Alright, so where were we? Oh that’s right, not very close to actually explaining how the present state of affairs came into being. That’s ok though, the story continues to unfold and there is no hurry to get it all into print right away. It’s kinda hard to forget you know? Although details tend to migrate away from memory sooner rather than later.
In that spirit, let’s pick up where we left off. We’re actually going to condense the whole school year of 2005-2006 into a paragraph. I dipped out of school for the fall of 2006 and just worked and slept, and in the background tried to figure out where to finish undergrad. You know where this ends up so let’s just fast forward to the spring semester where you find me starting back into school and beginning my studies in psychology that would prove ever so joyous. Incidentally, one of the first classes I took was also Philosophy 101, which got me started into philosophy. Also worthy of mention is that I attempted to take Statistics. I say attempted because I actually dropped it so I wouldn’t get an “F.” That’s right, I almost failed Stats. So take heart if it gave you a hard time, although when I retook it I did crush it with a high “A” and then took two more Stats classes and now read Statistics books for fun. That kinda ruins it for you doesn’t it now?
During this time, Ali was in Lynchburg and to be honest, I don’t know the details of her adventures in academia, but I do know it involves failing psychology more than once, which is ironic considering that was my major, but again, I never took Intro to Psych, I just tested out of it after taking all the other classes…sorry that’s bragging again isn’t it? I can actually understand though, because Psych 101 is a kinda like a junk drawer class where a whole bunch of random disciplines are all thrown together into a single class. It sounds like a nightmare honestly.
We did actually interact indirectly during this time through the wonders of Xanga, where Ali had blogged about troubles she was having with “RA’s teaching heresy” as she puts it now and rightly so. Oh antinomians, when will you learn? Anyway, anything involving a doctrinal dispute and especially if it smacks of heresy (Open Theism anyone?) attracts my attention and so seeing her thoughts there elicited a comment from me, and the conflict was later resolved, but the fact that I took time to comment and offer advice on the issue was probably one of the things that helped turn the tide from me being “creepy guy with injured friend in tow” to ” what Prince Charming looks like in my life” to quote Ali herself (on the latter one, the former is my invention). Of course we are getting ahead of ourselves quoting Ali like that on something she was yet to say for another 2.5 years at this point.
This is probably why later that summer (’06) when I was unit leading again (and taking 9hrs of psych classes on the side) and Ali was back in Florida teaching gymnastics that I randomly got a hug when we ran into each other out behind the HBPAC. It struck me as odd, and you the reader will probably find it odd. For that matter, Ali probably found it odd to find herself hugging me. But that shows how far we’ve come now doesn’t it?
Unfortunately at this point, I was dating someone else (Carrie), which proved to be an almost devastating mistake. Ali then was still just “this one girl I went to school with” and didn’t really have all that much significance beyond all the little anecdotes I’ve mentioned so far. For her, I’m sure I was more or less in the same camp (no pun intended).
So now we’re already on to fall of 2006, which for me was the closest I’ve come to experiencing to hell on earth. I worked around 30-35hrs a week at Starbucks (mostly mornings), was taking 18hrs of 300+ level psychology classes, and was dating a very needy girl who added very little to my life beyond using up all my spare time when I wasn’t involved in any of the aforementioned activities. Spiritually I was eating for two and this only worked for so long until I started painfully regressing. Ali, similarly I think around this time started working at Panera and was also dating someone else, but the dynamics of that are probably best left out since this is the story from my perspective. Needless to say though, both of us were equally living primarily for ourselves, were not in the Word on a regular basis and were not really growing spiritually, but were more or less regressing, at least all of those for sure accurately describe me.
This of course could only go on for so long. In October I started interning at my church in order to fulfill my internship requirement to graduate. But this also burned up a whole day of the week where I was neither working the 35hrs at Starbucks or really working too much on homework. By January, I thought maybe cutting down hours of school would help, and a hint of optimism surfaced. The anxiety from mentally planning on marrying Carrie also started to surface and begin creating problems in the relationship as I started feeling less and less into her. It took until March for this seed to completely bloom and through a variety of circumstances, I came to realize that in fact Carrie was not marriage material for me (the idea had been thrown around since the fall) and that rather than marry her in the fall and then starting seminary in January of 2008, I needed a better plan. Or rather, I needed to start seeking God for a plan instead of handing Him a plan and asking for His stamp of approval.
So I broke up with her at the end of March. I also quit the internship once I had fulfilled my hours. I hung on as best I could until the end of April when my classes ended and decided the most therapeutic thing I could do was to take a road trip to connect with old friends. It also served the purpose of retracing my steps to where I had gotten off track in an effort to starting undoing all the damage I had done to my soul since leaving Word of Life about 18 months or so prior.
So a road trip was planned that had Knoxville to Lynchburg as the first leg, from there going to BBC in PA and then onto Schroon Lake via Binghamton. On the return I would cut across NY and come down through OH stopping in Findlay and then Cedarville before making it back to Knoxville 11 days or so later. It was this road trip that proved to be a rather defining moment, both for me personally and for the story at hand. For on this road trip was when I really met, I mean really met Alexandra Kaufman for the first time.