The story of how Jonathan and I met and started dating…
Our story actually started way before we actually realised or for that matter, remember. Okay so I know that doesn’t make sense but please just bear with me, it was a meeting that we both don’t remember the other being a part of. It wasn’t the idyllic story book, love at first sight occasion, not at all, and only years later we were able to look back and see God’s hand in it all, years later when we managed to piece it all together.
We had both attended a church youth camp when we were sixteen years old, and not only that but we were placed in the same small group (as small as 10 people or so), this in itself was actually a little odd to begin with, since the groups were arranged by age and we are actually a year apart in age and a year difference in our school grade as well. How we ended up in the same group, it turns out, that the camp happened to fall exactly in between our birthdays, which is one month and three days apart. It meant that I had just turned sixteen two weeks earlier and Jonathan was only turning seventeen two weeks after the camp. Since my birthday is on November sixteenth and Jonathan’s is on December nineteenth, so for just that month and three days every year we are the same age. How’s that for coincidence?! Or maybe God’s sense of humour.
We both remember being in that same group, what the group’s name was, as well as both of us remembering one or two people whom we had befriended within the group, we both remembered who the youth leader was and even other little random details that matched up, but we honestly don’t remember one another – weird right?… About three years later when we were dating, we found old photographs from that very same camp and that’s when we started making the connection. Even more strangely, we came across a picture of the both of us and another friend in it, just the three of us looking straight at the camera, it had been taken with my my camera since I had the pictures developed after the camp, and even still didn’t remember him from pictures, in my possession. Unfortunately, we don’t know where that picture is now, most likely in a box in the garage somewhere.
It was only a few years later that God opened our eyes and we suddenly noticed one another, even though for about three years we had been right under one another’s noses the whole time, while we attend a rather large church group, our families attended the same congregation within the group, we had mutual friends, and at different times were in the same small youth group, our friendship circles just kept missing one another, our paths never quite crossing until the timing was right.
I won’t claim to know the mind of God, but I can guess that it just wasn’t in His plan for us to hit it off too soon, maybe just because we were destined to be together. Us not noticing each other then and missing each other all the time must have been God’s way of protecting us, because I’m sure just based on how crazy in love we were when we did start dating, if we had gone through that at sixteen even though just three years earlier, we might’ve messed it all up. It could only have been God, and that He knew that both of us weren’t ready for that intensity so young.
Three years later, after high school and a year in youth ministry, and before I was due to start at university, is when our story together had begun.
My younger brother, Grant, was part of the sound and media team at our church (he was about 13 years old at the time) and every Sunday morning at the crack of dawn he’d be picked up by “Jonny” from the sound team for early morning sound setup at the school where the church service was held. I kind of knew this Jonny guy but didn’t pay much attention to him, until one boxing day…
On Christmas day of 2005, my brother would not shut up about me going with him and the sound team to a race at Killarny race track in Cape Town, the very next day. Why on earth he wanted me to go with in the first place was mind boggling to me, let me just be frank and say that although my dad and brother are crazy about cars, I knew nothing about them and honestly didn’t care. But he kept nagging me, only for me to discover that our mom had said he could only go if I did – why she suggested something like that, till today I don’t know because when I asked later she didn’t even remember saying that to my brother and couldn’t think of a reason why she would either. But I had eventually given in to Grant anyway and said I’d go, all just to please my kid brother.
On the day, and to my dismay, quite a few of the people that were meant to have been joining us, had cancelled, so instead of it being a big group of people from our youth group who were in the sound and media or music teams, it was just a handful of us, none of whom I really knew. Those who turned up ended up being just Grant and Me, Jonny the sound guy, his sister, and the sister’s boyfriend. I was not impressed as I realised I really didn’t know any of these people and wondered just what my brother had gotten me into. Grant had also arranged to meet quite a few other people there so he was all over the place, meeting this one and that, that I realised he wasn’t interested in hanging out with me because he had arranged with his friends from school to meet him there, being the older sister and my brother only thirteen I just made sure to add a condition that he needed to check in with me at regular intervals throughout our time there. It also turned out that Jonny’s sister (Renée) and her boyfriend went off and hung out on their own most of the time, and also just met up with us intermittently throughout the day. So ultimately that left Jonny (aka Jonathan) and myself alone most of the day, looking back though that must have been God’s doing, we spent the entire day talking and getting to know one another and hit it off immediately. Suddenly we had “noticed” one another and by the time we had to leave the races, we didn’t want the day to end, we were both smitten. So I guess that was our love at first sight moment right there, almost exactly three years after our initial meeting.
Side note and for the record, I also found out that day that he went by Jonathan not “Jonny” and why the sound team called him that is a mystery, someone must’ve tried it and it just stuck, he’s generally and still is a soft-spoken person as so he just never bothered to correct people when they called him by the nick name, I had noticed that none of his close friends or family used the name and so I took it upon myself and started rectifying everyone (mostly in the church music and sound teams) gently when they used that name and they all eventually changed it and called him by his given name.
After that day Jonathan and I spoke every day, not one went by that we didn’t call, text or both. Both our families had vacations and road trips planned up the coast and as far as a province over, so that took us away from home for a bit, but we stayed in contact daily still. In fact I later learned that I became fondly known as “Miss Knysna” because our family trip at one point intersected and we were both in Knysna on the same day and had planned to meet up. Unfortunately the other family that my family and I were travelling with had changed some things around and so Jonathan and I ended up missing one another and did not get to meet up in Knysna after all, and would have to wait a couple weeks for us both to be back in Cape Town to meet up. On the very day that I returned back home from our vacation, I literally dropped my bags, jumped in the shower and got ready for our first date, we had arranged it a couple days earlier when Jonathan had arrived back home.
The new year started with a bang! That first date happened towards the end of the first week of the new year, and two weeks later we officially started our relationship, a couple weeks later I started my first year at UCT (University of Cape Town) and Jonathan began his third year at CPUT (Cape Peninsula University of Technology). The universities are relatively close to one another, I had mostly morning classes and he had only afternoon ones, our schedules worked out so well that we saw each other every day, in-between our classes, and on weekends too.
We were inseparable from then on!