. Soon afterward, Todd introduced Jenn to his best friend - "You've got to see this girl!" Much to Todd's chagrin, Jenn was receptive to Chris' wooing, and they began a year-and-a-half courtship. Todd remained civil, and dated, himself, in the meantime, all the while maintaining friendships with both Chris and Jenn. The Chris-and-Jenn union was not to last forever, however, and following that crash-and-burn breakup,.... Jenn sought the company of another young man, which purturbed Todd a great deal. This relationship was not to last either, however, and after about three months,.... Jenn swore herself off seeking a "conjugial partner," for the time being, preferring instead to wait to meet some great Canadian men upon her return to Toronto, Ontario, in September of '95.

>This is apparently where God grew tired of Jenn's antics and decided to throw a little Divine Providence into the mix.<

Finishing up her Associate in Arts degree in May '95, Jenn intended to participate in an internship in midwifery, that summer, and return to Toronto to "figure out her life" in the fall. All was going as planned until, on May 31st, she went for a fated bicycle ride. It did not go quite as planned: an unforeseen wet patch of cobblestone on a curve sent her flying off her bike, knee-first into the cobblestone. [This is where I picture the hand of God, reaching down from the heavens, flicking me off my bike.... :=D ] "Well! Ain't this dandy?!" Jenn got herself up, sat herself on her bike, and coasted (thank goodness for the ever-so-slight downhill pitch of the driveway) down to the adjoining road -- where a young man just happened to be returning from his walk, which he just happened to be on because he justhappened to have that afternoon off from work. He just happened to be driving a pickup truck, into which he kindly tossed Jenn's bike so that he could give her a ride back to the dorm. ....No, this young man was not Todd. To this day, Jenn has no idea who drove that old black pickup truck. Must've been an angel! :=)

We-e-ell, this is where Jenn's nicely laid-out plans took a wee turn. Instead of staying in Bryn Athyn for the summer to intern with Barbara, she returned with her family (who just happened to be driving down for her graduation, that weekend) to Toronto: she saw the doc on her first day back in town, and went under the knife the next, to have her dismally fractured patella repaired. <Click on the picture to zoom in a little>

One plan that did remain unchanged, however, was her trip to England: Todd (still just a friend) had convinced her to join him and others for British Academy Summer School (a New Church camp), for two weeks that July - and she couldn't very well pass up that opportunity, broken knee or not! To Todd, this was when his interest in Jenn really picked up; as for Jenn, she can be quoted as having said, "Ha! I don't see us getting together,... But if we do, I'm sure I'll be happy about it, when the time comes!" Todd drove Jenn back up from Bryn Athyn to Toronto, upon their return from the UK, and continued during his visit to woo her there, but she just wasn't picking up on that bait....

Since she'd missed her midwifery internship opportunity over the summer, Jenn chose to return to Bryn Athyn College in the fall to pursue that, while taking a few more courses alongside. Although she'd initially only intended to stay for two trimesters, the duration of her internship, she soon realized, "Who am I kidding," and stayed for the third, as well - which proved to be a wise decision, and not only academically-speaking. She and Todd had rather fallen out of touch, that year, due largely to the fact that he was now working full-time at Thompson Toyota; their paths seldom crossed. At some point during spring term, for some unknown (yet entirely Providential) reason, Jenn called Todd up, out of the blue, just to see how he was doing. That was the beginning of the end. They started spending more time together, and Jenn warmed up to the idea of dating this fellow. Still, though, she felt no butterflies in her stomach - a fact which she reluctantly admitted to Todd, as they were about to part company for who knows how long: it was June, and she was returning to Canada indefinitely, while he was staying in BA for the summer, then heading down to Auburn, Alabama, in the fall. Faced with this admission, Todd responded to her, "Good. Think about the relationships you've had where you did feel the butterflies - those never lasted." That was a real turning point for Jenn: he was so right! Those crushes had never lasted! -What she had with Todd was a true friendship, which she knew was the ideal foundation for true married love.

Jenn returned to Toronto the next day, and they soon began communicating via e-mail on a daily basis. When July rolled around and Jenn was to go back under the knife to have the corrective wires removed from her knee, she knew better than to go without a caveat-- after all, simple though the surgery was, one never knew when something might go terribly wrong. So, in her e-mail to Todd on the eve of her surgery, Jenn made an unforgettable statement: "I do love you." She surrounded it with disclaimers of "I don't know what kind of love, I don't know how to qualify it," but yet she did, unmistakably, utter those words. "I want you to know, if for some reason I don't come out of this in the same relative state that I'm in now,... I do love you." Hallelujah!!