Sunday, February 10, 2019

An Unrequited Love Story

Valentine’s Day can be difficult for single people. Despite going through two divorces, I’m still desiring to marry again. Previously in this blog, I wrote about a grade school girlfriend I considered my first love. While I went on to have many other girlfriends during my youth, there was one relationship I strongly desired that wasn’t meant to be. 

This story begins in late 1980 around the time I landed a job at Skateland in Fargo, North Dakota. One day at the roller rink, I asked a cute redhead to skate with me during “couples only.” Her name was Jodi. I was interested in getting to know her until she informed me of having a steady boyfriend. So I pretty much forgot about Jodi until a few weeks later.

On the day after Valentine’s Day 1981, I had that Sunday off but still spent the day at Skateland. During “trios only”, I asked two girls sitting together to skate with me. One of them was Jodi who reminded me of us skating before. Although she was still seeing that other guy, Jodi asked to skate at least one “couples only” with me. Not long after we did that, I felt my emotions well up. Soon I rushed into the bathroom and burst into tears. I thought Jodi was the girl of my dreams. She was a good-looking singer with a beautiful smile and winsome personality but unavailable. Jodi noticed how sad I looked and tried cheering me up by tickling me under the chin. That depressed me even more.

The next day I browsed through my father’s copy of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” A few times I called Jodi applying tips learned from the book. I hoped to persuade her to dump this other guy but soon gave up on that. It was awkward hearing one of her sisters answer the phone and ask if I was “Jeff” (Jodi’s boyfriend).

Over the next two years, I frequently fantasized about having a music career with Jodi while listening to my favorite records. I also wrote a few songs about her. One was called “Pray for the Day” (though I wasn’t living for the Lord then). Meanwhile, Jodi occasionally showed up at the roller rink and often asked me to skate at least one “couples only” with her. 

A Skateland coworker (ironically also named Jodi) went to school with Jodi in Glyndon, Minnesota. One day she told me Jodi had broken up with her boyfriend. I was stoked until hearing she was already seeing someone else. It was heartbreaking for me not having a chance to date Jodi before she found a new boyfriend. But a few weeks later in May 1983, my coworker informed me Jodi was free again. I called her to verify that was true. Jodi was open to going out with me but would be away for the summer. I planned to call her again when school started in the fall.

Then in July, Jodi called me! She was back home for one night and asked if I wanted to get together. My parents had gone out for dinner but returned home a short time later. I anxiously ran outside begging them to let me use the car despite being grounded for having an accident two days before. Fortunately, they allowed me to drive out to the farm where Jodi and her family lived. She and I then went for a country drive and parked somewhere to talk. Although Jodi let me kiss her, my infatuation with her diminished. We didn’t really hit it off as a couple. I still liked Jodi and was open to dating her again but soon she found another boyfriend. 

The last time I talked to Jodi was in January 1985. Both of us were attending Moorhead State University. Jodi approached me in the student union and talked about a former classmate of mine she knew who had recently died in a car accident. Eventually, I moved to Minneapolis to pursue a music career. Among the songs I produced was simply titled “Jodi.” It was written during a lonely period of my life though I didn’t intend on pursuing her again.

Fast forward two decades later. In 2008, I was living in Virginia and had a dream one night of receiving a phone call from Jodi. In response to this dream, I searched the Internet and found a Fargo Forum article written the year before about Jodi’s father who turned 90 years old. I called this man but mostly talked with his wife because he was hard of hearing. She informed me Jodi was living in Oregon and hadn’t contacted them in a while. They didn’t even have her current address. I also found out Jodi was divorced and had four children. Unable to find contact information on Jodi, I gave up my pursuit of her.

Three years after that while surfing the Internet, I discovered Jodi’s father had died the month before. The online obituary revealed Jodi had remarried and moved to Texas. I found her Facebook page and learned her new husband is a Christian. Jodi herself worked for one of my favorite ministries. I sent Jodi an email offering condolences for her father’s death and included a hyperlink to my testimony. Despite us now being like-minded believers, Jodi didn’t reply to my email. Perhaps she’s setting a boundary. Either way, we can be thankful the Lord restores and heals the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18). 

Instead of being jealous, we should celebrate another believer’s blessings whether it’s materially or relationally.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” - Romans 12:15

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