So, Will is an Auburn fan. In fact, he's not just an Auburn FAN, he's an Auburn GRADUATE. (Some of you know the importance of that distinction to me.) He's also from a family of "Auburn people." Both of his parents graduated from Auburn and met during their time on the Plains. Just like mine.
Contrary to popular belief, "Auburn fan/grad" was not on my "non-negotiables" list when looking for a partner. I dated people from all over the country with various (or no) college football allegiances. In fact, I had given up on finding an Auburn graduate. Even when I moved back to Birmingham two years ago I figured there was no way an Auburn fan was lurking in the weeds that are the Alabama fans in the greater Birmingham area. Turns out he wasn't. He was 80 miles South in Prattville.
So far during our nine months of dating we have been to the A-Day game in April, taken a "tour your alma mater" date in July, and attended several home football games with several more and a few away games coming this fall. As we have done these things I have reflected on how the fact that Will is an Auburn man is such an obvious display of God's goodness to me.
To me Auburn is not just a football team, or even a place I went to school. It is a part of me and has been since I was born. It is my family. It is friendships that will be life-long. It is a place where I grew tremendously and learned much. God could have given me a wonderful man with every admirable quality in the world who went to a different school. That man, I'm sure, would have appreciated this relationship I have with Auburn and what it means to me, but it's doubtful he would have understood it. Will not only appreciates it, he understands it, because he's lived it. This place is equally a part of him as it is a part of me, and now it is a part of us. We walked the same concourse, sat in the same stadium, and frequented the same local restaurants while in college, never meeting. During that time I never dared to imagine that someone was doing all of this at the same time I was, and that God was using this place to prepare us to meet one another almost 10 years later.
God didn't have to do that. It would have been fine had He not. But He did. He has, once again, done "more than we could hope or imagine."* He has proven His goodness by "giving good gifts to His children."** He has provided not only a mutual team to cheer for on Saturdays in the fall, but also a way for us to connect. A way for our families to bond. An understanding of parts of each other that would be lost on most. It is as though God wrapped up this (messy, but beautiful) package that is our relationship and said "oh, by the way, here's a nice shiny ribbon on top. Enjoy!"
As I constantly ask "what's next" and struggle to trust God in the present, I look at this little gift he gave us and I am reminded that He is indeed good and has in mind so much "more than we could hope or imagine."